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Backing Up Data for Solo Practitioners and Small Law Offices – Part 3 of 5

Backup Software: Why Use It?

Because you need to backup daily, doing it manually is too burdensome and risky. Every day you remember to backup is some minutes not used for productive work. Three minutes per day, 200 workdays per year, and you have wasted 10 hours per year. Moreover, you have to add the mental effort required over time taken from your practice.

However, most people will not remember to backup every day. The day you miss often is the day you really need. Over all of these years, the only time I did not back up daily was one Monday in 1996 when I was too busy to my fix troublesome tape drive right away. Two days later, I suffered my only data loss ever when my accounting program crashed. I restored everything from the last week’s backup and we spent two days manually re-entering over 150 bank transactions. I was lucky. You might lose a 30- page brief or evidence for case that you cannot recreate in time for court, or maybe not at all.

Backup Software

User-friendly backup software saves you time and aggravation as long as you are solo.

A dedicated program selects any specific data you want from any source and copies it on any schedule to any other storage device connected to your system: an internal or external hard drive, flash drive, online to a service or another computer, a data disk, a tape, etc. It makes a complete image of a disk, a full backup, or incremental backup on any schedule. Restore data of any date from anywhere to anywhere.

Backup software comes with most operating systems but generally is not as comprehensive and user-friendly as a dedicated program. My Mac friends tell me the OS backs up like a dream. The latest Windows OS claims to be able to restore back to a particular time and date. Windows is sold in so many configurations for so many machines that the only way to rely on this software is to test it thoroughly for all situations before you need it.

Many backups use external hard drives that come preloaded with generally usable backup software. If you are not using your OS or a dedicated backup program, you can download free "synchronization" software, which makes incremental backups. It can be set up so that it never deletes the old files. As of this writing, Microsoft provides free synchronization software. Go to Microsoft's site and search for "Sync Toy.” Despite the name, it is not a toy. The synchronization software can also help you synchronize between your desktop and notebook computers; though that is not the simple task it is with dedicated backup software.

If you employ a computer professional, he or she can set up a script that automatically backs up your computers as per a defined schedule. You must be trained to use this fully on your own.

Stay tuned - Part 4 will follow on Tuesday October 8, 2013.

Related Posts:

Backing Up Data for Solo Practitioners and Small Law Offices – Part 1 of 5

Backing Up Data for Solo Practitioners and Small Law Offices – Part 2 of 5

Backing Up Data for Solo Practitioners and Small Law Offices – Part 4 of 5

Backing Up Data for Solo Practitioners and Small Law Offices – Part 5 of 5

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Remy Luria first logged on to the DOD Internet and other remote computers from Cornell University in 1977, where he obtained his JD from the law school and was an editor on the Cornell International Law Journal. He studied international trade and tax law at the Europa Institute in The Netherlands before practicing law in New York City, New Jersey, and then Honolulu. He used three kinds of pre-DOS OS and computers without hard drives before getting an 8088 DOS PC. Mr. Luria has held many bar positions with the ABA, ABA-YLD, NYSBA, NJSBA, HSBA, CLLA, and ACA, was elected five times to the Nuuanu/Punchbowl Neighborhood Board, and has testified before the Hawaii State Legislature. He wrote the first Information Technology Chapter for the HSBA’s guide for lawyers opening their own office over 10 years ago and recently updated it. His areas of practice include international law, commercial law, bankruptcy, real estate, mortgages, and administrative law for foreign companies. He can be contacted at infotech@lurialaw.com.

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