CLOUD COMPUTING Salesforce Rolls Out Next-Gen Community Cloud

CRM Relevant Products/Services behemoth Salesforce is rolling out the next iteration of Community Cloud, technology that lets companies combine business data Relevant Products/Services and processes with its customer relationship management (CRM) platform to create personalized, mobile destinations.

Specifically, Salesforce is adding Targeted Recommendations, Lightning Community Builder and Templates and Salesforce Files Connect for Google Drive. The goal is to help companies connect with stakeholders in new ways.

Community Cloud was already making an impact before the new features. Digital communities result in 48 percent faster case resolution, 48 percent increase in employee engagement, 45 percent increase in customer satisfaction and 43 percent increase in partner sales, according to the firm’s research.

“Communities have become the connective tissue linking customers, partners and employees to companies and each other,” said Nasi Jazayeri, executive vice president of Community Cloud at Salesforce. He said he expects the new iteration to strengthen those bonds.

Four New Tools

Targeted Recommendations tap algorithms to analyze both structured and unstructured data and deliver relevant content including posts, resources, files and groups to each member. By understanding the quality of users’ contributions, the new feature identifies experts, then surfaces them as subject-matter experts and recommends them to other community members.

Community managers can also suggest content with specific information or post announcements into feeds and target them to specific groups, member types or individuals. A community manager, for example, can send a new employee a personalized note to connect her with an onboarding training course, or target a consumer within a fitness-oriented community with a coupon for running shoes.

Lightning Community Builder and Templates let business users deploy customized, branded and mobile-optimized communities and develop custom apps. As an example, a nonprofit could build an app to organize volunteer events and embed it into the homepage of its community.

Finally, Salesforce Files Connect for Google Drive lets community members collaborate and share any file created or stored in Google Drive. A marketing team could share a Google file into a campaign planning group.

A Powerful Cement

We caught up with Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, to get his thoughts on Salesforce’s new services. He said the services aim to deliver substantially improved productivity and development processes. But the larger goal seems to be the creation of what might be called the “socially-enabled” enterprise Relevant Products/Services, he added. That is, organizations where access to information, collaboration processes and customer engagements is essentially seamless and beneficial.

“While expansive, Salesforce isn’t the only business vendor heading in this direction. Companies with notable productivity application Relevant Products/Services assets, like Microsoft Relevant Products/Services, are promising similar benefits,” King said. “Plus, a wide range of vendors are developing and delivering enhanced tools and resources for developers.” However, Salesforce’s leadership position in various markets means it is a force to be reckoned with, he added.

“If these new solutions deliver what Salesforce intends, they could also act as a powerful cement between the company and its customers,” King said. “If an organization buys into an ecosystem of this kind, it will likely find leaving difficult. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — ‘stickiness’ is a common trait in many IT solutions and services. But it’s something to remember.“

When Can You Get It

All the new innovations of the next-generation Community Cloud are included in existing Community Cloud licenses as the products become generally available. Targeted Recommendations are generally available now, with more features coming online in the second half of 2015.

Lightning Community Builder and Templates are generally available now. Additional Community Builder functionality, including drag and drop components and integration of custom Lightning components, are expected to be generally available in the second half of 2015.

Salesforce Files Connect for Google Drive is generally available now for Chatter and Employee Community licenses. Salesforce Files Connect for Google Drive is expected to be generally available for Partner Community and Customer Community licenses in the second half of 2015.

Article source:

IBM to expand cloud computing operations; Rochester campus possibly affected

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — On Tuesday, IBM announced a plan to expand their program of cloud storage, or the ability to store digital data without the use of material devices like hard drives or memory cards. The new plan to expand their cloud service could possibly mean big things for Big Blue’s Rochester campus.

IBM announced that 500 of their developers nationwide would dedicate themselves to working on new cloud-based projects. Cloud storage has been a lucrative business for IBM recently, as Big Blue made $7.7. billion in cloud-related revenue in the past year. IBM also said their cloud-based revenue grew more than 60 percent in the first few months of this year.

Rochester City Councilman Nick Campion developed cloud-related software for IBM in Rochester until 2010. He says these moves could put IBM in a great position with Rochester. “It’s a great time for IBM to get in,” said Campion. “There’s some existing players out there, but there’s some room for disruption, so I think it’s things are looking really positive. Hopefully we can see one of our local competitors take advantage of the market.”

