As a law practice owner or manager, you probably spend a lot of time searching for ways to increase efficiency and productivity. The popularity of Dropbox is growing among law firms, as a way to store and share documents. But concerns about confidentiality and privacy make some attorneys question whether Dropbox is right for their firm. The following examines how Dropbox works and what experts say about its appropriateness for legal practices.
What is Dropbox?
In case you are unfamiliar with the features of Dropbox, allow me to give you a short tutorial. Dropbox is cloud-based storage, providing virtual space for documents, pictures, videos and files. Think of it as an internet file cabinet that can only be accessed by individuals with a key. When working on a file, you can save it to Dropbox, just as you would to your computer or a flash drive. Don’t worry. Your file is not accessible for the entire internet.
You determine who will have access to your Dropbox account and its specific files. Those with access can view your files through a computer, tablet, or smart phone, allowing for greater mobility. Let’s look at a real-life scenario.
Your firm is handling a large matter. A partner, two associates, a paralegal, and one clerk are all working diligently on this case. By installing Dropbox on each of their computers and devices, they can easily share and review files with one another. Even if the partner makes a change to the document, saving it to the folder allows everyone else on the team to instantly see the most recent modifications. With Dropbox, there’s no need for multiple emails or money-wasting copies.
Security and Ethics
As an attorney, you are constantly concerned about the confidentiality of client information and how to best protect it. So, it’s natural to question whether Dropbox is safe. Uptime JurisPage published an article about its security and their resounding answer to this question was, “Yes.” The article goes on to state, “Dropbox would be out of business if its 200 million users’ data was vulnerable, so they’ve taken several steps to ensure that your files are secure.”
When trying to determine whether Dropbox can keep our firm in compliance, examine the company’s security measures and the requirements set out by your state bar association. If you determine that it’s ethically compliant, put it work. You may find it to be a time-saving and efficient option for your practice.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a Virginia based writer with a passion for all things legal. As a former domestic relations attorney, she understands the challenge of determining the best fee structure for your practice. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.