SOURCE: LockPath, Inc.


June 04, 2015 00:00 ET

Business Continuity Planning for Law Firms

OVERLAND PARK, KS--(Marketwired - June 04, 2015) - Disaster can strike at any moment. When it does, can your law firm continue serving your clients?

According to the "ESG Research Review Data Protection Survey" from Enterprise Strategy Group, 53 percent of organizations can tolerate less than an hour of downtime before experiencing significant revenue loss or other adverse business impact. Of those that experience a significant business interruption, 30 percent never actually recover.

How should our firm prepare for disaster?
The idea behind a business continuity plan is to ensure your essential business functions remain available should disaster strike. Another way to think of a business continuity plan is, "If we lost this building, how would we restart our business?" This forces a law firm to consider many factors in their business structure. Every business continuity plan needs to address four things:

  • Disruption in the workplace
  • Reduction in the workforce
  • Interruption of IT services
  • Stoppages from your 3rd-party product and service vendors

What are the costs of failing to be prepared?
How much downtime can your firm -- and your clients -- tolerate? Answering this question is known as conducting a Business Impact Analysis (BIA). BIAs allow you to find out just how much your firm can lose from being shut down for an hour, a full day or even a week.

One of the key functions of a BIA is prioritizing the recovery function of multiple business components to prevent significant revenue loss. What part of your firm's business needs to return to normal first to allow other parts to function?

Keeping your law firm up and running is one thing, but more importantly you need to consider your clients. Their needs will continue regardless of whether you can meet them. Clients might start to lose faith in your firm and decide that their business is better spent elsewhere. Lawyers have special obligations to their clients. Former ABA President Steve Zack notes: "They must represent the client competently and diligently, safeguard client's property, and maintain client confidentiality and communications. These obligations are neither excused nor waived following a disaster."

How can our firm prevent total disaster?
There are many recommended best practices for law firms to try. First, consider using the cloud. Too many law firms fear the cloud and think their information isn't safe. However, files stored in the cloud are actually more secure. This also allows you to house your servers in a region that isn't as prone to natural disasters where it has cloud security professionals safeguarding it. And in the case of an emergency, employees will have all of their work backed up which leads to little or no downtime for work.

Another step you can take to reduce the period of chaos from the moment of disaster is having a well trained staff. LockPath's Keylight solution for policy management not only automates the process of sending policies out to employees for awareness, but also allows for assessments to ensure comprehension of said policies. When it comes to cybersecurity, time is important. The faster you are able to put a stop to a potential data breach can save the firm a lot of downtime and restoration time.

Don't forget to have a disaster recovery plan. Many organizations can confuse a business continuity plan and a disaster recovery plan. A disaster recovery plan is a very important piece to the overall business continuity plan. An easy way to think about this is, "If we lost our IT services, how would we recover them?" This is crucial to the overall security of firm and confidential client information.

Lastly, one of the most overlooked aspects of business continuity planning is testing restores. Just having confirmation that a backup completed successfully doesn't mean that a backup can be restored. You need to periodically test your backups of mission-critical servers. A business continuity plan is useless if the technology you're relying on is faulty.

Once you really start to think about possible money loss, business continuity plans actually start to look cost effective. Having a business continuity plan in place reduces your data loss and effectively restores applications and operations. It allows your company to continue to function while keeping data protection a top priority.

About LockPath
LockPath is a market leader in corporate governance, risk management, regulatory compliance (GRC) and information security (InfoSec) software. The company's flexible, scalable and fully integrated suite of applications is used by organizations to automate business processes, reduce enterprise risk and demonstrate regulatory compliance to achieve audit-ready status. LockPath serves a client base of global organizations ranging from small and midsize companies to Fortune 10 enterprises in more than 15 industries. The company is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas.

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