Of the 500 developers dedicated to developing cloud-based tech, IBM did not specify how many of them would be at Rochester’s IBM campus.

Article source:

MSPs and Cloud Computing: How to Evolve for Success

A period of upheaval is on the near-horizon for MSPs, and it’s going to be especially hard on providers overly focused on technology. They must adapt by shifting their focus to delivering business solutions, and seek opportunities in cloud and virtual desktop services.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of casualties over the next three to five years in the MSP space, and primarily it’s because many MSPs today have been started by technologists,” Tommy Wald, president of TW Tech Ventures in Austin, Texas, said in a recent interview with MSPmentor.

How to Price Your Services and Understand Your Costs

Pricing and Value: The Secret to Getting Top Dollar

While these MSP technologists have run their businesses well, the market is shifting and they must adapt to cloud-based models that require skills geared more to business than technology Wald said. “Many guys are going to get caught flat-footed. It’s hard to transition to that kind of consulting role.”

Wald is a mentor and consultant to IT service companies, advisor to vendors, and an angel investor in technology startups. If anyone knows and understands the managed services space, he certainly qualifies. Wald was a managed services pioneer as president and CEO of RIATA Technologies, a company he sold in 2010. Wald is also one of MSPmentor 250 Hall of Famers.

Cloud is a catalyst

In managed services, you can still function primarily as a technologist, concentrating on the remote delivery of monitoring and management services. But Wald points out that cloud solutions require a different skill set – one geared to helping clients with business workflow, integration and the federation of various systems and services.

The cloud, Wald said, is the catalyst in the coming transformation of the MSP. Providers have to figure out how to weave cloud services into their offerings, either by focusing on specific market verticals such as healthcare and banking or by specializing in a technology. For instance, a provider could build a practice around Office 365 migrations for SMB clients or launch an EMR (electronic medical records) hosting service for doctors, hospitals and clinics.

Hybrid cloud

These types of opportunities will allow MSPs to evolve and strengthen their value proposition to the client. “The ones that aren’t evolving are the ones you will see maybe starting to struggle a little bit,” Wald said. “The old MSP model is becoming more and more irrelevant.”

Like it or not, client networks are evolving into hybrid environments as businesses add cloud services one by one. Thankfully MSPs have some time to adjust because the move is gradual, but they shouldn’t wait too long.

Desktop as a service

Besides cloud services, Wald believes another sizable opportunity for MSPs is desktop as a service (DaaS). As broadband connections become more affordable and available, he believes they’ve created the tipping point for viable DaaS solutions that leverage virtualization and off-site data storage for computing.

DaaS replaces desktop computers – and even notebooks – with thin clients to facilitate the concept of “anytime, anywhere” access from any device to optimize mobility. Wald sees a role for MSPs as telco agents who collect a commission for the broadband service that supports DaaS.

While the impending managed services upheaval may seem frightening, it doesn’t have to be. The IT channel has a long, storied record of reinventing itself, forcing companies to adapt and embrace new ways of doing businesses.

MSPs that evolved from break/fix VARs already have experienced some of these cycles. They, better than anyone, should understand how critical it is to adapt to a new industry reality. The only alternative could come down to closing your doors.

Pedro Pereira is Massachusetts-based freelance writer with two decades of experience covering and analyzing the IT channel and technology. He can be reached at [email protected].

Article source:

Suffering a cloud outage? Look closer to home for the potential cause


If your systems are down, and you’re just about to get on the phone to tear a strip from your cloud vendor, remember this: technical errors in failed cloud implementations are more likely to come from the user organisation itself than the supplier.

That was the surprising finding from a report recently released by The Economist Intelligence Unit, with 36% of respondents saying errors were more likely to come from within than outside (29%). The report noted commercial errors were the most common type of supplier failure, with a third of respondents said they were unaware of any failures in the cloud infrastructure they used.

Public cloud services were more likely to throw up technical failures than those using the private cloud, according to the report. Downtime is most likely to come from what the report called ‘significant outages’ (23%), as well as failure to integrate with existing systems (20%) and data breaches (17%). Inevitably, a skills shortage was also blamed for exacerbating, if not directly causing, technical issues, as well as a lack of business continuity and disaster recovery planning.

