Downtime Lifeline: One Law Firm’s Battle with Outdated Tech

IT Client Success Story

When companies, non-profits, or entire city governments find themselves victims of cyber crime, it can feel like they’re frozen as the world moves on around them. This feeling, to a lesser degree, might also come as you’re sitting in front of your office computer every morning, twiddling your thumbs waiting for it to boot up so you can finally start your work day.

Ransomware looms as one of the biggest business tech threats of 2019. Organizations of all sizes are finding themselves in the cross-hairs of cyber crime actors who seek high payouts from insurance agencies and panicked data hostages. Why are some companies so quick to pay off the ransom?

Too often it’s the fear of downtime, or money lost while hackers obstruct you from your data and your business’s day-to-day operations. However, while ransomware dominates the tech industry news, a much more common and avoidable cause of downtime significantly affects organizations without raising alarms—outdated technology. A minute lost every time you try to access a file or launch your internet browser adds up quickly over the course of days and weeks. These wasted (and often-unnoticed) minutes can mean thousands in lost revenue for your company.

Let’s explore the real-life implications of business downtime due to hardware and software that has long been ready to be replaced. Luke Bragg, Lead System Administrator at Anderson Technologies, witnessed this firsthand.

Efficient Until Obsolete

A St. Louis business law firm reached out to Anderson Technologies in 2018 for help. Their old server was dying. It hadn’t been patched or updated in over a year, leaving it vulnerable to ransomware and other cyber attacks.

“Security was a major concern,” Bragg says. Slow speeds and cyber vulnerabilities were starting to impact the firm’s daily operations. Days after contacting us for help, the firm’s aging server experienced a catastrophic system failure and died altogether: “The server completely failed, and we had to keep them functional on emergency hardware while we put a new server in place.” Thankfully, the failure wasn’t caused by ransomware or another cyber attack, but the law firm felt how close they came to experiencing futile downtime.

Read more about the effects of downtime on a business here!

Downtime can be detrimental to any business, but some may feel the effects more strongly than others. Law firms constantly collaborate with other businesses and clients, as well as government organizations and the judicial system. Timing can be what makes or breaks a potential account. “Every business is different in how much downtime they can tolerate,” Bragg explains.

“This is a law firm, so their workflow is very critical with very little room for outages.”

Tell Old Tech to R.I.P. (Replace Itself Promptly)

The crashed server was a wake-up call, and acted as a jumping-off point for replacing more of the firm’s outdated hardware. Their workstations and wireless network benefited from a sprucing up as well.

Aside from the obvious security breaches, law firms and all kinds of other organizations suffer from negative effects of downtime due to antiquated tech. Employee productivity suffers when hardware is sluggish or undependable. Similarly, websites that aren’t mobile-optimized or user-friendly could turn away potential clients and impact your company’s digital presence.

Law firms especially run ethical risks when using outdated technology. “Technological competence” is a modern addition to the American Bar Association’s Model Rule 1.1. The last thing a law firm wants is a law suit because negligent treatment of the devices they use every day caused harm to a client. A big part of the work Anderson Technologies did for this law firm involved maintaining uptime and strengthening security during the hardware upgrade.

“Law firms tend to have constant workflows that are time sensitive,” Bragg says. “The key to success is being extremely detailed and properly communicating every step with the client so that scheduled downtime for things like network upgrades or system replacements is properly planned and the client’s expectations are factored into the equation.”

Anderson Technologies is now focused on replacing the firm’s outdated Windows 7 machines before the January 14, 2020, end of life deadline. “No other major projects are on the horizon at this point,” Bragg says, and the firm can rest easy knowing their new server is secure.

Businesses in need of a top-notch attorney wouldn’t wait until the last minute to seek out critical legal advice.  Similarly, this St. Louis law firm discovered the value of employing knowledgeable and proactive IT experts well before the threat of downtime surfaced.

You don’t want to find yourself drowning in downtime because of outdated technology equipment. To find out if your business could use a tune up, contact Anderson Technologies today.