Disasters happen. Of course, everyone likes to think that they only happen to other people, but it is very unlikely that your law firm is going to avoid them all. Software issues, hardware problems, office fires, natural disasters like floods and hurricanes… sooner or later everyone suffers from some sort of disaster situation.
Large or small, a disaster can wreak havoc on your business. Beyond the expense of physical repairs, there are also less obvious difficulties that occur. Downtime can stretch beyond the initial incident as you work to get systems back online and recover access to vital data. You might find that the reputation of your firm has taken a PR hit if sensitive data or materials were lost or exposed. You may even lose clients if people can’t reach you because your systems are down.
One of the most important steps you can take to mitigate disaster-caused downtime is having a strong I.T. disaster recovery plan in place. While it is possible to create one yourself, partnering with an I.T. firm that specializes in outsourced I.T. services will save you time and result in a more thorough, effective plan. Having an experienced I.T. provider in your corner will protect you before and during the disaster, and will help you get all the pieces together afterward. Thus, you can be sure that you’ll be on track to a fast recovery when a disaster happens.
You can’t afford to run your law firm without a disaster recovery plan. At the expense of stating the obvious, disasters strike without warning—or with very little warning. You cannot wait until one occurs, or you hear the alarm, to decide how you will protect your law business. Here are five very specific reasons why a disaster recovery plan is a vital investment into the future of your firm.
You Can’t Afford to Go Offline
In today’s world, being offline basically means you don’t exist. New clients find you through your website and social media accounts. People don’t use the yellow pages anymore; they do web searches. And if they click on a link that goes nowhere, they don’t come back later. They simply move onto the next one—on to your competition.
Likewise, your current clients expect you to be available when they need you. If a client has an urgent matter that needs to be attended to, they will hardly be content to wait for you to get your servers back online and access their file. If you “disappear” by going offline, they disappear too.
In today’s competitive market, customer retention is enormously difficult. It takes an investment of time, resources, and hard work to acquire a customer, let alone keep that customer. Re-acquiring a customer after they’ve moved on? Even more expensive. Once you’ve lost reputation in someone’s eyes, it requires a lot of hard work and time to gain their trust again. Can you afford that? In an industry where word-of-mouth recommendations matter very much, happy clients equal long-term stability.
Nature Does not Care About Your Law Firm
Floods, fires, hurricanes, and other natural disaster incidents are on the rise in North America. Many tech-averse lawyers have lost a good chunk of their business due to the ravages of Mother Nature. While the unprepared are wondering what hit them and how to get back on track, those who had the foresight to develop a disaster recovery plan are returning to business, available to serve the clients who couldn’t wait for their old firm to put the pieces back together.
Humans Make Mistakes
Starting a fire in the office because the old coffee pot was left on over a long weekend, accidentally spilling Red Bull on hardware, opening a phishing email—you name it; people’s mistakes invite disasters in law firms all the time. In a study conducted by I.T. companies, it was discovered that human error caused 48% of unexpected downtime. The key word here is error. More often than not, these are mistakes made by otherwise reliable, careful humans. Have a disaster recovery plan in place and get yourself a little peace of mind. Think about it as insurance from human behavior!
Machines Wear Down, Wear Out, and Break
Even the most high quality technology is not everlasting. You may invest in the world’s best hardware, software, and equipment but even the best can run into a glitch—or flat out die unexpectedly and unavoidably. An ongoing network maintenance plan from a reliable I.T. managed service provider can detect most hardware and software troubles before they occur. Nevertheless, things still go wrong without warning.
Smart lawyers will have their data backed up regularly. Very smart lawyers will always have a disaster recovery plan in place.
It Will Save You Money, and Make You Money
By developing a good disaster recovery plan, you minimize the risk of losing clients. Like any other business, your law firm is vulnerable to disasters. You can’t avoid them, but you can do a lot to prevent long-term harm and loss. Often, a simple solution such as regular backup will save you huge amounts of trouble when a disaster occurs. Depending on the severity of the disaster, you may find yourself relying on other parts of your plan as you rebuild. Regardless, a well-designed disaster recovery plan will save you money by getting your operations back quickly and efficiently. You won’t lose business opportunities while you scramble to decide, under pressure, how to put your practice back together. All you’ll need to do is simply contact your I.T. provider, and they’ll help you put your recovery plan into play. In the long term, this type of efficiency will prove your reliability to your clients and help you build a reputation as a secure, trustworthy guardian of your clients’ needs. This is the type of reputation that forms the foundation of future growth for your firm.
If you are interested in exploring how you can put together a practical, thorough backup and disaster recovery plan for your law firm, contact us to learn more. JMARK has thirty years of experience helping law firms in every aspect of I.T. With offices in Springfield MO, Tulsa OK, and Fayetteville AR, and clients throughout the nation, JMARK can help your firm plan ahead and recover quickly.