With more and more documents and data being generated and preserved in digital form, law firms are under intense pressure to ensure the data they hold is secure and retrievable. The chances of legal firms using a paper trail to recover in the event of a complete loss of electronic data is slim to non-existent, making data retrieval and recovery core to their practice.

Slow backup, inflexible data recovery

Trade union and personal injury firm, Morrish Solicitors, is no exception. With four branches in Leeds, Bradford, Pudsey and Yeadon and a total staff approaching three figures, the firm’s existing tape backup system was struggling to keep pace with its data demands. The length of time for each backup to complete was too long and data recovery was proving to be a very inflexible process.

The firm’s IT infrastructure includes a number of virtualised servers, a database server, a file/print server and an email server. It had been using Symantec Backup Exec for ten years but was interested in looking at alternatives that could provide fast and secure backup with the flexibility to backup to multiple storage areas. After carefully evaluating a number of products, Morrish Solicitors opted for Acronis Backup & Recovery Online (ABR).

Flexible backup and recovery

IT Manager at Morrish Solicitors, Jaime Lockwood, explains: ”One attraction of the Acronis solution was the flexibility to backup to tape, disk or into the cloud, or multiples of those options as a standard feature. The product also addressed the issue of making backups faster and data easier to retrieve. The solid reputation of ABR was also seen as an advantage because the software had benefited from several years of development.”

Simple to use and install

Initially, Morrish Solicitors faced resistance from its support partner. So the firm organised a demonstration of a bare metal recovery. This involves backing up an entire system including its data, operating systems, applications, and all of its files. The demonstration restored an Acer server to a Dell PC across a LAN using Acronis, which impressed the support partner and altered his viewpoint to ultimately support the solutions implementation.

Illustrating the simplicity and ease of the product, Morrish Solicitors was able to install the software on its own (with support from Acronis throughout the process). After some basic configuration work and ‘fine tuning’ of the system, it was able to go live within hours.

Reduced backup and recovery window

In addition to being able to backup to tape, disk or into the cloud, Acronis has also vastly reduced Morrish Solicitors’ backup and recovery window and saved up to 30% of the time it used to take to perform backups. Instead of backing up to tapes, the firm can now easily backup documents to an internal network storage device and then replicate that data to a device at a selected branch office.

Flexible backup strategy

Lockwood said: “ Using ABR allows for varying degrees of retention. Remote site document backups can be kept for three months while daily backups are consolidated on a weekly basis and weekly backups are consolidated on a monthly basis. This helps maximise data storage and provides us with very fast data retrieval from local backups and redundancy at another office, which makes everything more efficient.”

The easy to use interface is another bonus for Morrish Solicitors, making it a simple matter of choosing a file, folder or email account and selecting the date to restore from.

In addition to its backup capabilities, Lockwood is also keen to emphasise the disaster recovery credentials of ABR, with system backups recovered across a network onto almost any server or PC. The aforementioned demonstration, using Acronis Universal Restore technology, with the firm’s service provider when it restored an Acer server running Windows 2003 across the network to a Dell PC took 10 minutes from the start of the restore to logging onto the restored machine.

Acronis’ disk imaging and bare-metal restore technology enables organisations able to restore an entire system without having to reinstall the operating system and applications.

Virtual or physical

Another benefit for those with access to a virtual server is the ability to instantly launch Acronis system backups as virtual servers with products like VMware. ABR gives organisations the ability to recover a physical server as a virtual server and vice versa. Recovery can take place with a simple click of a button, speeding up the recovery process and getting servers up and running as quickly as possible. The Acronis solution also provides cloud backup capabilities for organisations that do not have a second office to back up to.

Meets legal practice standard requirements

Morrish Solicitors adheres to Lexcel, the Law Society’s international practice management standard used to certify certain standards have been met by independent assessment, which is only awarded to solicitors that meet the highest management and customer care standards. Morrish Solicitors’ backup and recovery system has successfully passed external audits for the Lexcel legal quality standard with a demonstration of restoring files and using Acronis as part of its disaster recovery policy.

An easy solution to a growing problem

Lockwood concluded: “By choosing Acronis Backup & Recovery, we have been able to install a more flexible and faster backup and recovery solution that gives us greater confidence in our ability to retrieve and recover data.” He continued, “The solution is ideally suited to support Morrish at a time when legal firms are becoming more and more reliant on their data and eager to ensure it is safely backed up and easy to recover and restore. The deployment of Acronis has proved so successful that Morrish Solicitors’ support provider is now considering rolling out the product as a preferred solution to its client base.”

www.acronis.co.uk