Case Study: Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin

EVault’s EVault Software Saves the Day for Regional Law Firm

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In a law firm, digital content is the lifeblood of the organization. For each case, countless documents and emails exist and in most cases are meticulously filed according to matter so that they are accessible at the drop of a hat.

In order to ensure that this critical information is available quickly in the event of an outage or disaster, firms must have sophisticated redundancy plans in place in the form of IT design, hardware, software and processes. At Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin, a regional legal defense firm headquartered in Philadelphia with 19 offices and close to 1,000 employees, thoughtful planning, best-of-breed hardware and software products, and a well-prepared technical team allowed the firm to avert what could have been a true productivity crisis for two of its offices.

The Value of Planning

During the firm’s project planning phase, Director of IT Liz Brown, and Manager of Network Services, John Brooks, were savvy enough to invest significant time and budget to prepare for the unexpected. After investigating the market options for new data backup technology, the firm chose EVault Software, a disk-to-disk backup and disaster recovery product by EVault, A Seagate Company. The product was initially proposed by Adaptive Solutions, the firm’s go-to technology partner. The technical team architected a wide-ranging solution that would incorporate redundancy software, enterprise storage systems and critical processes for dealing with an outage or disaster.

Marshall Dennehey’s network engineers configured EVault agents on each server to backup files and SQL databases nightly, across the firm’s (19) offices. Using EVault’s source-side deduplication, the agent scans for and backs up only new and modified files from the previous backup. Those changes are then compressed and encrypted before sending the data to the main vault at the firm’s main headquarters. Then, as an added precaution, the aggregate data was also replicated to the firm’s suburban Philadelphia location using storage arrays and built-in replication technology. The design and software would prove to be critical components during the firm’s recovery of data due to a fire at one of it’s offices.

The Backup Plan in Motion

On a recent Sunday afternoon, Brown received word that a fire caused by two main electrical feeds had started in one of Marshall Dennehey’s two New York City offices. The firm’s office on the 19th floor had not been directly damaged, but because of the electrical origin of the fire, the building was locked down, and the firm was unable to enter the building to retrieve the office’s servers, which housed critical documents and SQL databases for both of its New York offices.

Marshall Dennehey’s IT team and firm leadership sprung into action. The goal was to use EVault Software to recover the New York server files and SQL databases to minimize any workflow interruptions for the attorneys and staff who would ordinarily report to the New York City offices.

Using the backup data collected by EVault Software, the team was able to restore data within an hour from the firm’s secondary vault in Philadelphia. A Marshall Dennehey developer quickly created a small SQL database that would allow the IT department to search for critical documents on an as-needed basis, (i.e., for an attorney or staff member who needed a particular file immediately), prior to complete accessibility to the data. This allowed the IT engineers to continue working on the recovery of data and other critical components, while attorneys and staff who were in need of a particular file could simply request the document, and the IT team was able to retrieve it from the SQL database within minutes.

By Monday afternoon, Brown and her IT squad were notified they were able to get into the New York office for the sole purpose of retrieving the firm’s servers. The servers were retrieved and deployed into the Philadelphia office, allowing New York employees to connect and work remotely with full access to their electronic workspaces and files.

Saving Money, Time, and Client Relations

Although two weeks would pass before the displaced New York attorneys and staff could get back into their space, the firm experienced no true work interruption and therefore no client dissatisfaction or decrease in productivity due to the fire. With the combined Marshall Dennehey- Adaptive Solutions IT design, data aggregated by the reliable EVault backup system, Dell hardware, and the firm’s quick-moving IT and leadership teams, the Marshall Dennehey disaster recovery system proved to be a smart investment, saving the firm untold amounts of time and money, and helping the firm maintain its first-rate client relationships.