I started a post here which started a discussion on our recent lightning strike and the issues we faced as a result. I previously stated that we took the difficulties of the lightning strike and down time, loss of equipment and data, and made improvements in our overall process and systems. I also noted that in the technology age, perseverance and a positive attitude are critical components for survival. With technology, things sometimes go smoothly. But sometimes, things don’t work as planned. All of the efficiencies we gain with technology have to be balanced with the fact that sometimes your email is not working and you have absolutely no idea why.
We are still attempting to recover some of the data off one of the Nas Drives which was blasted when lightning came down our cable connection and made it through part of our system. We had thought that the surge protectors where protecting us. The surge protector on the Internet connection, however, failed to stop the jolt. Despite the fact that all of our heavy-duty equipment is plugged into a UPC, the lightning apparently by passed the surge protecting within the cable line and came straight down into the cable box. Interestingly, we were right in the process of moving from Amicus Attorney and QuickBooks to LexisNexis PCLaw. We have decided to go to a new billing and accounting system because we couldn’t take the fact that QuickBooks really doesn’t do what law firms need it to do. It doesn’t do Trust accounting. It has many features built in which aren’t required for law firms. We wanted to go to an accounting system designed specifically for law firms. When the lightning struck, we already had the software and licenses for PCLaw in our office. While we had planned an August 1 conversion date, we quickly moved up the implementation date. For the month of June, we issued paper bills (of course, Amicus Attorney keeps a local file as well as a server side file allowing access to all the billing information from the client machines). While there was some hiccups in that process, there weren’t too many. We were able to get bills out despite the accounting system being gone. Issuing paper bills based on paper information is not high-tech but is extremely low risk. You know you can do it. You know you can get it out quickly. We made that happen, once it was clear that things weren’t going to come back on line quickly.
We are now on the cusp of fully utilizing our new time, billing, accounting, and management system. Of course, we are putting in new back-up systems and curing the flaws in our previous back-up systems. Overall, things could have been a lot worse. We have used the lightning strike as an opportunity to take large steps forward and reduce our overall risk going forward.
So if lightning strikes you, don’t worry. Take your lessons as they come, shift into another gear, and find workarounds for your problems.