Last Updated: 05.04.2020

Let me start off by saying…Cloud Computing (and Dropbox in particular) is great!  As a Baltimore Small Business lawyer we love Dropbox and use it for file sharing across various platforms, computers, mobile devices and with several contractors we use (and with some family members for photo sharing). For those of your who might be reading this and scratching your head about what Dropbox is; From the Dropbox website

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website.

Essentially it is a program that controls a folder on your computer.  That folder syncs automatically with a cloud based server somewhere in the web.

How dropbox (and other cloud computing) can help a small business

Cloud Computing is fantastic for file sharing and remote access.  You can work from home, a coffee shop, the office, or the road and simultaneously share your work with:

  1. one person
  2. a group of people
  3. the world

For small businesses that can’t afford high-tech solutions, the free version of dropbox the program offers a low-cost system to share files with clients in a protected format. But it works great, until it doesn’t.  (Dropbox has business solutions at a cost, see here).

Baltimore Small business lawyer: potential pitfalls of unsecured data

What do you do if you are either not particularly tech-savvy and start having an employee problem?  Or you have a computer with a dropbox is stolen?  Or your account is hacked?  Storing data on the cloud is great (and we do it) but you must have appropriate security measures in place to deal with issues that may arise.

  • Do not store sensitive data on dropbox (or use a separate program to encrypt a client-side password if you do).  Enlawyers only stores forms and legal research on our dropbox folder, we do not keep any client materials on our dropbox accounts.  We have tried using client-side encryption and password protection with our dropbox software but didn’t have much luck (we’re only mildly tech-savvy).
  • Do not give employees access to everything.  If they quit or go off the deep end of the pool, you’ll be the one bailing out the water with a small bucket when they sabotage your files.  Make your employees create their own dropbox account rather than sharing one across the company, that way you have slightly greater control over files, data backup, and access if there is a problem.  Would you give your employees access to your books, all your documents, or all your trade secrets?  No.  Don’t give them access to all your computer files either.
  • Have the appropriate documents prepared by your Baltimore Small Business lawyer, such as an NDA, Confidentiality, and non-compete, so you have swift and guaranteed remedies if something goes wrong.

Baltimore Small business lawyer: Too LATE!  My fired employee is sabotaging my files – now what?

Here are a couple of simple steps to follow from your favorite Baltimore Small Business Lawyer:

  1. If possible, before you terminate your employee, change all the passwords and remove user access to sensitive files.
  2. If not possible, do it immediately after terminating your disgruntled employee
  3. If the employee has destroyed files, call us and contact your cloud computing company.  They save old versions of files, and while they may need a court order to deny your employee access to certain files on his or her own dropbox account, they can quickly and efficiently restore any deleted files or folders from your folder.
  4. Worst case scenario, call us and have your favorite lawyer file for injunctive relief (an injunction is a court ordering a person to DO or NOT do something – not asking for monetary damages, yet).

Baltimore Small business lawyer: The bottom line

Don’t think it can happen? See here, and here, and here. As we always say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Protect your assets before you need to call your favorite ENlawyers to help you bail out of a sticky situation and if you do need help, be prepared to have us help you act swiftly and decisively to protect what you have worked so hard to build…your Baltimore Small business!