The report notes: “It would be misleading to state that public cloud is always riskier. In the early days of the cloud, users may have experienced greater security issues since the technology was not yet mature and because of their own inexperience. Conversely, the bespoke nature of private clouds allows for a greater level of security, though with possibly higher initial costs.”

In a more positive vein, the survey showed that when cloud failures did occur, they were rarely catastrophic, with only 9% of those polled saying their incidents were “high” risk overall. 34% opted for “medium”, while 55% said damage was “limited.” Significantly, the loss of customer data was the biggest fear executives had over a failed cloud implementation.

The report concludes by assessing the maturation of cloud computing, calling it a “core component of the IT landscape”, yet arguing there is still more work that needs to be done, in terms of skills implementation and improved disaster recovery strategies. Businesses, wherever possible, need to be proactive, not reactive – and given Databarracks recently argued disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) was going to be the most important cloud service in 2015, many seem to be on their way.

Related Stories
  • » The power game: Ensuring the right data centre relationship
  • » Gartner’s first DRaaS Magic Quadrant sees IBM, NTT, Sungard AS at summit
  • » UK cloud adoption continues to rise – and WS2003 shutdown will accelerate it further
  • » Rackspace’s new UK data centre aims to combine efficiency with environmental change
  • » Councils have disaster recovery systems in place – but they’re not being tested

Leave a comment

log in


This will only be used to quickly provide signup information and will not
allow us to post to your account or appear on your timeline.

Article source:

eGuide: Cloud Computing

As cloud models mature and are adopted by more and more organizations, the benefits are becoming clearer. Companies that implement cloud can expect to benefit from greater scalability, flexibility, and predictable, pay-as- you-go pricing. At the same time, best practices are emerging to help companies make the most of their cloud strategies and avoid costly mistakes.

In this eGuide, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, and CIO examine some of the latest trends and most relevant advice regarding cloud strategies. Read on to learn how cloud can make a difference at your organization.

Sponsor: NaviSite

Article source:

Fed Cloud Computing Caucus Report Outlines Plan to Increase Cloud Services …

The U.S. government has been slowly making a migration to the cloud since the Cloud First policy was instated in 2011, but the going has been tough and there has been a certain amount of resistance to making such drastic changes. Congress is trying to speed up the process and encourage cloud migration with a new report courtesy of the Congressional Cloud Computing Caucus.

Led by Representative Gerry Connolly of Virginia, the “Don’t Be a Box Hugger” report provides a comprehensive overview of the federal government’s migration to the cloud and offers insight into the future path for transformation. What is clear is that the Feds are no longer content to sit on the sidelines and are attempting to catch up with private-sector companies when it comes to cloud adoption.

The proposed 2016 budget from President Obama allocates $7.34 billion of the $86.4 billion overall federal IT budget, a mere 8.5 percent, for provisioned services like the cloud. While a fraction of the Feds’ total IT spending, the amount is significant and would place the government on par with the private sector when it comes to cloud services adoption.

One of the main tenets of the report is that a majority of federal agencies are “fence sitters,” having moved their email systems to the cloud but exercising extreme caution when it comes to making a larger transition. Standout agencies include ATFE, Commerce, DoD, EPA, FCC, GSA, HHS, NASA, NRC and USDA, which have all done considerably more in terms of embracing the cloud. There is also, not surprisingly, a resistance group that the caucus refers to as “box huggers,” consisting of anti-cloud agencies that are adamant about owning their own hardware and software along with the associated headaches that go with that responsibility.

Image via Shutterstock

Security, cultural barriers and ROI justification are the largest barriers to cloud adoption according to the caucus, much like in the private sector. The report did find that the FedRAMP cloud security standards initiative has been successful in certifying commercial and government CSP offerings and providing options and peace of mind for agencies interested in migrating. Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to migrate to the cloud singled out in the report is the approximately $18.9 billion in annual savings the Feds could realize.

