7 Technology Mistakes Law Firms Make

In the legal world, we live on deadlines. In our rush to accomplish those goals for our clients, we sometimes take shortcuts. Here are a few shortcuts, especially in technology, that can cost you in the long run and ultimately hurt your practice.

  1. Poor Software Licensing Practices
  2. Software licensing usually comes in two ways – per site and per seat. Per site means that you are permitted to install your software on all machines in your firm. Per seat means that you are only allowed to install your software on the number of users purchased from the software company. A hybrid model allows for a certain number of licenses with each business software package purchased. Unfortunately, some firms have received harsh monetary penalties for violating licensing agreements by installing multiple copies when the licenses provided for a single user. It is important to review your End User Licensing Agreement to make sure you are compliant.

  3. Hardware
  4. Buying hardware is much like buying a car. It is best to put your dollars in power and speed. By focusing on processor speed, RAM and hard drive space, you will have equipment that runs efficiently and handle updates without slowing down your network. Unsure about how to spec or size your PC, a reputable managed service provider like Optimum Networking can help.

  5. Not Embracing Cloud-Based Solutions
  6. There are many cloud-based solutions for law firms. For litigation, there are programs for e-discovery and practice management. For corporate and transactional practices, there are programs for document assembly and collaboration. By utilizing cloud-based programs, law firms can reduce or even eliminate the expenses associated with file servers. Before selecting a cloud-based solution, make sure the software company provides SSL and/or AES encryption for your data. They should also provide backup services for your cloud-based data.

  7. Faulty Email Security Policies
  8. Most law firms put disclaimers on email to protect clients, however, they fail to have basic policies to protect against threats such as email viruses and malware. There are great solutions to secure email and protect against phishing scams and other online threats.

  9. Not Implementing Cybersecurity
  10. In today’s world, law firms can be targets of hackers and ransomware. To help reduce your risk, use cloud-based technology for data storage that provides encryption. Make sure your IT support company provides managed network security service as well. You can also implement password security policies in your office. Recently, a large law firm was down for over a week because they were victims of ransomware. Believe it or not, most data breaches are caused by human error such as having a password written on a piece of paper or not locking a workstation when away from your desk.

  11. Not Utilizing Website Security
  12. Unfortunately, websites are not immune to exploitation. There are a couple of easy ways to keep your website safe – investing in website security or monitoring software and installing website updates. Hackers often exploit a vulnerability that could have been corrected with the latest update. You will want to check with your IT person to verify the correct updates are installed.

  13. Not Seeking Professional IT Help
  14. When your network goes down, who do you call? By building a relationship with an IT managed services company, you can focus on helping your clients while your IT managed service provider helps you. It will save you time and money and allow you to focus on your client, not technology woes.

Gina Ventola is the Practice Manager for Ventola Law. She has worked in the legal technology field for over twenty years and was previously the Technology Services Manager for an international law firm.

Do You Have The Right Safety Net For Ransomware?

As a Denver IT services company, we consistently get calls asking for more information about the latest ransomware attack. Some of these calls are from business owners who are seeking relief from an attack that has already occurred.

A Ransomware Attack Can Decimate Your Business

A recent ransomware attack was “Wanna Cry” which infected over 230,000 computers worldwide in 24 hours. There are multiple layers of protection that firms can implement to ward off this type of attack (and others). The sad truth is many small businesses aren’t prepared, and they get attacked by these ransomware viruses. When a ransomware attack happens, it can lock all your files and your entire business can be held hostage.

So what can you do if you are hit by ransomware? The truth is, if you are hit by Wanna Cry or another ransomware attack, your options are going to be limited.

Do You Pay The Ransom?

Paying the ransom demanded is often expensive AND there is absolutely NO guarantee that your data will be recoverable. After all, you are making a deal with a criminal. Even if you do recover the data, it may not be usable.

Ransomware and System Damage

Data recovery is just the tip of the iceberg. These kinds of malicious attacks can create system damage as well. There are literally thousands of processes that must operate perfectly for your applications to run properly. Most Denver IT Services companies will advise you to completely wipe all your systems, including your servers. This means deleting everything, even the operating system, down to the “bare metal.” Ouch.

The Real Safety Net Against Ransomware Is Data & System Backups

If your data is backed up and is accessible, you are only partially safe. The data can be reloaded onto your network, but, if you haven’t backed up your applications and your operating system image(s), someone must rebuild your servers from the ground up. The cost to do that will vary widely depending upon your environment, but rebuilding servers can easily cost thousands of dollars. And that doesn’t include the cost of your business being down during the process.

Are Your Data and Systems Protected?

If wiping down to the bare metal scares you, then you probably haven’t protected both data and systems. In the event of a ransomware attack, your backup systems and processes can save your business. Or not. If they aren’t in place or they are running incorrectly, it can cause your business to fail miserably. (Don’t wait till you are held hostage to learn if your backups are being handled properly. Call a Denver IT Services company sooner rather than later.)

The Advantages of Image-Based Backup

Image-based or “bare metal” backup replicates everything– files, operating systems, applications, and configurations. With this solution, your entire computing environment can be restored in hours versus days. The cost of restoring from an image-based backup is a fraction of the cost of rebuilding servers from the ground up and re-imaging your workstations

The Right Backup Solution

With the right Denver IT Services company, backups can be automated, managed, and affordable for SMB’s. With the correct solution in place, which includes data and system backup, you can be assured that your critical information and applications are safe.

Are you unsure of your business’ ability to survive a ransomware attack? Optimum Networking can assess your environment and make recommendations aligned with your specific business operations. Contact us to discuss your data security.