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Audit Now for the Future Cloud

In the not-too-distant future, everybody will be on the cloud just like they are on cell phones today.

According to one survey, 83 percent of enterprises will be on the cloud by 2020. That's about one "Star Trek" sequel from now.

In other words, resistance is futile because the cloud will cover the earth. Is your law firm ready?

It has been a long drawn out fight for Microsoft and the U.S. government. Battles were won and lost on both sides. Now, thanks to Congress, the President, and SCOTUS, the war is over. Microsoft lost.

The fight was over a search warrant that sought information that Microsoft had stored abroad in Ireland. At the district court level, Microsoft's challenge of the warrant failed. The company was held in contempt, but after a successful appeal to the Second Circuit, the contempt order was vacated, and the warrant was quashed. While on appeal to SCOTUS, Congress actually passed the CLOUD Act, which specifically requires companies to turn over data in response to a warrant regardless of where it is stored.

Google Drive Enables Comments on PDFs, Images, Office Files

Everybody, including Google, knows lawyers have something to say about everything.

But Google is making it easier for them to comment on Office files, PDFs, and images. In Google Drive, users can now comment in the preview pane without having to use other tools or convert files.

Reviewers say it's not quite the same as G Suite or Office 365, but it works. Oh, and in case you're wondering, it's free.

Major Tech Acquisitions to Watch Now

One thing's for sure about the future of tech, there will be changes.

Drones, self-driving cars, augmented reality, and virtual currencies are yesterday's news. Tomorrow will not be about the next big thing, but who owns it.

Today, major players like Amazon and Google and are staking their claims in the future marketplace. But then there are those tech deals that are running in the background.

AT&T Gives Up Against Google Fiber

Google resistance is futile.

Seriously, Google it. It's a Borge expression from another universe, but here it means you can't stop Google's fiber network. AT&T tried and failed.

Last year, AT&T sued to keep Google Fiber from getting faster access to utility poles in Kentucky. A judge dismissed the case, and now AT&T is giving up.

When it comes to getting rid of old client files of the paper variety (after at least five years, of course), there's really only a couple good options: burning or shredding. The latter is much more environmentally friendly, as shredded paper can be recycled, whereas burnt paper just releases chemicals into the atmosphere needlessly.

However, for old digital files, neither burning nor shredding will really get rid of them (okay, maybe burning might, but it might not and you'll never really be sure, and it's probably not worth the risk, dangers, and bad smells, of burning electronic equipment). And just taking a hammer to a hard-drive won't prevent dumpster diving tech thieves from trying to reconstruct digital files on destroyed drives.

Storing old files can be rather costly. Depending on where your practice is located, storing a bankers box worth of client files for five years, or however long is required by your state bar's ethics rules, can add up, especially as the boxes of files stack up.

Given the advances in digital file storage, it makes sense to digitize closed case files for storage. After all, even if the storage costs aren't an issue, managing the physical box (including security and privacy of client information contained therein), and actually destroying the contents, takes time and money. Fortunately, the number of services that provide scanning services means that you can find competitive pricing, so you don't even have to waste an unpaid intern's time scanning docs.

Here are three important tips on digitally storing your old case files.

Tech IDs 4,000 Fraudsters From DMV Records

If standing in line at the DMV weren't bad enough, new facial recognition software is turning that trip into an arrest in New York and other states.

New York has used facial recognition technology to arrest more than 4,000 people for identity theft and fraud crimes. According to reports, that number will likely skyrocket because the DMV technology is getting better.

"The use of this facial recognition technology has allowed law enforcement to crack down on fraud, identity theft, and other offenses -- taking criminals and dangerous drivers off our streets and increasing the safety of New York's roadways," announced Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Law Firm Creates 'Virtual Hub' for New Partners

Another law firm is branching out on the internet, setting up a virtual office to complement its brick-and-mortar presence.

Taylor English Duma, which brands itself as a new breed of law firm, is hiring partners to become part of a virtual hub. Unlike purely virtual firms, the Atlanta-based firm calls it a "hybrid" model that will give partners more support to work at home.

It also represents a trend in law firms branching out on the web to serve clients across the country.

Microsoft's New Server Can Serve Lawyers

One thing for sure about the future of legal tech, there will be upgrades.

In that tradition, Microsoft has announced its newest edition of SQL 2017 -- a server that features software upgrades that may serve lawyers well. It is not a lawyer product, per se, but it has tools that can help attorneys manage their workloads.

The most promising features for the legal profession, according to reports, are improved analytics and artificial intelligence that may even predict outcomes.