The report ultimately recommends that deadlines for cloud migration should be better enforced and the Feds should encourage more transparency when it comes to actual cloud spending. More funding is also being recommended for the FedRAMP program along with incentives and rewards for those groups and agencies that embrace cloud migration. Ultimately, agencies need to figure out how cloud solutions fit into their own planning and specifically how they can help them save money, improve services and increase the overall effectiveness of their goals.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

Article source:

New to OpenStack: Learn these 5 cloud computing terms

Vancouver — If you’re attending an OpenStack conference for the first time and don’t want to
come across as a neophyte — either when talking to speakers about cloud computing, or to vendors
about distributed storage and the pitfalls of using open source hypervisors while cruising the
exhibitors’ hall — here are a few cloud computing terms you should become familiar with to create
the impression you’re as knowledgeable as anyone else who’s pretending to know what they’re
talking about.

OpenStack — This is the open source, cloud computing software everyone is talking about.
If you’ve ever wanted to create your own private cloud, but knew that creating a scalable,
distributed and easily managed product was just too much work, then OpenStack is for you. It should
be noted that OpenStack is the only software piece that makes managing all the compute pools,
networked servers, storage systems and centralized administration possible. However, the hardware
on which this private cloud software is deployed is not associated with OpenStack.

Swift — Two of the most core concerns with cloud-based systems are 1) how to manage
compute resources and 2) how two manage data across the cloud. Also known as OpenStack Object
Storage, Swift addresses the latter;
namely, the challenges of dealing with data and object storage across a
highly distributed system.

Even on simple, straightforward enterprise applications where one program writes data to a
single database, managing persistence is a challenge. But just imagine if distributed compute nodes
scattered across the globe were trying to update a distributed set of hard drives and other storage
devices that were themselves distributed across the globe.

Of course, Swift is more than just another big data project; instead, it addresses the whole
issue of distributed data storage in a new and unique way. “The basic concept that I think makes
Swift fundamentally new is that you separate the data you are storing from the media you are
storing it on,” said John Dickinson, director of
technology at SwiftStack. And along with this clean
separation that organizations taking a DevOps approach to development will love, the solution is
also incredibly scalable. With Swift, “you can save unstructured data in a way that can grow
without bounds,” Dickinson said.

Maintaining consistency, minimizing latency, guaranteeing accuracy and delivering partition
tolerance pushes every limit of Brewer’s
CAP theorem
. How does OpenStack address the distributed storage problem? Swift is the

Nova — As mentioned in the discussion of Swift, managing data and compute resources are
two of the biggest challenges architects encounter when creating a cloud-based platform. Swift
addresses the object storage challenge, while Nova deals with all of the computational issues. Also
known as OpenStack Compute, Nova is what really provides the infrastructure piece of this infrastructure
as a service (IaaS)
offering. Managing compute pools; spinning up new runtime images based on
preconfigured ISO files; dealing with
and bringing the promise of high-performance computing (HPC) to fruition? That’s
what Nova is all about.

Python — Python is the language in which every OpenStack component is written. If you
want to contribute a patch for Nova or offer up a new feature, make sure it’s written in Python.
Making suggestions like “Would this not be easier to write in Java?” or “Is there not a C++ library
that does all of this already?” will get you thrown out of any design session, and will more than
likely result in a lifetime ban from any future conferences. Of course, there are products
OpenStack leverages in its implementation that aren’t necessarily written in Python. For example,
RabbitMQ is written in Erlang, and OpenStack relies upon it heavily. But RabbitMQ is more of an
external piece than part of OpenStack’s core computing. But regardless, Python is the programming
language of choice for OpenStack. If you want to contribute to the project, Python is the language
you’ll want to learn.

OpenCompute — This is a “do not get it confused with OpenStack” entry. OpenCompute
is a project whose goal is to create the most infinitely scalable hardware on the planet, and that
means figuring out how to design physical systems with tangible things like solid state drives
(SSDs), network ports, CPUs and cooling fans. Even though OpenStack and OpenCompute are two
distinctly different animals, it is possible to deploy OpenStack software on systems designed by
OpenCompute — the results of which can be quite astounding.

This, of course, is by no means an exhaustive list. There’s a plethora of other important
projects such as Cinder for block storage; Neutron for connectivity-as-a-service; Sahara for data
processing services and Keystone for authentication. But all of those cloud computing terms will
slowly be absorbed by your brain so long as you master the basics and open your mind up to
everything that’s happening at the OpenStack conference: keynotes, lectures, design sessions and
time spent exploring the exhibit hall. The OpenStack conference is undoubtedly a great place to
immerse yourself in the world of open source cloud computing.

