4 New Square Case Study

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The organisation.

4 New Square is a leading commercial and civil set of barristers serving a wide variety of clients including multi-national companies, insurers, government departments and private individuals.

The challenge.

With 72 independent practitioners including 20 Queen’s Counsel, 4 New Square is a busy chambers inn that needs constant and reliable access to critical IT systems to meet the needs of its clients and maintain its reputation for professionalism.

Staff use a wide range of applications including specialist case management tools, diary scheduling and email. Alongside these critical operational systems, as part of its best practice policy, 4 New Square also protects its data over a longer period than mandated by law with all information retained for a minimum of 7 years. To meet these stringent operational and data retention requirements, the chambers required an IT back up system with the storage capacity and disaster recovery technology to effectively restore all data in the event of any type of system fault or site disaster. With a challenging environment and a small IT department responsible for 120 desktops and laptops, 75 mobile devices and 6 application servers, the prospective business continuity systems needed to be extremely reliable with little manual intervention, while maintaining the highest levels of system and data protection. The system also needed to scale easily to match the growing volume of electronic documentation needed in modern legal cases.

The solution.

After evaluating the available options, in 2009 the chambers decided that Core DataSafe from Core DataCloud offered the level of protection best suited to its needs. The main reason for the choice was the multiple recovery options for individual files and entire servers that Core DataSafe offers either through a local appliance or via its off-site data centre, coupled with the ability to run a virtualised recovery server that seamlessly replicates a local physical server in the event of catastrophic hardware failure.

In order to deliver the solution, a Core DataSafe appliance at 4 New Square takes a snapshot of all new or changed data from six separate servers every 15 minutes. These snapshots are immediately verified, encrypted and sent to the Core DataSafe remote data centre, where they are stored on a market leading EMC Isilon storage platform optimised for backup and recovery. The Core DataSafe service provides custom data retention schedules for our customers. Quarter hour backups are aggregated into end of week/end of month snapshots which can be stored for years if necessary.

This multi-tiered approach eliminates a single point of failure and provides a variety of different ways that applications and critical data can be restored. A lost, deleted or corrupted file can be quickly recovered from the local appliance in a few minutes, whilst a more serious issue can be solved using backup data to rebuild the contents of an entire server with an exact replica based on any point in time over a seven year period.

This level of protection ensures business continuity and also satisfies wider audit requirements which 4 New Square deem as extremely beneficial in a complex legal environment.

In practice.

Core DataSafe has been needed on several occasions with its multi-tiered approach proving extremely effective in dealing with both minor and major issues. For example, after applying a critical update to a Microsoft Exchange server running at 4 New Square, the server failed to restart after the subsequent reboot. Using Core DataSafe, it was possible to identify the underlying cause, fix the problem over a weekend and restore all email data using the snapshot taken just prior to the initial server failure.

In another case, the chambers’ Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) crashed due to a hard disk failure. Using Core DataSafe, the IT department was able to run a virtualised BES server to keep its users up and running. With service disruption avoided, a replacement hard disk was rebuilt using an image from the Core DataSafe appliance and installed in under an hour.

Over the last few years, Core DataSafe has helped 4 New Square deliver continuous IT availability while allowing the chambers to live up to its reputation as a highly professional and trusted set of individuals.

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