The Essential Guide for Protecting Your Legal Practice From IT Downtime

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1 The Essential Guide for Protecting Your Legal Practice From IT Downtime

2 Introduction: Technology in the Legal Practice In the professional services industry, the key deliverable of a project is the solution to a particular type of problem. For legal practices, the problem in question goes from keeping someone out of jail to helping fend of patent trolls that could take a company to bankruptcy and everything in between. And so all the research documents, case files, contracts, and other critical information created during the course of the project end up as an electronic file that is stored somewhere a server, laptop, or even mobile device. Downtime By the Numbers The growing use of technology among legal professionals contributes to the proliferation of electronic records, which is also mirrored in the top five IT purchases made in the last year 1 and the top IT purchases planned for the next 12 months among legal firms, which are: Laptops/notebooks Desktop hardware Top 5 IT Purchases 38% 37% 49% 58% $650,000 The median cost of downtime for businesses in North America. 2 Network/server upgrades Disaster recovery 24% 29% 33% 44% Next 12 Months Past 12 Months $138,000 Average cost of downtime per hour. 3 Storage area networks That disaster recovery technology is among the top 5 purchases for both last 12 months as well as in the planned IT purchases for the next 12 months is not a surprise, as the industry as a whole relies heavily on its capacity to create, store, and retrieve content and therefore needs to have in place appropriate tools to ensure that the knowledge, as it is stored in electronic format, will not be lost due to fire, flood, theft, or a hard drive crash. Protecting Your Practice from Interruption The need to protect the electronic data and related systems has always been top of mind to most legal firms. It falls, however, on the IT staff to properly protect their practice with limited budget and ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing Survey 2. IDC Report on Maximizing System Performance to Manage the Cost of IT Operations 3. Aberdeen Group, Downtime and Data Loss: How much can you afford? 4. Enterprise Strategy Group, Trends in Data Protection Modernization, % 48% 30% Percentage of server crashes per year. 59% 4 Percentage of businesses that cobble together 4 or more products for business continuity and disaster recovery Axcient, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

3 time to do proper research. In many cases, backup products are installed and files are copied to tape which is either stored in a locked drawer or taken home by an employee. Larger practices may use outside companies to transport their backup tapes to secure off-site locations, paying heavy fees for this service. But when something happens, like a power outage, computer virus, or hardware failure the same system that was setup to prevent practice interruption ends up not being sufficient. We have seen time and again companies that once thought were safe from systems malfunction be left to scramble at the last minute to get their systems up and running. This happens because: Tapes or disk backups fail to restore because they had not been tested The data can be restored, but the applications required to read the data were lost when the server crashed Data from disk or tape is restored but is outdated and useless A power outage renders all servers and IT systems unavailable The office, and therefore the IT systems, is damaged by water, fire, or other disaster The person who operates the backup software is on vacation or out of town While these are the most common causes for IT downtime and therefore practice interruption, they are only symptoms to the core issue of how backups are being conducted and whether the firm has a proper disaster recovery and business continuity procedure in place. Identifying Your IT Vulnerabilities If you are tasked with protecting the firm s core IT systems and therefore ensuring the firm can continue to operate even in the case of a major IT outage, consider the following issues that plague most law firm IT organizations when it comes to their backup software and procedures: Scheduling backups: if you have to create multiple backup schedules, like a full backup on Monday, incremental backups through the week and another full backup on Friday you are not only prone to problems with the backup windows, you might fall victim of breaks in the backup chain (i.e. when one incremental backup is corrupted therefore preventing you from restoring other backups in the chain). Reviewing backup logs: having to review backup logs on a daily basis adds time that you or your IT staff just don t have. In addition, review of logs is a poor way to discover problems in your backup jobs, and so you may think backups are being completed successfully when in fact they are not. Testing for restore: Routine testing is essential if you are to really be protected, but testing the restoration of backup files can be time consuming and doesn t really guarantee that you will be able to restore specific tapes or files when the time comes. Also, restoring a few files doesn t guarantee full systems can be brought back online in case of an emergency, giving a false sense of security. Common Causes of IT Downtime Tapes or disk backups were not tested and fail to restore Applications required to read the data were lost when the server crashed Data from disk or tape is restored but is outdated & useless A power outage renders all servers & IT systems unavailable The office & IT systems are damaged by water, fire, or other disaster The person who operates the backup software is on vacation or out of town Axcient, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

