New York attorneys may use an online data storage system to store and back up client confidential information, provided that they take reasonable care to ensure that the confidentiality of the information is maintained in a manner consistent with an attorney's obligations under New York Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6, the New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics opined. The Committee referenced the obligation to keep client information confidential, to take affirmative steps to protect confidentiality and to prevent inadvertent disclosures to third parties. The Committee suggested that "reasonable care" may include a requirement that the service provider provide notice to the attorney if served with process requiring the production of confidential information; investigation of the provider's security measures; employing technology to guard against foreseeable attempts to access the information; and measures for securing, transferring and deleting the information when changing providers. The Committee further commented that attorneys have an obligation to stay informed of technological advances that would affect the security of stored information, and should monitor changes in the law of privilege to ensure that online storage of client information does not result in the loss or waiver of any privilege.
New York State Bar Association Ethics Opinion No. 842 (Sept. 10, 2010) Download PDF
See also Pennsylvania Bar Association Committee on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Opinion No. 2010-200 (assessing the ethical issues involved in the establishment and operation of a "virtual law office" and reiterating the need to assure the confidentiality of all client communications, including those conducted electronically).