Press Release: Converge TS calls on firms to Act now on SRA technology consultation
Law firms that operate on the cloud need to keep up to speed with the Solicitors Regulatory Authority’s latest consultation and know exactly how and where their client information and data is being kept, warns Converge Technology Specialists (ConvergeTS), the UK’s only dedicated Cloud computing provider for law firms.
The advice comes a week before the SRA closes its consultation on regulatory reform, part of which focuses on technology and cloud computing.
Nigel Wright, managing director of Converge TS, says: “Cloud computing is proliferating the legal sector as firms see the benefits of having effective business continuity procedures in place and being able to offer staff more flexibility around how and where they work. However, the protection of client information and data is at the heart of the SRA consultation and it’s an issue that impacts on all law firms operating on the cloud. They need to have full knowledge about their provider and be compliant with the SRA’s code of conduct.”
The SRA is asking the profession if its current ruling of being able to enter firms’ (and providers’) premises to inspect records is stopping firms from taking advantage of new technology, such as cloud computing. Specifically, the SRA wants to know if it should: provide clearer guidance, explaining that this is not always necessary to enter premises; or make changes to the outcome to make it clear that contractual arrangements (with third parties) need to allow for the SRA to monitor compliance, which may still include entry.
Nigel explains: “Currently, firms must ensure that their outsourced solution is subject to contractual arrangements that enable the SRA or its agent to obtain information from, inspect the records (including electronic records) of, or enter the premises of, the third party, in relation to the outsourced activities or functions. On this particular issue, the SRA clearly sets out its minimum standard for firms wanting to work on the cloud. The onus is on firms to conduct the necessary due diligence on potential providers and ask the right questions to ensure compliance.”
Nigel adds that some international suppliers may not necessarily provide the best solution, as they may be accountable to international regulation on data disclosure that conflicts with these requirements: “Firms need to know specifically about: the infrastructure of the proposed data centre; who is the owner; what their capacity is; what is their disaster recovery failsafe; and what security is offered. Failure to know this information could result in fines if the SRA asks for proof and you do not have it and this is likely to cause reputational issues too.”
The SRA’s consultation closes on Thursday, 11th June 2015. Further details can be found at: www.sra.org.uk/consultations.
Converge TS has created a free cloud compliance booklet for law firms looking to move to the cloud called Cloud and Compliance – Your IT Questions answered. “It is far wiser for firms to know the right questions to ask of their potential vendors and assure themselves that their provider is SRA-compliant. Sadly ignorance will result in costly fines and reputational damage.”
To obtain Converge TS’s free booklet, please visit http://convergets.co.uk/download/ or contact Aaron Naisbitt on firstname.lastname@example.org