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Law firm adopts smart storage

Karl Flinders

Law firm Sackers and Partners is using automated storage tiering to reduce costs and time taken to manage systems storing an ever increasing amount of data.

Using a Dell Compellent system, Sackers is automatically storing data on low cost discs when appropriate to save money. In the past, all the discs used would be the most expensive ones and all data would reside on them. It previously used Dot Hill and FalconStor.

The nature of the legal profession means that documents created must be kept safe. But stored data has different levels of importance in terms of accessibility. Many of them will rarely be accessed, while other are required more regularly.

Heavy storage requirements

At the same time, the amount of data being stored is increasing at the firm. For example, Sackers had a million documents in January 2010 and two million by July 2012. In total, the company has 740Gb on the document server, 1.5 million emails and half a million word documents.

Sackers, which specialises in the pensions sector, has about 60 lawyers out of a total UK workforce of 100.

The system is backed up at the company’s service provider Atlanta and it has another level of support from Dell through a service known as Co-pilot, which monitors and reports in real time.

Danny O’Connor, ICT manager at Sackers, says when the company moved into its new offices in 2010 its SAN was end-of-life

He said there are lots of documents that are used heavily for short periods, but then must be stored and secured and easily accessible if required.

“Most of our documents get created, worked on for a couple of months and then, when the matter is dealt with, stored.”

Danny O’Connor said the company spends about £400,000 a year on IT and only has three in-house IT staff. 

Reducing helpdesk calls

It required a system that could be supported remotely by suppliers and would reduce things like helpdesk calls. Calls for support have fallen by 75%.

The storage system has been critical for the firm’s IT plans. 

For instance, it recently set up a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programme, which has seen lawyers take up iPads. 

Lawyers need access to documents quickly when they are at client meetings. Sackers is using software from Airwatch to manage the scheme.

It is also critical from a compliance standpoint. 

Sackers is going through its Lexcell accreditation. This looks at the whole business and includes an IT perspective. “We have to show we have change management, keep records up to date and generally have transparency,” said O'Connor.


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