What are the Considerations?
You will likely have a combination of digital and paper files and material in your practice. Aside from these records and files, your practice will also have equipment such as computers, storage media, and other tools that can be harmed by catastrophic events. Hazards such as fire, flooding, theft or careless disposal of material can be equally devastating to on-site computers as they can to on-site paper files. Also consider that any computer connected to the Internet is susceptible to viruses, hackers, spyware, and other malicious agencies.
Take the time to think about how you will be able to continue providing legal services if something happens to you or to your place of business. Are you equipped to work from your home? Are your staff members capable of working from home for a period of time? What would you do if your computer system were rendered inoperative for a period of time?
Consider the following:
Whether your practice requires connecting computers to a centralized server (client/server storage and retrieval of electronic files, use of centralized applications, etc.).
What type of hardware and software is required, such as accounting and case management software, and what type of training is necessary for you and your staff to effectively use the software.
What data file protection for backup and disaster recovery is, or should be, in place.
Whether you have access to reliable technical support.
Network security. It is essential to consider both the physical security of the computers and equipment in your office, as well as the security from the risks inherent in connecting to the Internet.
You must develop practical solutions to minimize the loss of equipment or data (e.g., installing sprinkler systems where appropriate, using fireproof cabinets, burglar alarms, firewalls and antivirus software, etc.) and develop methods to recover from that loss, like storing copies of critical information and backing up digital information off-site. Keep in mind that some safeguards may pose their own risks. For example, a sprinkler system might stop a fire but will also damage paper files and computers.