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Software as a Service
Infoworld asks "Is Google Your Next Datacenter?" I think for most law firms that answer should still be no. I have two basic concerns with using outside services as our primary datacenter:
1. Reliability. If your Internet connection goes down you lose access to your documents and applications. Not only are you at the mercy of your connection; but you're at the mercy of their systems as well. Google, for instance, has had at least one or two significant outages in the last several months. What happens to your practice if you don't have your word processor or your client documents for 3 hours on a Tuesday morning?
2. Security. They claim their servers are encrypted but who has access to their data center? We just saw in San Francisco what can happen when an Admin decides to do his own thing. Who has passwords to their servers? How many domain administrators do they? Do they do backups? Are their backups encrypted? How do you ensure that your client work product stays safe and private AND how do you know if they are adhering to your document retention policies? What if in the course of eDiscovery the other side demands a copy of an old client document and while YOU think you don't have it...it turns out that your hosted datacenter actually DOES have a copy of it on an old backup.
I don't like to let client work product outside my walls. And THAT is why I don't like to depend upon hosted data centers to take care of the work product that our practice depends upon.