Littleton Case Study

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The organisation.

Littleton Chambers is a leading set of barristers’ chambers with specialisation in employment and commercial litigation. Based at Inner Temple in London, Littleton is ranked in the top tier for employment law and is highly ranked in commercial litigation, dispute resolution, civil fraud and several other areas of law.

The challenge.

Littleton moved to its current purpose-built premises in 1995 and has grown to 53 barristers in total including 11 QCs. Chambers holds the ISO 9001 accreditation and both its practising members and staff are dedicated to providing the best possible service to its professional and lay clients.

Over its 50 year history, Littleton has embraced technology with more instructions and case work handled using electronic and paperless systems. The staff use a wide range of applications including specialist case management tools, diary scheduling and billing software. Alongside these critical operational systems, Chambers also needs to protect and retain its data for a minimum of 6 years.

IT systems are business critical for Chambers that require accessibility both on site and remotely, 24 hours a day, which makes business continuity and data protection vital. Senior management, in consultation with Chambers IT Committee, considered that a system of ad-hoc backups using removable hard disks was becoming cumbersome to manage and difficult to validate. With an overarching goal to ensure that Chambers can survive both minor and major outages, senior managers began a program to make its IT infrastructure more robust and resilient.

The solution.

The first stage of the business continuity strategy was to upgrade its DSL based network to a 100Mb managed Ethernet Connection. This presented Chambers with the option of considering a true offsite data backup and recovery solution. After taking advice from an independent IT consultant, Chambers selected Core DataSafe from Core DataCloud as best suited to support its multi-server environment. DataSafe is a managed service that offers multiple recovery options for individual files and entire servers either through a local appliance or via its off-site data centre. In the event of a catastrophic server failure, Core DataCloud can run a remote virtualised recovery server that seamlessly replicates all local physical (or virtual) servers. This allows critical business applications to still be accessible even in the event of a failure within the local production server.

In order to deliver a fully resilient solution, a Core DataSafe appliance at Littleton 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.

In practice.

Core DataSafe was implemented with minimal effort and has worked without incident as a remotely managed service. On a number of occasions, staff have been called upon to successfully recover misplaced or accidentally deleted files using the appliance-based user interface.

“IT forms the essential spine of our Chambers and provides us with a platform from which to meet and service the needs of our members, clients and staff and from which to organically grow,” explains Felicity Schneider, Administration Director at Littleton Chambers, “DataSafe has provided us with a more robust system for protecting critical data and applications and as our number of IT systems grows, the system can expand as needed.”

Littleton is now planning to run a full scale disaster recovery test, which will include both systems and processes to ensure the business can recover from a range of potential problems from server failures to site evacuation. DataSafe is essential for many elements of this business continuity strategy by providing a multi-tiered approach that eliminates a single point of failure while offering several options for system recovery.

In the event of an accidental deletion or file corruptions, the local appliance can quickly restore files in a few minutes. More serious issues 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 assures business continuity and also satisfies wider audit requirements that are extremely beneficial in a complex legal environment, such as that in which Littleton Chambers operates.

Highlights:

  • Rapid deployment with transparent operation for users
  • Fully managed service to reduce local IT management
    requirements
  • Local file recovery
  • Secure offsite storage
  • Virtualised recovery of local production servers
    accessible from anywhere
  • Full audit trail and externally validated backup
    procedures
  • Highly scalable service

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