You can follow Cameron McKenzie on Twitter: @potemcam

Article source:

Cloud Computing And Small Businesses Driving Microsoft To A Whole New High

Since last year Microsoft (MSFT) has invested a lot of time, effort, money and attention to Cloud. Finally the table has turned and company has started to experience the big numbers on the chart. What comes as a surprise for the company is that the small businesses are adapting to it more than the big ones. It might be a good sign for the company. New startups are the trend and money baggers of the market and if such startups are interested in Microsoft’s technology, then the company is certainly moving in the right direction.

The experience so far…

Satya Nadella, the Microsoft chief, had this vision a year back that Cloud computing holds the future of the company. Market has started to show the love back and in the last month the company has seen the share price go up by 10%. The cloud revenue has seen a jump of 106% and also the advertising revenue has jumped a loop of 21%. Even Google’s (GOOG) shares were up by 3%. All blue skies are for Cloud computing. Nadella’s vision and Microsoft’s execution have proven the point. At that time the vision might have seemed a bit myopic to many, but today the same myopic view seems to be the focus.

The key is small business

Every small business is same as the large business in operation. Their needs and demands are exactly the same; what varies is the scale. But some started asking why the numbers from a small business are coming now. The technology revolution in the small business has now started to enter and from what we perceived as the availability of such technological options for large ones, but now the small ones can afford it as well. The small business market is a big untapped area and introducing technology is a win-win situation for both. The stock rose around 9.6% in a quarter where they earned a lot, thanks to this situation even the prediction by Standard and Poor’s 500 Index was 1.3%.

Present growth is driven by young age drivers

The company owes the credit of this growth mostly to the small startup kind of businesses. The small companies are going for the option of getting access to softwares at the price of coffee at star bucks. The affordability and access to software they need is what’s exciting these businesses and encouraging them to step ahead for technology advancement.

Gates was quoted as saying that “they are selling more Cloud then on-prem.” They are in their fifth year where they are experiencing a triple-digit growth, thanks to their office 365 product, and it’s a growth driver for them.


Microsoft’s push to Cloud computing has paid off, accelerating under Nadella’s able guidance. The third quarter paid off well in which the net income was $5.66 billion – that is 68 cent a share. For Microsoft this is its fastest-growing segment. If someone read in detail the last earning declaration of the company, the big driving factor of its growth was small business, and it even quoted the same back then, too, and how it has transformed its technology to reach a whole new segment now. And a mere boost to it has made good numbers for them on the chart. The untapped part of the market signifies growth potential for the company and also the same for the investors of the company. Microsoft is one of the stable players in the technology business, and its latest risk has started to prove itself and is growing fast.

About the author:

Article source:

AURO’s Canadian Cloud Computing Platform Built on OpenStack Utilizes …

VANCOUVER, May 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — AURO, the leading enterprise Canadian cloud computing service, just announced their new partnership with network virtualization expert, Midokura. AURO is the leading IaaS cloud computing provider in Canada and is built on OpenStack.  They have chosen Midokura’s award-winning networking technology to help them further achieve high availability (HA) across compute regions, instances and storage setup. MidoNet offers the best software-defined networking (SDN) solution and makes AURO’s goal of delivering an easy-to-use cloud computing service possible. Utilization of MidoNet helps support AURO’s enterprise-grade multi-zone and multi-region cloud deployments across Canada, including Vancouver, BC and Toronto, ON.

Photo –

Photo –

As a public cloud computing platform built on the increasingly popular OpenStack cloud operating system, AURO has been focused on building a Canadian-based networking service that is able to support enterprise-grade service levels, deliver true high availability and leverage the latest software networking technologies to support their cloud customers. Because of the size of their cloud, AURO needed their network to continue being highly distributed and as flexible and automatable as the compute virtualization, such as for services like virtual private networks (VPC) and load-balancing as a service (LBaaS) within individual tenants.  

“We are currently working on building our Cloud Computing 2.0 framework using OpenStack for Vancouver and Toronto and needed a partner that will ensure our deployment is rock-solid and help give our customers the confidence of 99.99% and higher availability.  MidoNet was the best network virtualization solution available and helped us achieve our goals of multi-zone and multi-region deployment,” said Matt McKinney, Chief Strategy Officer at AURO.

