Law firm

How to Create a Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Law Firm

Posted by Rob Stevenson, CEO and Founder of Legal futures Associate BackupVault

Stevenson: An invaluable preparation

In its 2020 cybersecurity review, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) found that 75% of law firms experienced a cyberattack. And in early August this year, the Law Society updated its guidance on cyber insurance, warning law firms that due to the amount of sensitive data they hold, they are vulnerable to cyberattacks. and to have to take steps to protect themselves.

But cyberattacks aren’t the only threat to law firm data. Incidents such as power outages, equipment failures, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters all pose a risk to business data and infrastructure.

Preventive measures, such as external backup, strong passwords and multi-factor authentication, as well as staff training, are of course essential, but it is also crucial for law firms to have plans in place. disaster recovery.

Should the worst happen, a disaster recovery (DR) plan will help minimize disruption and provide a roadmap for getting back to business as usual.

What is a disaster recovery plan?

A disaster recovery plan defines the specific procedures needed to restore your IT infrastructure and critical data, and resume operations after an incident. It should be one aspect of a larger business continuity plan, where business continuity (BC) refers to the whole process of getting your business back up and running.

How to build your disaster recovery plan

Perform a risk assessment. Document all the threats and causes of disaster you can think of and note how they might affect both your IT infrastructure and any cloud storage you have in place. You also need to assess how likely each threat is to affect you – and if there are measures you can put in place immediately, you should.

Make sure you have a robust data backup plan. Your company’s ability to recover from a disaster largely depends on the effectiveness of your data backups. Having regular encrypted backups, ideally to offsite cloud data centers, will help you determine two important features of your disaster recovery plan: recovery point objective and recovery time objective.

Recovery point objective refers to the amount of data you can afford to lose and will be dictated by the frequency of your backups.

For example, if you back up overnight, you will only be able to restore data from the last backup, which could mean losing an entire day’s work. You need to know if you can afford to lose that much data and if not, you need to arrange more frequent backups.

The recovery time objective refers to the time you can afford to spend on recovery. When designing, you’ll need to consider how much budget you have to restore applications and systems, how much an outage will cost per hour, and a system restore priority.

Identify a DR site. If a disaster forces you to move your operations to another site, you will need to ensure that all of your critical data is accessible from the new location.

A DR site can be ‘cold’, ‘warm’ or ‘hot’. A cold site is simply storage for computer systems and all physical backups, with no other data available until your disaster recovery plan is fully underway. A warm site gives you access to critical IT tools and systems, but not to your customer data.

A hot site is essentially a replica of your existing setup, complete with all the necessary hardware, software, and data that allows you to operate more or less normally. A hot site is more costly in terms of time and money, but the benefit of establishing a hot site is that it will significantly reduce your downtime.

When reviewing your DR site, this might be the time when you decide that working remotely or from home is the most practical and affordable course of action.

Document your disaster recovery plan. Write down all procedures, processes, deadlines, key contacts and their responsibilities in a document, and make sure the document is printed and stored safely away from your desk.

Test your disaster recovery plan. It’s essential that you know how well your plan is working before a real disaster strikes. You should therefore test it regularly, at least once a year. You may need to adjust your recovery point and recovery time objectives after testing, as the amount of data you process is likely to change from year to year.

It may seem like a lot of work and preparation, but it will be invaluable to your business. Think of it the same way as paying for insurance – you don’t need it every day, but those of you who have had to make a claim will no doubt have been grateful to have insurance to rely on. fall back.