Login | February 21, 2020

Five steps to a disaster recovery plan

Legal News Reporter

Published: August 30, 2019

There are two major disasters that can negatively impact a law office’s data. The first is a data breach, corruption, ransomware, or other electronic-based disruption of the data itself. The other is the actual, physical loss of data through the loss of the computers the data is stored on through flood, hurricane, fire or other disaster.

It is the latter that will be the focus of this week’s column—planning for data recovery after a physical disaster.

I think I wrote about creating a disaster recovery plan (DRP) a number of years ago, but it’s always good to have a refresher of the rules of something this important. Also, following these steps is a best business practice even if you never have the misfortune of such a disaster.

So, thanks to Tom Merritt over at TechRepublic, here are five steps to disaster recovery.

One. Decide what data you can lose. This will force you to perform a data inventory, in which you will discover what you’re actually storing, and so you can decide what you will or won’t need to recover. In the long run, this will save money.

Two. Think about offsite backup. Something less than half of law businesses have moved to the cloud. Probably you haven’t, but even if you have, you’ll still retain lots of data in the office. Look at your budget and see if you can afford an offsite, air gapped data storage facility. If you can, do it.

Three. Have a plan for mobile devices. From laptops to smartphones, a fire can wipe out a lot of personal and firm devices. They have to have their own separate part of the plan.

Four. Get everybody on board with the DRP. You need buy-in from all parties—you can’t have someone not plug a laptop of phone into the plan. Get people to handle some of their own backups to make them feel empowered in the plan.

Lastly. Keep track of the physical location of your data centers. If you contract your storage out, those centers can move. Check your data storage contract, and insist on receiving notice of those locations.