When it comes to safeguarding your firm’s sensitive information, here are three important rules: (1) Back up your data, (2) Back up your data, and (3) Back up your data.
Sadly, many lawyers don’t get the message until it’s too late.
“A cybersecurity breach occurs, on average, every 39 seconds,” writes Sean Peek in this US Chamber of Commerce article. “Additionally, the United States experiences the most data breaches out of any other country. In 2017 alone, cybercrime cost small and medium-sized businesses more than $2.2 million.”
Law firms – especially solos and small firms that lack robust IT resources – are prime targets for hackers. Those that fail to properly back up their data are asking for trouble.
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Here is a three-step process for implementing a data backup program at your firm.
Step One: Know the “What, How and When” of Data Backup
- What data to back up. “Always back up any and all data you deem important and can’t afford to lose,” writes Peek. “It is better to back up too much data than not enough. You can always delete data at a later date once you are certain you no longer need it.”
- How to back up data. “Options for backing up include saving data locally, saving it in an online, cloud-based storage space, using an external hard drive or USB drive or even saving printed copies in a locked safe. A simple way to back up data is to first save it locally, on one specific drive on your computer. Drag important files into that drive, and then also drag that entire drive onto a network drive or cloud.”
- How often to run backups. “Making a habit out of data backup is key. Backing up business data regularly — perhaps daily or weekly — is safest. Be sure to have a routine that you and everyone in your organization follows.”
Step Two: Cloud Backup or Local Backup?
“Cloud backup is becoming the preferred method because it is cheaper to maintain and it is accessible from anywhere, despite its security risks. However, local backup can be a valuable supplement in case your cloud provider gets hacked or goes down. There are risks with both methods. One of the most common security risks of cloud backup being potentially having your account compromised and your information stolen by hackers. With hard drives and USBs, the device can be stolen or misplaced; and, with local backup, if the files were saved in a folder that isn’t part of a shared network, they can be lost if the computer itself malfunctions or breaks. Always back up any and all data you deem important and can’t afford to lose.”
Step Three: How to Choose a Backup Solution?
“When shopping for cloud storage, determine which service is best for your business by asking yourself these three questions:
- Am I going to be locked in? You do not want to go with a vendor who will lock you into a contract in the event that you are no longer happy with service or are not being easily able to transfer your data elsewhere.
- How much will this cost? Make sure the service can be scaled as your business grows. Calculate the range of fees for more storage if needed.
- How can I make this system secure? Security should be at the forefront of your data backup needs. Determine who at your company will have access and which levels of access can be attained. Using a cloud storage company that has a proven track record of quality security is key.”
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