Articles

How would your firm survive a Catastrophe?

How would your firm survive a Catastrophe? 

A managing partner once told me, “After my people, our data is our most valuable asset.” The value of data is undeniable. Unfortunately, so is its vulnerability. Critical information can be lost due to server malfunction, hackers, power surges, broken water pipes or any one of a hundred unpredictable disasters. Data backups are important, but they may not be enough.

What Is the Difference Between Data Backup and Disaster Recovery?

In a nutshell, data backups only store the information itself. While this is a crucial step, most companies require a range of different applications to function properly. For example, imagine if your server crashed overnight. You had the foresight to back up all of your clients’ information, but you had no access to email or accounting software. Without a disaster recovery plan, your firm could come to a grinding halt.  

In cases of catastrophic damage, it can take hours or even days to get everything back online. A proper disaster recovery plan can save you thousands of dollars in lost time, revenue, and opportunity. However, your plan must be in place (and thoroughly tested) before disaster strikes.

What Does a Disaster Recovery Plan Look Like?

Every firm is different, and so is every recovery strategy. It is crucial that your plan reflect what is important to your firm. Two important concepts to keep in mind are:

  • RTO - Recovery Time Objective: How quickly do we need to recover? Does your firm need to be back online in an hour, or in 24 hours? Faster is always better, but it is also more expensive. You can also narrow this down to certain services. Typically email is more critical than closed cases for example.

 

  • RPO - Recovery Point Objective: How much data can we afford to lose? Is a day fine or just a matter of hours? We even have some firms setup where it is less than 15 minutes, but as with RTO, faster is more expensive.

 

The goal of any disaster recovery plan is to minimize RTO and RPO by bringing crucial systems back online as quickly as possible. For instance, if your company relies on email but the network is down, your plan may allow employees to start sending and receiving new emails within the hour. However, archived emails may not reappear for 8-24 hours. That’s why it is important to prioritize which programs and information are most important to your company. 

Outside of RTO and RPO, there are other key factors to consider:

  • What data needs to be protected, and how quickly does it need to be recovered?

  • What is our budget?

  • How would you notify employees or clients about an outage (if traditional communication was unavailable)?

  • In the event of a facility disaster, things become more complex. How will our employees work? From home or another location? Where can our attorneys meet with clients?

  • How often should you test your disaster plan to make sure it’s working?

Remember, the right contingency plan can make or break your business. It is possible for companies to develop the plan in house, but there are proven benefits to consulting a professional legal technology firm like Technology Pointe. We can help determine what kind of services you need, but more importantly, they can help develop a plan that will scale and grow as your firm does. 

by Dustin Bolander

#WIIFM? – What’s In It For Me? That’s the question most of us ask when discussing the value of ALA membership.

#WIIFM? – What’s In It For Me?  That’s the question most of us ask when discussing the value of ALA membership.  Below is a Top Ten List of (free) Benefits of Membership in ALA.

By James L. Cornell

 

#10 – Knowledge

BOLD Bites Weekly Email
Industry News
Ahead of the Curve
Article of the Week
Legal Management Magazine
Legal Management Talk Podcasts - www.alanet.org/podcast
Conference Recordings of Educational Sessions on Demand
Whitepapers

 #9 – Leadership Training

Chapter Board and Committees
Conference Committees
Standing Committees
Regional Leadership and International Board of Directors
 

#8 – Reference Library

Articles, documents and checklists (former encyclopedia and resource center)
Nearly 200 resources have been posted, with more added each week
Use the Online Community or ala@alanet.org  for all your research needs
 

#7 – Legal Marketplace

One stop resource for business solutions and services
Interactive features for Business Partner profiles, articles, and case studies
Intersection of Business Partners and Law Firm Success
Solution Series Webcasts
 

#6 – Value in Partnerships (VIPs)

Exclusive services and discounts from nationally known companies in areas like security, technology consulting, insurance, and office products
 

#5 – Diversity Tools and Resources

Progress Reports, Chapter and Law Firm Scorecards, Mentoring Guide and Resources
 

#4 – Networking

Participation in the online communities
Each week in BOLD Bites highlights interesting conversation strings
More than 2,000 members have signed up to participate
More than 9,000 members across 95 chapters in 30 countries
Hundreds of Business Partners

 

#3 – Uniform Process Based Management Systems (UPBMS)

Common Processes include HR, LM, FN, BM, IT, TI, PS, and OS
Classifications, Substantive Areas, Categories and Processes
 

#2 – Peer Support

Mentorship
Career Success
Job Bank
Friendships
Therapy 
The Power of the Pinky Swear
Linkedin – Association of Legal Administrators
Twitter - @ALABuzz
Facebook – Association of Legal Administrators (ALA)
 

#1 – Learn a New Language Made Up of Acronyms

ALA, CLI, ALI, RLMC, UPBMS, ATOC, BOLD, VIP, CLM, SIGs, HQ, KSAs, LFA, FM, HR, OM, LI….
Speak the language of relevant and successful professional legal managers!