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Within the last year, the state of Texas has experienced a heat dome, a polar vortex, a crushing drought, and Hurricane Hannah. The state has been declared a natural disaster multiple times in this twelve-month timeframe.
Due to the escalating impact of climate change, natural disasters are becoming bigger, more frequent, and inflicting more damage than ever before. And they’re no longer relegated to particular geographic areas; these devastating events are happening everywhere.
You may be saying to yourself, “our firm has insurance, we’re fine.”
Good. Odds are you may need it. However, although your insurance plan will compensate you for fire and flood damage, it can’t replace lost time, corrupted data, or worse, lost data.
Depending on the size of the company, a downtime event can cost between $10,000 and $5 million dollars per hour.
Consider this: As of 2020, one in five companies do not have a disaster recovery plan.1 Depending on the size of the company, a downtime event can cost between $10,000 and $5 million dollars per hour.1
Where is your firm on this scale?
No one knows what Mother Nature will throw at us and when. The best we can do is be as prepared as possible, which means creating a solid disaster recovery plan.
Effective disaster recovery planning involves asking key questions: What does your firm need to be safe, to survive, and to go forward post-emergency? We find that although many firms do this planning for their physical assets, they overlook their most precious commodity: their data.
There are many solutions to this issue. The best tactic we know? Hosting your data in the cloud.
Stepping beyond business basics
In July, Germany and Belgium experienced unprecedented flooding throughout their central regions. Cities like Dusseldorf and Luxembourg were flooded for days. Homes, businesses, churches, and basic infrastructure were destroyed.
As legal tech professionals and a cloud hosting provider, we can attest to the many benefits of using the cloud in “precedented” times:
- Accessibility: Cloud-based systems make it possible to access firm data anywhere, anytime.
- Reliability: Cloud hosting services include backups and redundancies to minimize downtime.
- Scalability: Using the cloud makes it easy to adjust user numbers upward or downward.
- Security: The cloud is now one of the most secure places to store your firm’s data.
These same benefits also make the cloud an indispensable component of disaster preparedness.
To recap, using the cloud involves moving your data from its on-premises servers to remote servers administered by a cloud hosting provider. You access your data via a secure portal specific to your business. Your hosting provider manages and maintains the remote servers and ensures you have optimal data flow.
In terms of disaster preparedness, the cloud is the optimal safeguard.
In terms of disaster preparedness, the cloud is the optimal safeguard. A layer of separation between your physical location and your data is the difference between surviving a natural disaster and being completely wiped out; your building may be destroyed, but the data you need to stay in business and the systems you need to serve your customers are left intact, accessible, and secure.
Mobility keeps you viable
Earlier this year, Hurricane Elsa pummeled Barbados, Jamaica and Cuba before landing in Florida – all five months before hurricane season officially opened. It brought days of sustained winds, flooding, building damage, and power outages.
More and more weather crises are involving evacuations and shelter-in-place orders. These precautions come without timelines. You may be displaced for a day, or, as we saw with the Covid pandemic, a year – or more!
Incorporating the cloud into your digital landscape allows your firm to go mobile quickly, easily, and with minimal ado. No matter what safety protocols dictate, your attorneys retain their ability to serve your clients and keep the firm going. You can still access core financial and practice management systems, like ProLaw. Time can be tracked, proformas edited, invoices generated. Business continuity is not at risk.
And what if the unthinkable happens? What if your location is uninhabitable post-emergency? The flood damage is too severe, a fire obliterated your town, a tornado whisked everything away. This mobility component makes relocating your firm feasible. Your data is safe, secure, and waiting for you. You simply tap back into it when you settle.
Lytton, British Columbia experienced record-breaking heat at the end of June 2021. It was decimated by a forest fire in July. Inhabitants had mere minutes to evacuate.
At the heart of all disaster recovery planning is data backup. However, if you’re using an on-premise system, your backup may be in as much risk as the rest of your property. Where is it stored? How often is it scheduled? Will the backup be affected by the same weather event as the rest of your assets?
This is where a well-chosen cloud hosting plan comes into play. Typically, cloud hosting agreements include regular backups which are distributed across servers in different geographical locations. This protocol ensures data is safe, secure and accessible if needed. It also protects against any damage the server location may experience.
A could-based system gives you an extra failsafe in terms of data protection.
So, although it’s good practice to back up your data in-house, a cloud-based system gives you an extra failsafe in terms of data protection; you have multiple backups.
Peace of mind
Peace of mind is the real benefit of having a solid disaster recovery plan. Cloud hosting gives your plan a solid foundation. However, this foundation’s integrity is determined by your hosting provider and your contract with them.
Here are a few hosting-related issues to consider and include when crafting your disaster recovery plan:
- Where are your cloud servers located?
- What weather events may they be exposed to?
- What are your hosting provider’s backup protocols?
- How will you alert your hosting provider of an emergency?
- Is there a reconnection protocol in place? Who are the primary people involved in making this happen?
Being unable to access data from your finance system under any circumstances should be treated as an intolerable risk. For example, if your firm is using ProLaw and does not have cloud hosting in place, a host of downstream crises emerge. If your attorneys can’t record their time, you can’t produce invoices, etc., how will your firm serve its customers and recover from the disaster?
By putting your systems in the cloud now, you create the priceless peace of mind that comes from knowing your core business systems will never be down – no matter what the scenario.
Discover Helm360’s ProLaw cloud hosting services
So how do you move to the cloud? The first step is choosing a hosting provider – and there a lot of them out there. We urge you to shop carefully.
We’ve used our ProLaw expertise and our knowledge of the legal sector to create a premier cloud hosting offering for ProLaw users. Here’s what distinguishes us from other hosting providers:
- Designated server space. Your virtual space is all yours.
- Advanced security. This includes multi-layered security measures and highly encrypted data.
- Easy onboarding. Our tested systems and protocols make moving to the cloud easy, hassle-free, and with minimal downtime.
- Award winning customer support. Our on-shore/off-shore delivery system means you have support 24/7 from a team skilled in ProLaw.
Providing stellar cloud hosting aligns with our mission to help law firms get the most from their legal tech. More importantly, we recognize the growing need for law firms to make this change in order to be protected.
The good news is that although natural disasters are newsworthy and highly disruptive, they make up only 5% of downtime events.1 At least so far. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare.
Luckily, creating a disaster recovery plan covers more than natural disasters. It positions your firm to weather utility outages, hardware failure, and other downtime events. Incorporating a cloud-based system makes your recovery from any of these events less costly, less time-consuming and far less disruptive to your business continuity.
Disaster recovery planning isn’t something that seems high priority in the moment. It’s easy to push it to the back burner. Please don’t! Put it on your calendar today. We strongly urge you to move to a cloud-based system and connect with your hosting provider to ensure recovery actions are clear, understood, and included in your plans. You’ve worked too hard to lose it all.
Want to know more about our ProLaw cloud hosting services? Contact us! We’re happy to answer questions and address your firm’s specific needs.