Dave Kinsey 2013-01-16 04:08:09
It’s common for law firms to have beautiful office space and for partners to spend time reviewing interior decorating and furniture. But if your technology is in the dark ages, what does that say about your law firm’s image? Here are some easy steps to improve productivity and improve your technology image: Organization: 1. Cluttered IT Closets – Keeping closets clean is important. 2. Technology Planning & Execution - Having a well thought-out, methodical plan to keep your systems up to date is the surest way to achieve the best results. The pace of technological advance is very rapid. The pace at which you adopt newer technology is a key factor in how successful you will be in managing your firm’s technology. The best approach is to make continual, small, conservative upgrades. In this manner, you will always have systems that are reasonably current. By making small and proven upgrades, these upgrades are fairly low risk. Additionally, you will spread your costs out over time. 3. Active Accounts for People No Longer with the Firm – Regularly review accounts that are active, but not logged in within the past 30 days. 4. Poor or Non-Existent License Records – Make sure you’re keeping track of software purchases. 5. “Swiss Cheese” Server Hard Drives – Server disk drives are often partitioned into multiple volumes, wasting space, and often causing problems if the C drive partition is too small. Simple planning and straight-forward design can avoid this. 6. Document Filing and Retrieval System – you cannot afford to waste time searching for files. As firms grow, there are limitations inherent in a shared file approach. Consider updating your firm’s document management system. Software: 7. Effective Malware Protection – With desktops systems, you should properly control the environment, and infection should be extremely rare. Laptops are more prone to infection than PCs, since people take them home. When one or more computers on your network become infected with malware, it can drastically affect productivity. 8. Old, Unsupported Software – It’s important to maintain current software versions to ensure proper functioning and vendor support. Office 2003 and Windows XP should be phased out if they haven’t been already. 9. Incompatible Software – It’s important to research compatibility before upgrades. For example, if you’re upgrading to Exchange 2010, ensure that you’re on Office 2007 or Office 2010 first. Upgrading to Exchange 2010 with Office 2003 creates problems. 10. In-House Anti-Spam – All internet email is inherently “in the cloud”. If you’re not stopping spam before it enters your network, this should be fixed. Hardware: 11. Old PCs, too little RAM – With decent hardware, a PC should last 3-5 years. 5+ year old systems with 1 GB of RAM or less will achieve particularly poor results. 12. “White Box” Systems – Major companies like Dell and HP stand behind their equipment. Don’t be saddled with “no name” boxes from “who knows where”. These are great for whoever sells you the equipment, since they are the only ones who may be able to get parts for it. The initial cost may possibly be lower, but long term costs will generally be much higher. 13. “Inexpensive” Printers – The cheapest printers generally have the highest toner/ink costs. 14. Out of Warranty Servers – When it comes to my personal purchases, I typically forgo extended warranty. When it comes to servers, it’s a different story. Any server hardware issue must be responded to extremely efficiently. Even with failover servers, it’s still not worth the risk working with the server manufacturer to overnight replacement parts (and hope they are the right parts) in the case of primary server failure. When a server under warranty fails, you call the manufacturer who sends someone on site quickly with the correct parts. If you have any questions about any of these items or if you you’d like a “sanity check” on anything you’re doing, just email me at email@example.com
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