On January 27th the Law Society of British Columbia issued a final version of its Report of the Cloud Computing Working Group. The changes made from the previous draft of July 15, 2011 are discussed in a memo to the Benchers available on page 67 of the Bencher’s Agenda from its January 27th meeting.
The purpose of the report is to:
identify the risks associated with lawyers using electronic data storage and processing, accessed remotely over a network (like the Internet), particularly circumstances where those services are provided by a third party vendor, and to suggest how lawyers can use those technologies/services while still meeting their professional obligations.
The report makes a set of 11 recommendations, including a set of due diligence guidelines for BC lawyers looking to assess prospective cloud computing providers.
The cloud computing report has been rightly praised for being balanced and practical, although it does present some new hurdles for BC-based lawyers. It recommends BC-based lawyers advise clients through a consent letter if they plan on using third-party data storage located outside of BC. This would effectively include all cloud computing services, since virtually all cloud computing services have some component of their infrastructure outside of British Columbia. In fact, for data redundancy purposes, lawyers located in BC should have a copy of their data located outside of BC’s borders, even if they’re not using a cloud computing service. Should this reasonably require client consent?