Companies are quick to incorporate cloud computing into their business functions, and with all the benefits the cloud offers, it's easy to understand why. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms, like Salesforce.com, allow employees to conduct their work more efficiently and at a reduced cost to the company. Meanwhile, personal cloud-computing networks, such as LinkedIn, have become important marketing and recruiting tools.
Yet, despite all the good that cloud computing has to offer, the potential risk exposure it presents is enough to keep in-house counsel up at night. Legal departments are just beginning to understand how cloud computing may impact e-discovery, and the initial reaction of many corporate counsel is to exert extensive control over the flow of electronic information. However, as the landscape of cloud-based apps and social media changes on a daily basis, attempting to control the actions of employees is becoming an impossible task.
Developing the policies
Once you know the technology your employees use and the types of data stored, you can begin to develop proactive policies around application usage that will help mitigate your risk should a matter arise. The purpose of these policies is to minimize the scope of potential e-discovery collection efforts in advance of litigation by establishing a list of company-approved applications. What should remain off this list is any technology that does not provide some means of oversight.
Finally, technology is rapidly evolving. Each day, dozens of new mobile applications go public while companies like Facebook and LinkedIn are constantly tweaking their social media platform. It is important to keep abreast of the market and to regularly update your policies and procedures to reflect any new technology.
Best practices for the cloud