4 Testing your disaster recovery plan: Full DR testing means going through the process of testing every part of your disaster recovery plan. This typically means shutting down servers, and trying to install new software and recover files to other servers to mimic a real situation. When using legacy backup software and tapebased solutions it becomes a very time-consuming affair that is either done after working hours or during weekends to avoid disruption in the office. This means plans are seldom fully tested and gaps in the plan are not immediately apparent. Backing up files and not applications: File and folder backup is not enough, if you have a disaster that incapacitates your servers or even your whole office, those files won t be enough to allow you to bill clients, conduct research, and continue operating at full capacity. Without application backup and full system images of your servers, your backups won t be of much help. Sending data offsite: Firms that use tape and send them off-site via a third party service incur high costs for transportation and won t be able to recover data very quickly in case of a disaster, not without incurring high fees. Smaller practices that save backup files onto removable hard drives and have a designated person take the hard drive home, are also prone not only to theft of such hard drive, but will also be challenged to retrieve the hard drive quickly in case of disaster Rotating tapes: if you are still using tapes for backups, you have the added burden of rotating tapes regularly and paying attention to each tape s useful life. Accidentally overwriting a tape with new backup jobs that should have been scheduled for another tape or using a tape that has reached its end of life can cause significant problems during an emergency. Protecting Laptops and workstations: Since most legacy backup and tape solutions don t support laptops or workstations, your practice can suffer tremendous losses if data in those machines is not protected. When a laptop is lost or stolen, or a workstation is infected with a virus, important documents may be lost forever. Practices using online backup solutions are simply applying a Band-Aid to a much worse wound, since those solutions are not part of the regularly scheduled backup jobs and are typically outside IT supervision and may not be part of the practice s DR plan. Keeping spare hardware: When using tape backup or other legacy solutions, some practices may keep spare servers, hard drives, or tape drives in the hopes of ensuring that their backups will always be accessible. Unfortunately this only adds to the cost of maintaining such solutions and doesn t guarantee they will work in an emergency. Furthermore, if they are located in the same building as the primary backup systems, they may be destroyed in the event of a disaster that affects the building. Storing them at an offsite location will only add to the delay of recovering files in an emergency. How to Protect Your Practice The Right Way So what are you to do to protect your practice from interruption and IT downtime? Fortunately there are alternatives that will enhance your firm s resiliency in case of a disaster and will also allow you to assure clients you have a way to safeguard their information from disasters. Identifying IT Vulnerabilities Scheduling backups Reviewing backup logs Testing for restore Disaster recovery plan testing Backing up files and not applications Sending data offsite Rotating tapes Protecting laptops and workstations Keeping spare hardware Axcient, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

5 First, do an inventory of all your critical systems, for example: Systems related to opening, managing, and closing client files Case management systems Applications used for research and discovery Billing, financial, and accounting applications Servers where your critical files are stored server and other collaboration software used internally In case of a disaster in which your office is disabled, which of those systems can you live without and for how long? Which systems will have a significant impact in your ability to continue operating efficiently? Then, think of all the critical files you work on a daily basis, like: Client records Personnel records Supplier information Accounting information Critical business papers (wills, powers of attorney, etc.) For those files, how often do they change, for how long do you need to keep them, and how quickly would you need to access them in case of an emergency? By understanding what level of protection you need for different systems and files you can begin planning your strategy for disaster recovery and business continuity. Your main goal is to implement a solution that will enable your practice recover quickly in case of disaster and allow you to keep working on your critical systems and accessing your important documents from wherever you might be. Axcient Solution for Legal Practices The Axcient solution is a new type of cloud platform that allows your practice to not only protect its data, but your systems and overall IT infrastructure as well. With Axcient you can eliminate IT downtime and keep your practice productive even when faced with an emergency or disaster. Axcient helps your practice in the following ways: Scheduling backups: No need to spend time worrying about corruption in the backup chain. Axcient uses Reverse Incremental technology to keep the latest backup always a full backup. The technique also prevents any problems with previous restore points and allows you to quickly and easily schedule backups on any schedule you need. Ensuring backups were successful: With Axcient you don t have to review backup logs to know if your backups completed successfully. Not only will Axcient send you automated alerts based on specific events you select, the manage by exception philosophy Axcient follows allows you to setup specific protection thresholds that enable you to get alerted only when your backup jobs meet that specific criteria. This means you can spot problems quickly, resolve them faster, and not waste time looking for problems. Protecting Your Firm Inventory critical systems Systems related to opening, managing, & closing client files Case management systems Applications used for research & discovery Billing, financial, & accounting applications Servers where your critical files are stored server & other collaboration software used internally

