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Small Business Setup - Law Firm

Last response: in Business Computing
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March 4, 2012 12:07:39 AM

I opened a two partner law firm almost 2 years ago. We have had the following setup for the past 2 years:

1. Comp #1 - Dell Vostro - not sure the model, currently at a computer repair shop and I will get to that later. This computer is likely 5 years or so old and has a pentium 4.
2. Comp #2 IBM refurb from overstock.com - this two has a pentium 4 processor. likely 5 years old.
3. Email/Website - Godaddy website and email services
4. File Storage - Rackspace cloud computing- this is being used as a file storage center. Basically, when I finish a case - the file goes from my desktop on to the "L" drive (rackspace cloud). There is no backup made until after the case is closed. Some files we leave on the L drive and access them directly.
5. Email software - Outlook - we run our godaddy email (which is slow, not sure if it's the ISP or Godaddy) through outlook. My partner and me don't share our calendar, as we don't have enterprise, so we have to invite each other to meetings. It is basically two separate email accounts with no joint functionality.
6. Scan/Print- we are 1 small office in a large executive suite of 20+ other businesses- the landlord has a few bizhubs and we are connected to 1 bizhub. both computers can print to the bizhub - and the bizhub scans to my computer to a sync folder that sends the file to the "L" drive, and my partner can then go, after it has synced, and view the scan.


Last Wednesday my computer was hit with what seems to be two viruses. Strong Malware Defender and some restart virus that brings up NTAUTHORITY and reboots the computer. I had NO VIRUS PROTECTION. I have never had a virus that did anything, so I was cheap......Which virus software should I get? The repair shop is attempting to salvage my computer and the settings the Landlord had the tech company put on my PC so we can scan....printing I can figure out how to get back....but scanning is the problem. Anyway, I am running a pretty darn makeshift network, with no server, no network collaboration and little to no effective backup. I am not synced with my partner and we are wasting valuable time doing things 1/2 assed because of our setup.

Basically, I want to establish a more effective setup. I am willing to commit $1,500.00 to upgrade or streamline my system. I am looking for suggestions and critiques on how to implement this. I am also potentially willing to entertain the idea of hiring one of you to help me with this process, even if it's remotely. The biggest issue is that I am going to by hiring 5 people in the next year, and will neeed to have a streamlined system of adding computers.

To start, should I setup a server? Should I get a cloud type server? I am going to use the two current PCs that we have, but want to replace them THIS year. I want these computers to last for at least 5 years, which ones should I get? How do I better setup our emal? Our scan/print? PLEASE HELP!!!!!

You can respond to this post, or email me at jbogaty@taubandbogaty.com
March 7, 2012 7:48:45 PM

ck6uperman said:
I opened a two partner law firm almost 2 years ago. We have had the following setup for the past 2 years:

1. Comp #1 - Dell Vostro - not sure the model, currently at a computer repair shop and I will get to that later. This computer is likely 5 years or so old and has a pentium 4.
2. Comp #2 IBM refurb from overstock.com - this two has a pentium 4 processor. likely 5 years old.
3. Email/Website - Godaddy website and email services
4. File Storage - Rackspace cloud computing- this is being used as a file storage center. Basically, when I finish a case - the file goes from my desktop on to the "L" drive (rackspace cloud). There is no backup made until after the case is closed. Some files we leave on the L drive and access them directly.
5. Email software - Outlook - we run our godaddy email (which is slow, not sure if it's the ISP or Godaddy) through outlook. My partner and me don't share our calendar, as we don't have enterprise, so we have to invite each other to meetings. It is basically two separate email accounts with no joint functionality.
6. Scan/Print- we are 1 small office in a large executive suite of 20+ other businesses- the landlord has a few bizhubs and we are connected to 1 bizhub. both computers can print to the bizhub - and the bizhub scans to my computer to a sync folder that sends the file to the "L" drive, and my partner can then go, after it has synced, and view the scan.


Last Wednesday my computer was hit with what seems to be two viruses. Strong Malware Defender and some restart virus that brings up NTAUTHORITY and reboots the computer. I had NO VIRUS PROTECTION. I have never had a virus that did anything, so I was cheap......Which virus software should I get? The repair shop is attempting to salvage my computer and the settings the Landlord had the tech company put on my PC so we can scan....printing I can figure out how to get back....but scanning is the problem. Anyway, I am running a pretty darn makeshift network, with no server, no network collaboration and little to no effective backup. I am not synced with my partner and we are wasting valuable time doing things 1/2 assed because of our setup.

Basically, I want to establish a more effective setup. I am willing to commit $1,500.00 to upgrade or streamline my system. I am looking for suggestions and critiques on how to implement this. I am also potentially willing to entertain the idea of hiring one of you to help me with this process, even if it's remotely. The biggest issue is that I am going to by hiring 5 people in the next year, and will neeed to have a streamlined system of adding computers.

To start, should I setup a server? Should I get a cloud type server? I am going to use the two current PCs that we have, but want to replace them THIS year. I want these computers to last for at least 5 years, which ones should I get? How do I better setup our emal? Our scan/print? PLEASE HELP!!!!!

You can respond to this post, or email me at jbogaty@taubandbogaty.com





Hi ,
I suggest the following :
1 & 2. buy new laptops for you and your partner with docking stations.
A. get a branded laptop (dell , lenovo)with support for at least 3 years / at least next business day response.
B. install antivirus suite like norton 360.
3 & 5. move your email and website to rackspace
A. use hosted exchange for emails , will give you ability to send receive emails with your smartphone and better
calendar functionality.
B. hosted website service for the website.
4. file service on rackspace is ok but if you want better functions like documents version / permissions / projects
use the rackspace hosted sharepoint service.
6. use the current printer or buy an all in one b/w printer that can scan directly to your computers and can email
you the scans.

* you can use any other cloud hosted service i did not check the prices but the plan is hosting all the services under the same roof. make sure using hosted exchange for your emails

** you can extend the support plan to 5 years , make sure all your equipment under support contract.

*** using sharepoint will give you better backup since all document editing done online.

pro
better backup plan , sharing , mobility.

con
need a constant internet connection so make sure you have backup plan for internet connection like adsl + gsm .


March 7, 2012 8:23:26 PM

For a law firm there is no excuse, the ability to produce documents is your livelihood, what impression do you give to clients if they ever found out.

office 365 from MS is great for exchange + sharepoint + other toys, cheap and very effective, single sign in for everything, been using it (Its predecessor) for a year now.

+1 to all of the above, also you're a law firm, you should be printing to your own printer, that only you can touch.

Personally i'd plan for PC's to last 3 years then plan on replacing them, if they are still going strong then fine, if not clean them sell them, buy new ones. DO NOT BE TIGHT, PC's are not a luxury they are requirement nowadays.

Please edit your post to remove your address unless you like spam, its a shame but thats life
March 7, 2012 9:16:11 PM

If I were you.

I would buy 1 highend business desktop with Windows multipoint server 2011. 1 Highend desktop can run both of you at the same time, and 5 new people in the next year. You just need to add a thin client and monitor, mouse, keyboard for each additioal user. I run mine at home so both kids can play at the same time.

I would own my own laser copier/printer.

I would definitely buy a Fujitsu Scansnap 1500 " I would consider this a must in a Law office." It is one of the best auto doc feeder scanners on the planet, I would scan every file into a PDF this way.

I would buy office 2010 pro.

I would buy Acrobat X pro. So I could manage PDF and create PDF forms with ease.

Backup everything to a spare Hard drive and to the cloud.

P.S. with multipoint server 2011 users can share Apps so you won't need 8 office apps.
!