Legal IT Backup Solutions

Legal IT Backup Solutions

Following on from my previous article on how Cohesity can help in legal IT and inspired by a similar article I read about the nightmares IT teams have within legal when asked for a file restore from backup!

Whilst supporting legal firms I have restored my fair share of files, folders, emails, databases and many more data types across varied solutions and media. The anxiety builds quickly as this is normally requested by a PA but you are fully aware there is a Partner/Solicitor behind the request that requires the restore like yesterday; normally as part of a matter they are working on. Nine times out of ten the file has been deleted by the someone involved in the matter but this conversation will never be discussed! This is also a no go area when explaining the time it will take to request and receive the tapes from store, catalogue them, find the file and restore it! This also doesn’t include if it was backed up on a previous retired tape drive or backup solution.

Then while you are requesting the tapes you get the dreaded call or email from the Partner asking for an update and then scheduled hourly updates until the data has been restored; no pressure!

Don’t get me wrong; I do understand the importance and the priority of the issue since it always involves an important matter. Most of the time, the data is restored within a day but this normally involves the entire department having to stop whatever they were working on, from projects to operational tasks, to focus on completing the restore. Multiply that by thirty to eighty requests or more per year, with different levels of importance and you start to understand why this is a big issue for many companies, not only legal. The other issue businesses now face is retention time of the data as legislation is extending this all the time meaning that your data needs to be stored in some cases up to seventeen years depending on the type of business and data type.

So how does Cohesity help in this situation?

Usually backup data is “dark data,” meaning we cannot search for the files directly on the backup system. This means we need to ensure that we know the date the data was backed up and on what backup solution or tape type it was stored on.

Let’s breakdown the different areas involved in the workflow to restore data:

  1. Where is the data stored? In what medium, Tape or Disk?
  2. Is it onsite or offsite? This will cause delays in restore time
  3. Do we have access to the media servers used to back it up?
  4. Are the backups encrypted? If so, do you know the password to de-encrypt the files.
  5. Is the tape damaged in anyway whilst being stored?
  6. Is the data split across multiple tapes?

All these are issues faced by legacy data protection solutions.

So what makes Cohesity stand out from the crowd?

Everything that is stored on Cohesity is indexed. This makes searching for the files and folders that need restoring simple. All I need to do is log into the web interface click on restore a file, folder or Virtual Machine plus many more options. I can even use wildcard searches as these are supported. Even if the file is not on premise and has been moved via a policy to a remote Data Centre or cloud spill. The file you are searching for will be automatically located with time stamps for each version also being displayed. I can then restore immediately without needing to mount, search and catalogue tapes or request them from store. It is that simple and seamless and is no more than a three stage process.

Why did they put so much compute on their system?

Now that I know how Cohesity compresses, encrypts, indexes, and searches all the backups on a continuous basis, it makes a lot of sense to pull in so many computing resources to the backup. Basically; the Cohesity process is adding intelligence and shedding light on what was formerly considered "dark data."

I think there is a lot more that Cohesity can do to reshape IT for a law firm, specifically as it relates to e-discovery and litigation support. These departments build large compute clusters connected to fast primary storage, which in turn is backed up by a secondary storage with a multitude of software and hardware backup servers. These existing systems' primary function is to run discovery, indexing, content classification, search, and archiving. The Cohesity’s open architecture allows for all these functions to run on a single, yet scalable, platform without the need for all the complex hardware and software orchestration currently in use. It will be extremely interesting to see how the Cohesity platform grows and transforms these systems in a similar manner to the traditional backup and restore.

Join the revolution and check out Cohesity!

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