6 Testing for restore: Every backup from Axcient is immediately verified and tested for corruption. Not only that, you can test the files and systems you protect with Axcient at any time with the click of a button. Protecting Your Firm Testing your disaster recovery plan: Since Axcient allows you to test your protected devices at any time and as many times as you need without having to put production servers on hold, you can fully test your DR plans and make sure they work before a disaster strikes. Backing up files and applications: Because Axcient can backup full systems and make images of your servers, you can easily backup all your applications, not just your data. Besides, Axcient allows you to virtualize your systems locally and in the cloud so that in case of a disaster you can keep working with no downtime. Sending data offsite: A hybrid cloud platform, Axcient gives you protection on-site and full protection off-site as well. The Axcient appliance securely transmits data from your protected devices to the Axcient cloud where it is kept encrypted and where only you and your authorized users can access. In case of a disaster, you can quickly virtualize specific servers or your entire office in the Axcient cloud and continue working. Eliminate tapes: Axcient eliminates the need for backup tapes by providing you a local appliance that connects to your network and identifies devices to be protected, and securely transmits your protected data to the Axcient cloud. No need to rotate tapes or worry about tape shelf life since all your data is protected by Axcient. Protecting Laptops and workstations: Axcient also protects your laptops and workstations, whether they are Windows, Mac, or Linux. If a laptop is destroyed or stolen, you can retrieve a protected image of that laptop from Axcient onto another one and get back to work in less than 1 hour. No need to keep spare hardware: With Axcient you don t need to worry about keep spare hardware. If a server crashes, you can virtualize that server on the local Axcient appliance or even in the Axcient cloud. If your whole office is destroyed (fire, flood, etc.) you can virtualize your entire office in the Axcient cloud. Even Axcient s own data center has redundant servers and is protected to enable full recovery without business interruption. Check the critical files you use daily Client records Personnel records Supplier information Accounting information Critical business papers (wills, powers of attorney, etc.)

7 Axcient Solution Your IT Environment User Experience Web-based central management console Manage-by-exception Axcient Interface Physical, virtual servers, laptops and workstations Axcient Appliance Axcient Appliance Purpose-built Appliance Powered by HP Configured for fast and secure backup of data and applications WAN-Optimized Cloud-Sync Fast and secure automated transmission to the Axcient cloud Axcient Cloud New Cloud Architecture Enterprise-class infrastructure SSAE 16 datacenters In today s competitive landscape, your IT systems can make the difference in how quickly and how profitably you can serve your clients. Legal practices that take their work seriously are always looking for ways to leverage technology in one form or another. Although backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity are often thought of as back-end behind the curtain solutions, they are critical elements every IT organization needs to remain viable. Without prompt access to its data and applications, practices can suffer serious damage (not to mention repercussions to their clients). By implementing an integrated solution like Axcient, your firm can remain competitive and focus on delivering services while your IT infrastructure is protected. 2 Company Bailey & Galyen Attorneys Texas-based law firm with more than 30 attorneys Specialize in criminal defense, business and corporate law, and divorce settlements Challenge Time-consuming legacy backup system Poor support resulting in lengthy phone calls and unanswered questions Solution Axcient data protection solution for mission-critical servers Ability to failover servers within minutes Results Failover server to Axcient solution within minutes Easy-to-use and easy-tomanage solution Increase in business efficiency, time-savings and quality of support About Axcient Axcient is an entirely new type of cloud platform that eliminates data loss, keeps applications up and running, and makes sure that IT infrastructures never go down. Designed for today s always-on business, Axcient replaces legacy backup, business continuity, and disaster recovery software and hardware, and reduces the amount of expensive copy data in an organization by as much as 80%. By mirroring an entire business in the cloud, Axcient makes it simple to access and restore data from any device, failover IT systems, and virtualize your entire office with a click - all from a single deduplicated copy. Trusted by thousands of businesses to store and protect more than 10 billion files and applications, Axcient maximizes productivity, reduces cost, and eliminates risk. Learn more at

8 File and Folder Recovery Granular Application Recovery Database Recovery System Recovery/ Bare Metal Restore Physical Server Failover Virtual Server IT Infrastructure and Full Of ce Virtualization linkedin.com/company/axcient axcient.com/facebook The Axcient Solution Axcient s Recovery-as-a-Service cloud eliminates data loss, keeps applications up and running, and makes sure that IT infrastructures never go down. Axcient replaces legacy backup, business continuity, disaster recovery and archiving products, with a single integrated platform that mirrors an entire business in the cloud, making it simple to restore data, failover applications, and virtualize servers or an entire office with a click. Thousands of businesses trust Axcient to keep their applications running and employees productive. Learn more at

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