Now Lawyers Can Use the Cloud, Too

January 10, 2014
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Guest post written by Shawn Gordon.
 Secure cloud for lawyers


“What’s a Google Drive?” 

Guest post written by Shawn Gordon.
 Secure cloud for lawyers


“What’s a Google Drive?” 

I was having lunch recently with an attorney friend of mine and wanted to share a document with him. Since he already had Gmail, I suggested we just share it on Google Drive as it wasn’t sensitive data…turned out he’d never even heard of Google Drive.  

Yeah, really. 

This made me really think about consumers of all these mobile devices we use in our work. My friend’s job is to be a really good lawyer, and that takes a lot of time and brain power. And as tech savvy as he is (he did his firm’s web site), being on top of every bit of tech just isn’t his job. It’s the job of IT thinkers like me.   

Cloud Computing for Lawyers and the Like

It was fortuitous synchronicity that I’d just looked at the Egnyte system. So many companies have been hesitant to adopt some sort of cloud file sharing platform due to data security concerns. Egnyte is a hybrid approach that enables large companies to keep their files on premise behind their own firewall but leverage the cloud for access.

So as I was talking to my friend, he was telling me how he needs to be able to work on the same documents with paralegals and other lawyers in the firm. He explained how they are often sitting around court with their iPad, waiting to get their time before the judge, and how easy it would be to get to those files.

iPads in the Courtroom

As I explained cloud based file sharing to him, he expressed his concern about the security of the files, as this was often very sensitive information as they were putting a case together. So I explained Egnytes concept of “Data Gravity”, and how you can actually keep those files securely in house and not on the cloud, subject to indexing and security breaches. 

He was getting really excited about the possibilities for his firm to be able to securely collaborate and work on files wherever he was and with whatever device he had with him. Oftentimes he would even just be out at some social event with only his phone and something came up he wanted to get in to a document, only to have it at work and not available, so he’d make notes and then merge them up at work later.

Secure Hybrid Computing with a Toaster

Hot on the heels of the announcement of their $29.8 Million “D” round funding, Egnyte has inked a new partnership with Synology. Who is Synology and why is this important you might ask? I wondered, too, so I asked Egnyte co-founder Rajesh Ram some questions.

Synology NAS "Toaster"

Founded in 2000, Synology is dedicated to develop high-performance, environmentally-friendly NAS servers.  You have these cool toaster size devices that cost from $300 to $2000 and store from 1tb to 4tb per box that gives you really simple and convenient network storage for SMB or home (the home market is not Egnytes focus however). These devices get you efficient storage for groups of users, allowing you to share files securely, back them up, do printer sharing, mobile support and all sorts of cool features.  

Shawn Gordon: What is the effect on the existing infrastructure and clients?

Rajesh Ram: Egnyte will sit on the Synology device and sync to the Egnyte cloud and provide that same seemless access to files from whatever device you are using.  The convenience and management factors are that you can now just have Egnyte sitting on the Synology NAS device and not have to install it on every desktop computer in the company.  In addition you have a granular security matrix to the files on the NAS, so I can say Sally has full read/write access to the Accounting folder but only read access to Sales Quotes, but Bob has full read/write access to both, etc.

SG: What is the sales, distribution, cost model for this?  Am I going to buy a Synology device from Egnyte?

RR: For the moment it will typically deploy to an existing Synology customer, we’ll just install our software to their already in-house device.  A new customer would acquire the Synology device through one of their resellers, we won’t be reselling the device ourselves.  There is no additional cost above and beyond your typical cost for the device and our service.

SG: What is this bringing to the party?

RR: Really it is a matter of convenience in terms of deployment and use.  There is very little effort to deploy this solution and the benefit is tremendous in terms of security and accessibility.  Remember, we’re keeping your files in place, we aren’t making you put them up in the cloud unless you want to. This really reduces any potential incursion to your data, and with the recent announcements of breaches at Target and Snapchat, we can’t be too careful with regard to data security.

SG: What is the effect on the existing customer base?

RR: No impact whatsoever, it just opens up additional storage solution option, and on the Synology end, gives them easy access to the Egnyte system.

SG: When does this go live?

RR: We’re announcing here at CES and are sharing a booth with Synology as well.  We’ll have the solution shipping in the first quarter of 2014.

And with that Rajesh was back to CES. Storage may not be particularly glamorous, but it is what makes everything happen. As a long time IT guy myself, I’m really excited about anything that makes it easier to secure and share my data in as controlled a fashion as possible, and in that vein, this is a very exciting solution that addresses a huge need in the SMB space.  

Now my lawyer friend can deploy this solution even easier than he’d been thinking. 


Shawn Gordon founded The Kompany.com, a leading developer of commercial software and open source development on Linux for many years. He also founded ProgRock Records, a leading record label in the Progressive Rock community with over 100 artists. He spent years imaginging and building products and solutions, all the while writing over 100 articles for various magazines covering software reviews, programming tips, interviews and music piracy. Connect with him on Twitter.