To accomplish this, AURO reviewed several methods to provide private network functionality – Nova networking with VLANs and Neutron using OVS or Linux bridges. However, the Nova network presents limitations, and at some point is expected to be removed from OpenStack entirely. That leaves Neutron, which is capable of providing the required functionality, but in its current format, is unable to support an enterprise-grade service level agreement. 

In reviewing potential solutions for AURO’s next compute region that includes Neutron, AURO found Midokura’s solution to be innovative and flexible. It fulfills the high availability requirement, but with reduced overall complexity.   MidoNet is also open-source. Thus, by implementing Midokura’s solution, AURO can continue building a cloud with no vendor lock-in, while also meeting their customers’ needs.  To learn more about AURO Cloud Computing and their enhanced cloud, visit to setup a demo or email them at [email protected] 

About Midokura
Midokura is a global company focused on network virtualization. Founded in 2010, the team has a pedigree including Amazon and Google, and has spent more than three years building MidoNet, a complete overlay network virtualization solution that integrates with cloud platforms, such as OpenStack. Midokura has offices in San Francisco, Tokyo and Barcelona, and is on the web at Follow them on Twitter: @midokura

About AURO
AURO Cloud was built using OpenStack to give Canada its first true enterprise public cloud that can support a wide range of cloud computing requirements. With a free account, open APIs and Canadian cloud storage, customers get a platform that can deliver highly scalable public, private and hybrid cloud services, including operational and architectural compatibility with AWS. In addition, businesses now have cloud computing pricing that matches or beats other cloud computing providers. It is easy to use, self-service and available to everyone. AURO delivers a portfolio of services that include IT Infrastructure and Cloud Hosting, while giving users the benefits of Canada’s unique regulatory environment and data security, all within a 100% Canadian platform. Follow them on Twitter: @AURO_io

Media Contact:
Sheila Wong


Article source:

Cloud Computing is the New Norm: Ethics Opinion Outlines Lawyer Obligations

May 20, 2015 – Do you use a computer, tablet, or mobile device to process, transmit, store, or access client information over the Internet? If yes, welcome to the world of cloud computing. A new ethics opinion provides guidance on what lawyer’s must do to ensure their cloud-computing activities are ethically sound.

Wisconsin Formal Ethics Opinion EF-15-01 (Ethical Obligations of Attorneys Using Cloud Computing), issued by the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Professional Ethics Committee, notes that increased lawyer accessibility to cloud-based platforms and services comes with a direct loss of control over client information.

“The provider of cloud-computing adds a layer of risk between the lawyer and the client’s information because most of the physical, technical, and administrative safeguards are managed by the cloud service provider,” the opinion states.

Lawyers can use cloud computing services if the lawyer uses reasonable efforts to adequately address the potential risks associated with it, the opinion concludes.

What are Reasonable Efforts?

“To be reasonable,” the opinion states, “the lawyer’s efforts must be commensurate with the risks presented.” The opinion acknowledges that lawyers cannot guard against every conceivable danger when using cloud-based services, but lists numerous factors to consider when assessing the risk of using cloud-based services in their practices.

Below is the list of factors identified in the opinion, with some practical notes from Tison Rhine, practice management advisor for the State Bar’s Law Office Management Assistance Program (Practice 411). Rhine assist attorneys with questions regarding cloud computing, in addition to other questions that relate to technology in law practice.

The information’s sensitivity. “The more sensitive the information, the less risk the lawyer should take in using cloud-based services. Lawyers should assess the sensitivity of the information before determining what cloud-based service can be used with it.”

Lawyers can use cloud computing services if the lawyer uses reasonable efforts to adequately address the potential risks associated with it.

The client’s instructions and circumstances. “A lawyer must follow client instructions unless doing so would cause the lawyer to violate ethical rules or other laws. The client may require the lawyer to implement special security measures not required by the ethics rules, or may give informed consent to forgo certain security measures.”

The possible effect that inadvertent disclosure or unauthorized interception could pose to a client or third party. “Lawyers should ask themselves how bad it would be if unauthorized parties gained access to information on a case-by-case basis. If the lawyer knows a breach could be highly detrimental, the lawyer should take the proper precautions. Note that in all cases, the lawyer must make ‘reasonable efforts’ to prevent access or disclosure.”

