The wide-scale destruction wreaked by Hurricane Ian is a stark reminder that firms need to be prepared for a natural disaster. If a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, blizzard, flood, fire, or gas explosion destroyed or rendered your offices inaccessible, does your firm have a plan in place to ensure recovery of your data and continuation of your operations?
Business Continuity Planning
No firm is safe from a potential disaster, but smaller firms, especially those with in-house servers, may be the most vulnerable. Clients expect their law firm to be there for them no matter what. The permanent loss of vital data or even temporary loss of access to your systems and data will not only critically limit your productivity and ability to serve your clients, but it can also cause irreparable harm to your firm’s reputation.
Fortunately, business continuity planning can be a game changer by putting systems in place to quickly recover from a catastrophic event and continue to serve your clients with minimal disruption. The business recovery planning process should include a risk assessment of how different scenarios would impact your firm’s assets and ability to operate and what you could do to mitigate those risks. A good business continuity plan will focus on several elements, including data recovery, backup location(s), communications, and insurance.
Backing up all of your electronic files and storing them offsite – ideally in the cloud – is essential to ensuring continuity in the event of a disaster. Paper files should be copied and stored offsite, as well.
When you work with a cloud service provider, all electronic files are regularly backed up to the private cloud by experts who specialize in ensuring reliable access to critical databases, specific files, and entire systems as needed. Good cloud service providers will have redundant systems that safely store your data in more than one location – to protect against a natural disaster at one of their physical locations.
Your Backup Location
In March 2020, the pandemic forced law firms to quickly transition to remote work. Due to this forced transition, many law firms have adjusted their IT systems, allowing lawyers and staff to access their files and do much of their work from home. Cloud service providers offer many tools to ensure lawyers and staff can securely and seamlessly log into the system no matter where they are.
For instance, Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solutions stream familiar Windows desktops to any device, so employees will see the same desktop and have access to the same applications and files wherever they are working. Since all desktop-to-server communications take place within the secure cloud, security is not compromised when employees access the system from other locations or devices.
In the event of a disaster, your firm needs to have a plan in place for how you will communicate with your employees, clients, and other vital parties. This requires regularly updating and safely storing contact information for all employees, clients, vendors, and others in a way that can be easily accessed.
In addition to directly contacting and reassuring clients with whom you have urgent business, your communication plan can include setting up automatic email replies and voicemail greetings stating that you are dealing with an emergency and providing contact information for urgent needs.
Appropriate insurance is an important part of any disaster recovery and business continuity plan. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, many businesses are left wondering whether or not their insurance will cover the damages incurred. During Hurricane Ian, a number of businesses in Florida did not have flood insurance because they were not in a designated flood zone. Therefore, when assessing the potential risks facing your business, review your current insurance policies to ensure you have adequate coverage to recoup your potential losses. Make sure insurance documents are safely stored in an offsite location or on a cloud server.
Maintaining the continuity of your firm must always be a top priority. Tabush Group designed Boxtop, an innovative cloud-based DaaS solution, specifically for small and midsize law firms. Boxtop offers Windows desktops, storage, backups, maintenance, unlimited technical support, and multifaceted security features, including 24x7x364 monitoring. Contact us for more information or to schedule a demo!