Lawyers are particularly concerned about using cloud based service to store information. Here are some of the issues attorneys face:
- I am handing over sensitive client matters to a third-party! Note: this is despite the fact that lawyers already do this when they store client files in a rented office.
- Where are the files stored? Are any files stored outside of the United States?
- What are the security procedures at the cloud service provider?
- Who can see my data?
- Will the data be handed over to law enforcement and under what conditions (subpoena)?
- Will I be notified if data is handed over?
The flaw (some say the fatal flaw) with using a cloud service like Dropbox is the service ultimately has access to your files and could theoretically view or reveal your data.
There have been a number of workarounds including putting your files into an encrypted container. I discussed the trade-off with this in “Is Cloud Storage Secure Enough for Lawyers.” The problem is that you lose the benefit of constant synchronization: instead of files constantly being backed up and synced, you have to sync a single LARGE file when all you want to do is shut down your system and go home.
The goal has been per file encryption and services like Spider Oak have stepped up to the plate to offer this. However, moving away from Dropbox, means moving away from a known service which is currently the market leader with cross-platform application on desktop (Windows, Apple/Mac, and Linux) and mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry) plus many applications support Dropbox right out of the box!
Plus, Dropbox just works! Sync is hard. Just ask anyone who has tried to keep contacts synchronized between various computers and online services: you get old information, conflicts, and duplicates. With Dropbox files sync accurately and quickly — even “files” like Circus Ponies Notebook which are actually folders work!
Now, I’m not saying other service do not work just as well. It is just that any contender needs to be considerably better to make me move.
The ONE thing Dropbox lacks is — per-file encryption. That is, until SecretSync. Read the rest of this entry »