The attorney’s ability to assess the technology’s level of security. “Attorneys are not required to be security experts, but those who lack basic competence to assess the security of cloud-based technology must become competent or consult with someone who is. Nothing in the rule says lawyers cannot rely on technology professionals to help assess the security of cloud-based systems.”

The likelihood of disclosure if additional safeguards are not employed. “The fact that additional security measures are available does not alone necessitate their use. In some circumstances, the likelihood of a security breach is very low without additional safeguards.”

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is not an easy term to define. In the law practice realm, it encompasses a wide range of activities that use different Internet (cloud)-based services. The most basic form of cloud computing is web-based email, like Gmail.

But lawyers now use cloud-based services to perform legal work in many other ways. The services – generally offered through third-party providers with offsite computer facilities and remote servers – allow access to client information from any location with an Internet connection, creating new opportunities for lawyers to work outside the office.

For instance, lawyers can access client files from almost anywhere in the world, using mobile devices in tandem with cloud-based practice management software like Clio – which State Bar members can purchase at a discount– and cloud-based file-sharing services like Dropbox.

In addition, cloud-based information storage options mean law firms can easily back-up and store the firm’s digital files. Cloud-computing services can help lawyers reduce overhead costs, improve efficiency, and provide better client service. But with technology comes ethical duties.

A new ethics opinion from the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Professional Ethics Committee explores the ethical obligations when choosing and using cloud-based services.

The cost of employing additional safeguards. “Again, no security measures are absolute and at some point, lawyers can expect diminishing marginal returns. As such, a reviewing body would consider the cost of additional safeguards when evaluating their necessity under the rules.”

The difficulty of implementing the safeguards. “Some security measures are easy to set up and then run without additional input. Advanced or custom security measures, however, may require expert knowledge of computer hardware and software. In some cases, such advanced safeguards may be necessary, but the more difficult a measure is to implement, the less likely it will be seen as necessary under the rules.”

The extent to which the safeguards adversely affect the lawyer’s ability to represent clients. “If a security measure is preventing the lawyer from accessing information the lawyer needs to represent the client in a timely fashion, that’s problematic for both the lawyer and the client. Safeguards that disrupt the flow of practice so much that representation suffers are less likely to be deemed necessary.”

The need for increased accessibility and the urgency of the situation. “When a legal situation is time-sensitive, perhaps requiring immediate access to a client’s file from a remote location, or when other circumstances make communication or document exchange with clients and/or third parties difficult, the lawyer may be limited to cloud-based options with limited security in place. Under such circumstances, what would normally be deemed necessary under the rules may not actually be necessary.”

The experience and reputation of the service provider. “Lawyers should choose cloud-based service providers with a proven record on security. Lawyers must do their due diligence or consult with a technology expert who can make recommendations.”

The terms of the agreement with the service provider. “Lawyers should always read the terms of service with particular attention to the service provider’s security mechanisms. Ask questions to fully understand how stored information is protected.”

The legal and ethical environments of the jurisdictions in which the services will be performed, particularly with regard to confidentiality. “This may come up when a cloud-based service provider is out-of-state or overseas. In these circumstances, the lawyer may need to ensure that the cloud-based provider’s security protocols are on par with the data security protocols required by applicable state or federal law in the U.S.”

Understanding Technology Concepts

The opinion states that in determining what efforts are reasonable to address the cloud-computing risk, lawyers should understand a number of computer security concepts.

For instance, lawyers should understand the use of firewalls, virus and spyware programs, operating system updates, strong passwords and multifactor authentication, and encryption for electronically stored information. Let’s take these one by one.

Have Questions?

For ethics questions, email State Bar Ethics Counsel org tpierce wisbar Tim Pierce or Assistant Ethics Counsel org akaiser wisbar Aviva Kaiser or call the Ethics Hotline at (608) 229-2017 or (800) 254-9154.

For cloud-computing or other technology or practice management questions, email org trhine wisbar Tison Rhine or call (608) 250-6012 or (800) 444-9404, ext. 6012.

Firewalls. According to Microsoft, a firewall “is a software program or piece of hardware that helps screen out hackers, viruses, and worms that try to reach your computer over the Internet.” Most operating systems (including Windows and Macs) have built-in firewall systems, but lawyers should make sure the firewall is turned on at all times.

