So you’ve gone paperless and you have a filing system to help keep all your documents, invoices, statements, and client files organized. Awesome. But uh oh! Your computer crashed! Your only paper backups have spontaneously combusted! The new K9-unit robo dog ate your filings!
Oh man, that sucks. But thank goodness you have a paperless system, so you’ve backed up your files with ease. No stress. Let that robo dog have some cookies. If you don’t have a backup plan for your digital files, let’s go over a few ways you can easily create one that works for your practice.
Why You Should Backup Your Files Digitally
If you only keeps paper copies as backups to your files, stop. Storing paper files takes up space, and space costs money. You’ll have to pay rent on the space itself, pay utilities, pay for filing cabinets, insurance, pay staff for looking after the files, and subject yourself to loss by fire, flood, or paper mites. (Pro tip: if you’re easily grossed out, don’t Google the last one.)
Spending a couple hundred bucks once on a nice external drive is a lot cheaper than renting storage space by the month.
Backup Using the Cloud
Although there are privacy concerns with cloud computing, it’s an easy and convenient way to backup your files. backup your files. You may already be using a cloud service to backup your files if you’re using a service like Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, or OneDrive. Some software you use, like Rocket Matter, already have document storage and backup built into them too.
While all these cloud-based systems regularly back themselves up so you won’t be working with old data, sometimes it’s nice to have a copy of all your files securely stored on another cloud system, incase something catastrophic happens and all your data gets wiped on one system or the other. It’s easy enough to copy and paste your data from one cloud server to the other, though how long it will take will depend on how much data you have.
If you don’t want to manually backup your files yourself, there are services that will automatically backup your files every few days, like Carbonite, so you can focus on other things, like nursing your rancor back to health.
Backup Using an External Hard Drive
If backing up using the cloud doesn’t appeal to you, or you prefer to have as few third-parties with access to your data as possible, then backing up your data using an external hard drive is for you.
External hard drives are readily available all over the internet in all sizes and prices, with the faster, larger capacity ones going for more than your run-of-the-mill USB drive. Though for attorneys, it’s a better idea to invest in at least a 4TB drive. These generally run for about $100/drive and can hold about 2000 hours of video, so it should be a good start for your storage needs if you don’t want to have smaller, designated hard drives for certain years or matters.
Using an external hard drive for backup is not without its own risks. You could lose it (which would be a nightmare if you don’t have it password protected), it could be destroyed in a fire, flood, spontaneous combustion, or by robo dog, or wiped if you’re standing next to a large magnet in your spare time.
Hopefully, you’ll store an external drive in another secure location—which protects you from an office fire wiping out everything. You can also purchase fireproof external drives that claim to be just like aircraft black boxes. They cost more than a regular external drive, usually around $300, but they’re well worth the peace of mind.
Given how important your law firm’s data is, it’s best to use a combination of these backup options to keep your data safe. The most important part of a backup plan is to follow through with it.
Based on a previous post by Randall Ryder dated December 9, 2010.