Legal professionals, law firms and corporate legal departments handle large volumes of sensitive information, and face the dual challenges of ensuring data security while complying with overlapping regulations governing sensitive information handling. This blog post will delve into some common hurdles faced during legal data transfers, explore best practices to overcome them and highlight how Cerberus FTP Server by Redwood can help legal professionals


What are common legal data and file transfer use cases?

  1. Discovery. Document and data collection, review and organization related to discovery is one of the most common file transfer scenarios. For small batches of files, an HTTPS web client may streamline data transfer by allowing any individual on any device to post files to your corporate server. For larger transfer scenarios or situations where you’re transferring sensitive data, you may want to consider tools such as an SFTP server that could handle high volumes under specific encryption levels such as FIPS 140-2.
  2. Trial preparation. Depending on your court’s ECF practices, material such as exhibits, witness statements, trial briefs, jury instructions and more can be stored on your secure file server and transferred to the court when required. 
  3. Pleadings and motions. Similarly, e-filing of pleadings and motions is another of the more common legal file transfer use cases.  
  4. Client document sharing. For other legal business, such as the daily drafting of contracts, policies and other documents, the ability to easily share revisions between groups of collaborators is one of the most common legal file transfer use cases.  

What common challenges exist in legal data and file transfer?

Several common challenges run through the use cases discussed above, and legal file transfer system administrators frequently find themselves faced with providing solutions for the following challenges.   

  1. Data security and confidentiality: Legal data often contains highly sensitive information such as personally identifiable information, financial details and privileged communications. Unauthorized access to this information or data breaches (which are on the rise according to the American Bar Association’s 2023 Cybersecurity TechReport) can lead to severe consequences, including legal penalties, reputational damage and loss of client trust.  
  2. Regulatory compliance: Legal professionals will come across a wide variety of data and documents that must be handled according to disparate regulations and standards that impose strict requirements on data handling. A law firm arguing a Medicare case in federal court, for example, would find its communications subject to HIPAA, which governs who is allowed to access personally identifiable health information, and FIPS, which establishes certain encryption requirements for the transfer of that data. Non-compliance can result in hefty fines and legal liabilities. 
  3. Data integrity and accuracy: Ensuring that data remains intact and unaltered during transfers is crucial for legal proceedings. Any compromise in data integrity can jeopardize legal cases and result in unfavorable outcomes. 
  4. Managing large volumes of data: Legal cases often involve substantial amounts of data, including documents, emails and multimedia files. Efficiently managing and transferring these large volumes can be challenging, especially when dealing with slow transfer speeds or bandwidth limitations. 
  5. Traceability and auditability: Legal professionals need to maintain detailed records of data transfers for audit purposes. Ensuring traceability and auditability is essential for demonstrating compliance and accountability. 

Best practices for legal data and file transfers

  1. Implement strong encryption: Utilize robust encryption methods and secure protocols to protect data during transfers. End-to-end encryption ensures that data is unreadable to unauthorized parties, safeguarding confidentiality and integrity. Cerberus FTP Server employs industry-leading encryption standards and secure protocols such as SFTP, FTPS and HTTPS to ensure your data remains protected during transfers. 
  2. Familiarize yourself with regulatory data transfer requirements: Relevant data protection regulations have specific compliance requirements that must be reviewed and implemented in your data transfer policies. To help, Cerberus FTP Server has compiled guides for compliance in healthcare file transfer and United States federal government data transfer requirements. 
  3. Implement access controls: Restrict access to sensitive data to authorized personnel only (such as system administrators and privileged attorneys). Use multi-factor authentication and role-based access controls to enhance security and prevent unauthorized access. Within Cerberus FTP Server, administrators can implement a range of data access protection controls as well as integrate with existing directory tools such as AD FTP security groups or LDAP
  4. Monitor and log transfers: Implement monitoring and logging mechanisms to track data transfers. Maintain detailed logs that capture essential information, such as transfer dates, file details and user activities. These logs can be invaluable for audits and investigations to ensure your data security practices are sound. Cerberus offers full audit trails to support these requirements. 
  5. Maintain a document retention policy: At the conclusion of a legal action, your firm will face requirements for maintaining or destroying documents generated during the action. Managing these requirements on an individual basis can be extremely challenging at larger firms’ operating scales, but Cerberus FTP Server’s Folder Monitor feature helps administrators set directory-level retention policies that can be combined with automation to implement even the most complicated policies. 


In conclusion, navigating the complexities of legal data and file transfers requires a robust approach to security, compliance and efficiency. By implementing best practices and leveraging the advanced features of Cerberus FTP, legal professionals can ensure that their data transfers are secure, compliant and reliable. Explore our solutions today and discover how Cerberus FTP can empower your legal data management and transfer processes.