For law firms: Online backup and disaster recovery made simple
Thanks to hybrid cloud solutions...
Hurricanes in Vermont. Earthquakes in Washington, D.C. Tornadoes in Missouri. Natural disasters seem to be all over the news lately. Would your firm be able to recover in a reasonable amount of time and resume operations?
Many risks exist – even for firms far away from earthquake fault lines, tornado alleys and hurricane zones. Consider the risk of water damage.
Every law firm is at risk from broken pipes, too much rain or even a sink overflowing on the floor above you. There’s nothing to stop a flood. As some experts point out, “Water always wins.”
Most law firms understand the importance of such a plan, but actually implementing one can be extremely challenging. Cost and logistics have been major barriers for many firms. Firms need to rent space at an off-site data center to secure data. They must purchase servers for the off-site location and pay someone to manage them. They need to develop procedures and policies to ensure that data is backed up regularly and securely transmitted to the DR site.
In some cases, law firms with multiple offices use a secondary office as a makeshift DR data center. This can work, but satellite offices typically aren’t designed to serve as data centers and can’t handle the amount of data traffic that’s generated when you are replicating all your servers to that satellite office.
When firms adopt either of these approaches, they are essentially rolling the dice that their internal DR solution will be ready and capable to support them in a disaster situation. The good news is you don’t need to spend a lot of money or roll the dice anymore. There are cost-effective and reliable online backup and DR solutions, thanks to new hybrid cloud approaches.
These solutions provide:
- Remote data backup – without tapes
- A local hardware appliance, which is essential for fast recovery of a folder or documents or a failed server
- Secure, controlled data transfers to the cloud
Every good plan should include both DR and online backup. This ensures your clients’ data is safe and your lawyers can continue to service your clients, no matter what happens.
While online backup and DR solutions have a lot in common, you should think about what your firm needs in each area.
Disaster recovery considerations
DR has always been a daunting task. The headaches and expense of internally built DR sites made that an unappealing option,. At the same time, many firms are leery of the security and accessibility of cloud solutions.
Hybrid solutions, such as nScaled, address many of these issues. As a cloud environment, all the purchase, installation and maintenance of DR hardware/software are offloaded. Ongoing, the cloud expands automatically as your firm grows.
These new hybrid cloud DR solutions have resulted in a dramatic cost decrease, to about one-third of a traditional data center-based DR solution.
How? You avoid paying for disk storage that may remain empty for years. You also only pay for the DR servers (admittedly at a premium) when you need them in a DR incident. Meanwhile, your data stays safely tucked away in a secure cloud data center until needed.
This type of solution addresses more than major disasters. It can also be used as your backup solution, providing significant advantages over traditional backup tapes. If you need to recover files spanning multiple days or weeks, the data is all in one online location. Your IT team doesn’t need to dig through and restore multiple tapes.
A cloud solution can also back up once an hour throughout the day, rather than end of day like most tape systems do. Consider this familiar scenario — you begin a brief at 8:00 am and work on it all day. Near the end of the day, your file becomes corrupted. With this solution, you can retrieve the copy that was last backed up an hour ago. Better yet – it will only take about 15 minutes for your IT department to recover. Instead of losing an entire day’s work, you lose an hour.
Online backup solutions
There are also cost effective cloud based online backup solutions such as Barracuda Networks. Like the DR options mentioned above, they provide both a remote backup as well as a local copy of data on an appliance in your office.
With the local copy, you can quickly restore one document, one folder, or an entire server. This helps ensure you can be up and running within hours of a disaster, instead of days.
In the cloud, Barracuda and similar systems use de-duplication and compression to minimize the amount and cost of data stored in the cloud. That data is also encrypted for your protection.
Just like a hybrid cloud DR solution, you only pay for the data as you use it. You don’t need to purchase a large amount of storage space that you may or may not use sometime in the future.
No one is immune from disasters. Fortunately, we can help you recover fast if one strikes. If you are interested in finding out more about Disaster Recovery or Online Backup solutions, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jay Kozie is a Principal with Keno Kozie Associates, an IT consulting firm and a member of Law Firm Consultants Network of Chicago (LFCN). LCFN is a diverse group of senior-level professionals with expertise serving the legal community. The group’s sole focus is to be a resource to law firms and the professionals servicing law firms by providing the highest level of professional service and coordinating these services when it is of benefit to our clients. Contact Jay at email@example.com
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