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Nigel Wright, managing director of Converge TS – says that every law firm is faced with a major and growing business continuity time bomb but the summer months allow you to do something about it

With fewer people in the office, testing your disaster recovery plan should be at the centre of your summer plans, enabling you to identify the weak spots and make the most of time to develop the remedies to ensure a plan as water tight as possible before the busy season starts back in September.

Few firms could cope with a £187,500 loss we estimate a five-day outage would cost a firm with 50 fee earners, charging £150 per hour on a five-hour fee charging day.

How would your firm deal with a crisis involving an air conditioning unit leaking into the office and destroying your server, or a member of the IT team deleting your virtual server, or your firm coming under attack from a file eating virus? Add to this the huge costs associated with replacing a server, and costs soon mount up.

These are real life examples and luckily robust plans were in place. But these experiences are good scenarios to really test your plan to destruction. You will soon establish just how quickly you are able to return to business as usual.

So what are some of the key steps to take?

• Key to your plan should be determining the current life expectancy of your server and planning for its demise or failure in advance.

• Test and check recoverable back-up times and personally oversee the proof so that you are certain of the likely impact should your firm ever face disaster.

• Think about where your staff will work without access to the office, if they could work at all?

Sometimes firms find that they are spending too much money on communications between servers and offices with no failover. However, firms operating on the Cloud can be pretty certain that the above scenarios aren’t likely to result in the same level of downtime or hit their business as hard since disaster recovery comes as a benefit of moving to the new technology. Your firm can pick up from the time the business was interrupted, rather than having to possibly retrieve data or rebuild servers (possibly starting files from scratch). Cloud makes the difference between your firm being down and out for days (or weeks), compared to just a few hours.

You just need to equip your staff with the right technology, which for most is a laptop, a mobile (or secure access to your telephone system) and a secure Wi-Fi connection, and they’ll be able to access files, systems and data wherever they choose to work.

Having an effective business continuity and disaster recovery plan means you are compliant with the likes of the Solicitors Regulatory Authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office and others. You also stand more chance of winning work as clients increasingly demand sight of data and regulatory compliance as part of their tendering process.

Testing your disaster recovery plan makes good commercial sense. It’s effective use of the quieter few weeks ahead and could give your firm the competitive edge.

http://convergets.co.uk/

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