Answer: Yes. End of Blog.
But seriously, first let’s really define the Cloud. I mean, your stuff isn’t really up in the clouds. It just lives on a server somewhere, and you use the internet to connect to it. And frankly, even if your client’s data was actually sitting on the top of one of those pretty fluffy white clouds in the sky, it would STILL be safer than it is on paper in your office…on your desk in your unlocked office...where 15 people you don’t know who help to maintain your office building have keys, or on your laptop where the password is “password”. Or even your on-premises practice management program where you stay logged in all day and night, never locking your screen. These are just a few examples of situations around your office. But aside from all those things, let’s talk about practice management in the Cloud.
Every single “Cloud Based” practice management company worth their salt has information about the security of your data available on their website. In fact, here is a link to a bunch of them. There are more – this isn’t an endorsement or a recommendation…but what you will notice is this: Back Up. Bank grade encryption. Password policies. Redundancy. All things you likely don’t have in your office right now.
If understanding the security that is inherent in your program doesn’t give you enough peace of mind, consider what your state might have to say on the issues. We know the Rules of Professional Conduct vary from state to state, but we all have an obligation to protect our client’s data, no matter where we are practicing. The American Bar Association maintains a great resource that helps to summarize Cloud ethics opinion around the U.S. found HERE, you will see that for the states that have actually issued a formal opinion on the matter, the standard is “reasonable care.” Interestingly, most states have not issued a formal opinion, but we think our clients will certainly use reasonable care, understand how the provider handles the data, be comfortable with the measures in place to protect confidentiality, and the like.
If you had an opinion about the security of the Cloud or the sophistication of the features in cloud based practice management programs in the past, it’s time to take a second look.