Don’t Risk It: Why Data Backup and Recovery Should Be A Legal Firm’s Top Priority

Florida Lawyer Data Loss

Let’s talk about something that might not sound particularly sexy, but is absolutely crucial for the long term success of your legal practice (and potentially your career): data backup and recovery.

After many years working with legal firms in the Boca Raton/Fort Lauderdale area, we’ve seen firsthand how a simple oversight can turn into a full blown nightmare for professionals and practices who were not prepared.

Unfortunately, too often, we were called in to try and rescue a situation after the fact – where unfortunately it was often too late (not all bad news for Rapid IT, however, as we have won long term clients as a result of our efforts).

So, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s dive into why safeguarding your data with a robust and foolproof data backup strategy should be right at the top of your practice’s to-do list.

Understanding the Risks

Imagine this scenario: you’ve spent countless hours drafting up airtight contracts, digging through piles of legal documents, and building a solid case for your client.

But what if, after an unexpected cyber attack your hard-drive corrupts, and all your hard work vanished into thin air?

The thought is enough to make you break out in a cold sweat right?

In 2021, according to Statista, there were over 1,000 reported data breaches in the United States. And that’s just those that were actually reported. We’re sure there were many, many more.

And a recent study by Verizon found that 43% of all cyberattacks target small businesses, where 60% of those affected go out of business within six months of the incident. This is sadly due to the financial, operational and repetitional impact the attack has on the firm.

So, the risk is real, folks.

Dog Steals Lawyer's Laptop

Importance of Data Backup

Now, onto your lifesaver in such situations: data backup.

Think of it as a safety net for your precious files and documents. Whether it’s accidental laptop damage or loss, a cyberattack, or just plain human error, having a backup system in place gives you real peace of mind.

And let us assure you, as a team who have had to recover lost data for clients more times than we can believe ourselves, having that contingency is priceless. We see it on the faces of our clients each and every time we save their bacon.

Types of Backup Solutions

So, how does one actually backup their data?

Well, you’ve got options.

From external hard drives to the automated wonders of cloud storage, there’s a solution out there to fit every firm’s needs and preferences.

At Rapid IT, we often recommend legal firms and professionals implement automated and scheduled cloud backup solutions. For legal professionals this works particularly well, especially if you predominantly work from a laptop that travels with you from home, to the office, to meetings, to the courtroom etc.

Having a cloud backup solution is like having your own personal vault wherever you are or go. It can be configured to take periodic snapshot backups of your machine, files and folders throughout the day, and store these consecutive, time-stamped versions, in a secure but accessible online folder that you can reach from anywhere – as long as you have an internet connection.

A more traditional hard-drive backup solution can be configured in the same way – to take periodic snapshots – however, it does normally require you to plug your machine in, or at least regularly connect manually or remotely, and isn’t as effective if you are constantly on the move – like a lot of legal professionals we encounter. Of course, a local hard drive can also be easily lost or stolen (even if it’s encrypted and the data can’t be accessed – you’ve still lost your backups).

Regardless of your own situation of preferences, talking to an experienced MSP like Rapid IT can help you get a functional system in place. We’ll talk you through the various options available depending on your own office setup or routine, the frequency of the backups you would like in place and how to quickly access them securely in a recovery situation.

The Role of Recovery Planning

As we briefly touched upon previously, it is important to remember that backup is only half the story – should you need to initiate a restore, you also need an efficient plan in place for recovery too.

And trust us; when you’ve just suffered a data loss incident, the last thing you want to be doing is scrambling around figuring out how to piece things back together. Data loss tends to happen at the most inconvenient times, remember?

We’ve spent more time than we care to remember restoring files and systems for clients who – whilst having a backup system in place –  didn’t actually have an effective way to restore afterwards. Suffice to say, they weren’t our clients at at the time of the incident, but they certainly were afterwards).

So, do yourself a favour and take the time to create a plan that outlines exactly what steps you’ll take to recover your data after a loss event. It could be accidental file detection, theft, hard drive corruption or a misplaced machine but whatever it is, you’ll be thankful you know exactly what to do. Time is money after all.

Of course, you can always speak to Rapid IT about the best way to manage your recovery for different scenarios. We have best practice action plans for every situation imaginable.

Compliance Considerations

As a legal professional, you have an extra level of complexity to deal with compared to others.

From HIPAA and GDPR to good faith attorney-client privilege, you rightly have more obligations. Make sure you’re familiar with the regulations that apply to your firm around data protection and ensure that the backup and recovery solutions you employ are in compliance.

That means encrypting your data and implementing secure access controls.

In a recent study it was found that 80% of all hacking incidents involved compromised credentials or passwords – and a shockingly small percentage of those were using any kind of multi-factor authentication.

What’s even scarier is that one-third of all small businesses with 50 or fewer employees still rely on free, consumer-grade cybersecurity solutions for their data backup and protection.

But as a legal professional you know consumer-grade just isn’t worth the risk, right?

Get a solution that is compliant for your industry as soon as possible.

Choosing the Right Solution

Okay, so you’re convinced – for a responsible legal professional like yourself, data backup and recovery are non-negotiable.

But where do you start? Well, first things first: do your research.

Not all backup solutions are created equal (remember what we said about consumer-grade), so take the time to find one that fits your firm’s needs. DON’T shop on price either, take it from us, you get what you pay for.

And don’t forget to test it out – you don’t want any surprises when it’s time to rock and roll.

At Rapid IT we recommend a cloud backup solution or a hybrid model with some regular external-drive backups, but ultimately, your chosen solution comes down to personal and professional circumstance. Just make sure whatever you choose is reliable, secure, and easy to use.

Relax Lawyer

Closing Thoughts

Alright, folks, we’ll wrap it up there.

The bottom line? Don’t wait until it’s too late to start thinking about data backup and recovery – you’ll thank yourself later. So, bite the bullet, invest in a solid solution, and sleep a little easier knowing your data is safe and sound.

And if you would ever like to talk about some recommended solutions or just to outsource all your backup and recover processes to a professional IT services company, you know where to find us. We’re local to you, helping the legal professionals of Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton manage their IT needs everyday.

Happy backing up!