TECH GUIDE - Data Backup for Lawyers
By Cloud Direct • 28 May 2014
Data Protection in the Legal Industry
Case notes, diaries, address books and account are all pieces of data crucial for the effective running of a law practice. They are the life-blood of the firm and give them a professional advantage, whether it's in providing exceptional service or improving the ability to deliver compelling cases.
In recent times, technology has changed the way a law practice uses data. Legal accounts, practice management and case management software (CMS) has improved the efficiently of legal organisations the world over. These applications help synthesize the use of data and provide a central hub for the storage of valuable information. With the significant benefits that they have brought, it’s hard to imagine how firms got by before.
Understanding the importance of data for all lawyers, you would assume that most go through great lengths to protect it. However, a large portion of UK-based law practices still fail to implement and maintain a reliable data protection plan. Many still rely on legacy tape-based backup systems or data-stick backup, both of which leave massive holes in security, and leave their most critical asset vulnerable to loss, corruption and exposure everyday.
The laptop has become a critical piece of hardware for many a solicitor or barrister. It is taken everywhere and new information is added constantly. But surprisingly, many still fail to reliably back it up. Many will find it painful to imagine what would happen if their prized possession were terminally damaged in an incident of carelessness or stolen by an opportunistic thief, but clearly not painful enough to take some kind of preventative action. A stolen or damaged laptop can result in the loss of information that could have taken months to acquire, not to mention the embarrassment of potentially exposing sensitive client data.
The process of backup is often forgotten not out of careless negligence but because of pressures elsewhere. Legal professionals are always working against the clock and as a result, routine tasks such as backup and encryption find themselves at the bottom of a long list of priorities.
To help lawyers tackle the problem of backup and security, Cloud Direct has introduced a solution set specifically for lawyers. Online Backup and Data Control for Lawyers is a complete data protection solution that puts legal professionals back in control of their laptop’s data protection with minimum effort required. All the solution requires is the installation of a small piece of software onto the computer needing protection.
Online backup is a solution that allows users to automatically backup a computer’s entire hard-drive, specific folders or databases. Through a very easy-to-use interface, a person can schedule their software for when they’d like backups to take place on a regular basis. The software will recognise the specific file areas selected and then reliably backup them up during the time set automatically.
When a backup is performed, the data selected is automatically encrypted to 128-bit AES encryption standards and then transferred over a secure internet connection to a military-grade protected data centre in the UK. Once it arrives at this data centre it is then mirrored to a secondary data centre in Belgium for full failover capacity. The ongoing, secure and encrypted storage of data means users never have to worry about the process of backup ever again.
Another feature which helps control the outside exposure of sensitive data on mobile devices is Data Control. Data Control is managed by another easy-to-use software interface, where automatic rules are defined and set for the destruction of data contained on devices that have been stolen or lost. For example, were a laptop stolen from the backseat of a car, a user can tell that computer to start shredding its hard-drive the next time somebody tries to break through a username/password screen or logs that machine onto the internet.
This process of control is managed in one of two ways. The first way to control the data exposure is via an online control panel, accessible through any standard web browser in the world. The user can talk to the laptop remotely through this control panel and push out ‘data destruction’ rules. The second way to control data exposure is by setting the service up with ‘pre-defined’ rules. This is where the machines can sense irregular or suspicious usage and automatically start to delete information held on the hard-drive.
To negate the risk of a thief simply removing a hard-drive, Data Control can also be programmed to encrypt the entire disk drive. This means that data can only be viewed on the host machine with the installed encryption keys otherwise it is scrambled and rendered useless. With Online Backup and Data Control dove tailing together, no matter what has happened to a device there will always be a recent backup copy of data and not even a single file will be exposed.
The Office Server Backup
Case Management Software (CMS) has been adopted by many law firms all across the country. These databases contribute directly the effective day-to-day running of the practice and yet with the critical nature of these applications, too many organisations still use legacy magnetic tape systems to back them up.
While many companies have used magnetic tape drives since the early 1980s, they are still notoriously unreliable. Research statistics show that tape backup drives have only a 60% recovery success rate and the unencrypted nature of backup tapes make them significant security risks. Time after time, tape backup systems fail and have to be replaced because of hardware faults. More money has to be spent on replacement equipment meaning continual capital expenditure. On top of this, many firms also fail to keep offsite copies their data because it can be resource draining and expensive.
To overcome the awkwardness and unreliability of tape backup, Cloud Direct have developed an Online Backup solution that seamlessly integrates with and then automatically backs up all major legal database software. It could be Exchange, Sage or a bespoke CMS system, Cloud Direct’s service will efficiently backup all critical application data continuously throughout the day – providing restore points as often as every 15 minutes.
The system works by taking frequent snapshots of data and then securely transferring that information over the internet for storage in military-grade data centres. Here it resides fully encrypted and managed by Cloud Direct IT technicians ready to invoke a recovery when needed. For example, should a particular file corrupt or be accidentally deleted at 10.34am on a Monday morning, Cloud Direct can restore that specific data file in the exact state it looked like at 10.30am within minutes. And because all server data is backed up and stored offsite, no matter what should happen to the server or the premises, there will always be recent copies of server data ready for recovery on demand.
The demands of the legal industry often mean long days and sometimes long nights. Quite frequently, barristers work until the early hours of the morning putting together last minute preparations before presenting the next day. To support this need, Cloud Direct include a 24/7 Support Team service. Whether a single file needs to be recovered from a laptop at 2am or a complete server recovery is needed at 7.30am, Cloud Direct are ready and waiting – offering complete peace-of-mind.
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