SRA guidance on cloud computing in the legal sector a promising start, says Databarracks

21 Nov, 2013

This month the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) released it’s ‘Silver Linings’ report which examines the impact cloud computing has on law firms. The report recognises the impact cloud services can, and are, having on  firms’ ability to  deliver greater flexibility and cost benefits. It goes on to highlight the potential risks, and how firms can protect themselves against them.

Peter Groucutt (pictured), Managing Director at Databarracks, welcomes the report, having earlier this year called on the SRA to provide the legal sector with greater guidance.

“In August this year we produced a report with Frank Jennings, Chair of the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) Code of Practice Board, that highlighted the key challenges and benefits to law firms embracing cloud computing. The report also identified legitimate concerns regarding the SRA’s lack of pro-activity in this area, especially in comparison with their counterparts north of the border in Scotland.

“To see them begin to address some of the sector’s concerns is encouraging. The need for guidance is understandable – cloud computing remains relatively new in the legal industry and the very nature of the sector requires the handling of highly sensitive data.

“By producing this report, the SRA has done on a sector-wide basis, what cloud service providers (CSPs) like us have been trying to do with individual companies. This independent, industry-specific advice is exactly what the sector has been crying out for.

“Further to the SRA report we believe there are several measures firms can undertake to ensure that they remain secure whilst taking advantage of cloud services. Comprehensive Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are vital and are something firms will be far more adept at negotiating with service providers than most businesses.

“Accreditation is an excellent way of sorting the wheat from the chaff for finding service providers able to adequately serve the sector. Working with CSPs that are compliant with specific regulations and standards, including ISO 27001 and the Cloud Industry Forum’s Code of Practice, will help assure end-users receive the very best service.

“Reports such as this from industry bodies will always have the greatest impact on those considering migrating to the cloud but the SRA cannot rest on its laurels. Cloud computing can and is having a hugely positive impact on law firms. To ensure that this continues, the authority needs to work with CSPs to supply the industry with the necessary, relevant information, risk analysis and advice.”

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