Virus and spyware programs. According to Microsoft, virus and spyware are terms used to describe “software that performs certain behaviors, generally without appropriately obtaining your consent first.” That includes programs that collect personal information from your computer or change your computer’s configuration. Viruses and spyware can cause your computer to freeze, stop responding, or act oddly.

A type of spyware includes “adware,” which tracks Internet habits to strategically place ads. However, many consumers agree to let companies track information as a trade-off for using its services, such as a free music service. “A common trick is to covertly install the software during the installation of other software you want,” Microsoft says.

To avoid this, only download software from trusted sources and read all disclosure, license, and privacy statements before installing any new software program. To remove spyware that has already been installed, use the built-in spyware removal program that came with your operating system, or purchase a spyware removal program.  

Operating system updates. Companies such as Microsoft and Apple continuously issue operating system updates to improve the quality of service and patch security holes that these companies have identified. Ensure your computer is automatically receiving these updates by reviewing your operating system’s default settings.

Strong passwords and multifactor identification. These steps are necessary to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your computer, tablet, or mobile device, and to prevent hackers from accessing your online accounts.1 For more on this, check out:

Encryption for stored information. Encryption transforms readable data into unreadable data, and “encrypted data cannot be read or used unless one has access to the decryption key,” according to a recent Wisconsin Lawyer article, “Encryption Made Simple for Lawyers,” which outlines the step lawyers should take to encrypt hard drives, software programs and files, smartphones and tablets, and wireless networks.

Other Considerations

In addition, the ethics opinion states that lawyers should understand the dangers of using public Wi-Fi and file-sharing sites. In general, lawyers should not use public Wi-Fi networks when working with client information, since that information can be intercepted. Lawyers who must use a public network can add a layer of security by using a virtual private network (VPN), which requires a password to access.

When sharing digital files over the Internet, lawyers should always ensure the data is encrypted, according to a recent technology article on file-sharing from Tison Rhine.

Lawyers should also understand the importance of regularly backing up data and storing it in more than one place, the ethics opinion states. Back-ups allow lawyers to protect client data from natural disasters or computer or network failures.

Ethics Rules, Must the Lawyer Tell the Client About Cloud Computing?

Supreme Court Rule (SCR) 20:1.1 requires a lawyer to perform legal services competently, which includes the duty to remain competent on technology.

org jforward wisbar Joe Forward, Saint Louis Univ. School of Law 2010, is a legal writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. He can be reached by org jforward wisbar email or by phone at (608) 250-6161.

“Lawyers who use cloud computing have a duty to understand the use of technologies and the potential impact of those technologies on their obligations under the applicable law and under the Rules,” the ethics opinion states. “[A]s technology, the regulatory framework, and privacy laws change, lawyers must keep abreast of the changes.”

SCR 20:1.4(b) requires that a lawyer explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions concerning the representation. But what must the lawyer tell clients about cloud computing?

“While the lawyer is not required in all representations to inform clients that the lawyer uses the cloud to process, transmit, or store information, a lawyer may choose, based on the needs and expectations of the clients, to inform the clients,” the opinion states.

The opinion suggests that lawyers include provisions about their use of cloud-computing services in the engagement agreement or letter to inform clients.

SCR 20:1.6 prohibits a lawyer from revealing information relating the representation of a client unless that client gives informed consent or unless the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation.

“The processing, transmission, and storage of information in the cloud may be deemed an impliedly authorized disclosure to the provider as long as the lawyer takes reasonable steps to ensure that the provider of the cloud computing services has adequate safeguards,” the opinion states.

Lawyers need not guarantee that a breach of confidentiality will not occur, the opinion notes, but they must take reasonable steps to minimize the likelihood of breach.

Under SCR 20:5.3, when a lawyer employs or retains nonlawyers to help provide legal services, the lawyer must take reasonable steps to ensure the nonlawyer’s conduct is consistent with the professional obligations of the lawyer.

“The extent of this obligation when using a cloud service provider to process, transmit, store, or access information protected by the duty of confidentiality will depend greatly on the experience, stability, security measures and reputation of the provider as well as the nature of the information relating the representation of the clients,” the opinion says.


1 For more on this topic, see “Mobile Device Gone Missing? Protect Your Information Before It’s Too Late” – InsideTrack (Sept. 3, 2014); and Password Protection: How Often Do You Change Your PasswordInsideTrack (Oct. 3, 2012).

Article source: