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6 Questions Law Firms Should Ask about Data Backup & Disaster Recovery

How many files, programs, and communication records does your law firm use on a daily basis to complete your work? It’s likely dozens, if not hundreds. What would you do if suddenly all or most of those files and programs were wiped clean either due to hardware failure or a malicious cyber-attack?

Data backup and disaster recovery is easy to overlook unless you’ve been in a data loss situation before. Losing files, records, and communication is more than an inconvenience; it paralyzes the productivity of a law firm until those files are recovered or replaced—if ever.

Having systems and processes in place for backup and recovery means that in the case of a data disaster, your law firm can minimize downtime and get back up and running at full capacity in hours instead of days or weeks.

For a data backup and disaster recovery system to be most effective, it should integrate seamlessly into your existing systems to automatically and regularly back up your data. You should also have a data recovery plan in place that streamlines the recovery of your data in case of disaster.

Questions Your Law Firm Should Ask About Data Backup & Recovery

If your law firm hasn’t analyzed your backup and recovery systems recently, it’s probably time to do so. Here are some of the most important questions to ask to analyze your backup and data recovery systems.

1 – Is our data being backed up somewhere? If so, where?

This is the first and most important question you need to ask about data backup. Do you have a secondary location where all company files, records, and programs are being backed up? If so, where?

Most lawyers simply keep files on their computers. This means that a single virus, data breach, or hardware crash could wipe their information completely clean. While some law firms often utilize a secondary server to back up their data, this still leaves your data at risk if there is ever a physical event such as a natural disaster. It can be wise to have two backup locations, with at least one of those on the cloud.

2 – Are our backup systems automated?

This is also a huge indicator of the effectiveness of your law office’s data backup and recovery system. If your backup system is not automated then you are most certainly missing hundreds if not thousands of important files, systems, and records. It also means you probably don’t have the latest versions of those files, systems, or records in your backup.

The data backup system for your law firm should be automated and should integrate seamlessly into your existing systems. It should also be non-intrusive. For example, you shouldn’t be experiencing several hours of downtime every week to accommodate inconvenient backups. Instead, it should be quick, efficient, and non-intrusive to keep your business running smoothly.

3 – How often is our data being backed up?

If your systems crashed or you experienced a security breach today, how much data would be lost since your last backup? A day’s worth? A week’s? It’s important to know how frequently your data is being backed up and to make sure you’re satisfied with the answer.

Modern software and systems allow us to have more regular and non-obtrusive backups than ever. If you’re still relying on an old-school system that lags weeks—or longer—behind current operations, then a data loss would hit you harder than those law firms that have automated daily backups.

4 – Which systems and data files are backed up?

When most lawyers consider data backup they’re thinking of important files, court documents, and contracts. However, it’s also important to remember that communication such as emails and other correspondences between clients and colleagues, databases, software programs, and accounting records are also important during data backup.

5 – What does our disaster recovery process look like?

Making sure your data is properly backed up is important, but it’s equally important to know how that data would be recovered in the case of a disaster. You should have a clear understanding of the projected recovery time for your law firm in case of data loss. How long will it take to restore systems and files back to normal after a disaster or disruption?

It is also important to know who oversees and implements the disaster recovery process and what it looks like. Smaller law firms often don’t have a CTO or IT team on staff to run disaster recovery. In these cases, it’s important for them to partner with a data backup and disaster recovery company to prepare for potential disasters and oversee recovery if and when disasters occur.

6 – Have we ever tested our backup system?

Systems and projected recovery time objectives can bring peace of mind, but it can also pay to do a run-through to test actual processes and make adjustments as needed. This helps give a clearer picture of “Recovery Time Actual,” or the time it actually takes to recover systems and data in case of disaster.

Why is Data Backup and Recovery so Important?

Data backup and recovery is about more than preventing inconvenience. Data loss can have huge impact on a business. For instance, just one hour of downtime can cost small companies as much as $8,0000; mid-sized organizations as much as $74,000; and can cost large enterprises over $700,000.[1] In addition, according to FEMA, 43% of companies who experience a major data loss never reopen, and 29% close within two years.[2]

Are you unsure about your current data backup and recovery plan?

The data backup and recovery team at Network Coverage are experts in backup and DR. If you’re unsure about your law firm’s current data backup and recovery plan, please feel free to schedule a free backup analysis and consultation!

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[2] “IT Disaster Recovery Plan”. FEMA. 25 October 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2013.

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