If You’re in IT at a Law Firm, This is What Your Peers are Talking About
The CIO at a law firm has a great responsibility to the partners and the business. One of their primary tasks is to ensure that the lawyers have access to the critically important information they need to write briefs, motions, and close out cases — all the while maximizing billable hours. Standing in their way is the budget and capital expenses which come almost directly out of the partners’ pockets. Getting them to invest in IT is a challenge, to say the least.
One way to alleviate the burden of a capital expense is to move IT to an operational expense, which really means moving it to a cloud strategy. The words “cloud strategy” can immediately send any CIO into shock, thinking, “where do I start?” … “what’s the best first step?” … “will it break my budget?”
A very simple first step to cloud is disaster recovery (DR). Since most of the highly regulated industries (financial, healthcare, legal) ideally should have a strategy in place, DR to the cloud should alleviate any CIO fears. This assists the CIO in two ways:
- The elimination of the DR site
- Increasing the firm’s comfort level with cloud
Databarracks and Zerto spoke with some legal IT professionals and they had great insight into the key issues that should be reviewed with any potential cloud provider, including:
- How quickly can you respond to a security bug or breach? How quickly were you able to respond to the Heartbleed bug?
- If you want to leave the cloud provider, what is the exit strategy?
- What is their contingency plan if you need to failover and the cloud provider’s site is down?
If you decide to leverage a cloud provider for DRaaS, you still have your own production datacenter that you need to ensure is secure, especially since cyber attacks are dramatically increasing. According to Gartner, 32% of organizations have been affected — and 34% think they will be affected — by a cyber crime during the next two years and only 37% of organizations have a plan to respond to a cyber attack. You need to secure your own datacenter while ensuring your provider has an adequate response for recovery.
At Zerto, we happen to have a resident expert who actually worked in IT at a law firm (Joshua Stenhouse). Speaking from experience, Josh was kind enough to share what his top concerns…
- You need to minimize data loss. Recovery Point Objects (RPOs) in seconds are crucial. Work is billed by the hour so if the RPO is hours, you have lost the billable work of all of your lawyers for those hours, meaning you have lost significant fees.
- Recovery needs to be fast too. Recovery Time Objectives (RPOs) in minutes are required to minimize downtime because fee earners and the office back-end cost money. They can’t generate revenue if IT is unavailable.
- Multi-VM consistency is critical. Law firms have 10, 20, 50+ applications that all consist of multiple VMs. All of these applications drive the firm’s revenue. Examples include: CRM, document management, time recording, notation and billing.
- Agnosticism and simplicity are key as law firms are constantly evolving, merging and buying other firms. Being able to install ZVR in minutes and establish protection for both DR and migrations using a standard toolset is critical. Being agnostic also reduces the time to complete the merger, saving IT budget.
And saving money is the ultimate benefit for CIOs and partners alike.