When you need a cloud computing solution to run some programs remotely, or if you want to use an online backup service to store archived data that your business no longer actively uses, you can store this information in a third party data center. Besides the normal considerations of cost, types of services provided and the service provider's reliability record, you also need to know that using a third party service to store data can complicate things if your company receives a data request from an eDiscovery firm during a court proceeding.
There are a couple things you may want to do in order to minimize potential problems:
This has nothing to do with flag waving patriotism or the desire to support the local economy. Rather, it simplifies things should your company be involved in litigation. If you use a data storage company based in another jurisdiction, their laws regarding retention of data, and who can access your data may differ significantly from US laws. It's better to use a provider that is not only located in the US, but also has all of its servers there as well.
Doing so will reduce the chances of the company suddenly going out of business and losing or eliminating your data. Furthermore many “cheap” providers don't have very good data backup policies, meaning that in case of equipment failure on their end you could lose some of your data. This is not only very bad for your business operations but can be even more serious if you would have been required to present that data in court.
Any serious provider will know what electronic discovery is and how being prepared for it is important for many of their business clients. Ask them about their procedures in case eDiscovery professionals or you need to gain access to some of the information that you have stored on their server. They should have a plan in place should this happen and they should also have the right tools to locate the needed electronic documents.
If a security breach happens on your provider’s end resulting in confidential information being disclosed to unauthorized users, your business could end up in serious trouble. Most providers have a clause in their terms of service that limits their liability should a security breach occur on their service. This is a standard in the industry, so you should ask about which security measures your provider uses to reduce the risk of a breach, as well as deploy measures of your own, like installing additional security software on your cloud server, or encrypting archived backups of data so they become useless to a hacker even if he gains access to the files.
This article was written by Bradley Morton, he is a law student interested in the legal discovery process and hoping to one day be an attorney. He believes that technology has the power to revolutionize legal proceedings, through things like eDiscovery.
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