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Cloud storage: risks and rewards

Damian Huon of Huon IT explains to Australasian Lawyer the tricky issue of cloud storage and how firms might go about it if they want to make the leap.

Video transcript below:

Damian Huon, CEO, Huon IT
Damian Huon:
 It’s my view that firms face a number of security challenges today and I think that it brought to a head by current trends around cloud and also mobility and it’s really not a big issue to resolve.  There are fantastic security professionals out there that could provide a security audit to assist the firm to shape their security profile and implement best practice solution.

Reporter:  In a world where information is increasingly stored and exchanged digitally, is the legal world lagging behind?  Cloud storage and mobile filing systems have existed for years.  But uptake among law firms has been slow because of the associated privacy risks.  Daman Huon of Huon IT explains that in theory there are many benefits to cloud storage.

Damian Huon:  There are a heap of benefits for cloud.  It’s just the question of timing in my mind and weighing up the risks of moving to the cloud.  So in terms of I guess benefit is significant cost reduction over time.  And that would come with a move from Capex investment to Opex, should also reduce IT administration and give you great flexibility around your resources. 

Reporter:  However a move to the cloud storage model obviously comes with sizable risks, especially when employees embrace bring your own device initiatives.

Damian Huon:   Risky area is BYOD and it’s my view, I mean there is a number of ways to skin a cat, but it’s my view that any firm approaching BYOD should do it in a virtualised environment, which essentially means there is no doubt footprint on the device that the staff member brings to the office.  Data sovereignty is obviously another key risk and what might catch people by surprise, despite having the data centre in their own territory, a lot of these larger providers have a [fail over course], which means that in the event of disaster or business interruption, business not being financially successful in the Australian marketplace, they have to write to move their data back to where they have come from, in most cases the U.S.  Oh the other area to also pay some attention to is internal security.  It’s quite common for us to walk into a law firm and find very relaxed security and significant risk amongst internal teams looking at data they shouldn’t, whether that be HR or an opposing mitigation section.  So internal security also needs some careful management.  

Reporter:  Huon recommends firms dip their toe into cloud storage first before they go the whole hog and suggests road testing a private cloud to ensure a safer transition.

Damian Huon:  Map out your strategy, put your toe in the water first, try software as a service, looking at non-critical applications like CRM tools or HR.  Certainly right now most firms should have a private cloud, so they should be virtualised whether that be inhouse or in a data centre that they rent and then the move from private cloud to  a more traditional cloud, more public cloud model.
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