Established over 120 years ago, Colin, Biggers & Paisley has evolved from a Sydney-based boutique firm to a national legal practice with international reach.
Through a series of strategic mergers over the last decade, the leading mid-size law practice established additional offices in Brisbane and Melbourne, and today has 500 employees.
In 2018, Sam Sofianos joined Colin, Biggers & Paisley as Chief Information Officer to lead its $20 million IT transformation project and champion its innovation strategy.
The cost of lost time and data
Sofianos knew that some of Colin, Biggers & Paisley’s IT processes needed to be brought up to speed before the transformation project started. And it was easy to see the starting point.
At the time, like many other law practices, Colin, Biggers & Paisley used tapes to back up their day-to-day data. However, after working with Global Storage for over 13 years at two other law firms, Sofianos quickly pointed out the business risk and cost of relying on heavily manual backup processes, and the advantages of outsourcing them.
“Losing even an hour of productive time costs a firm a great deal,” says Sofianos, “and legal work never stops. It’s around the clock.”
As soon as I realised Colin, Biggers & Paisley still relied on tapes, I made it a priority to improve our backup and disaster recovery (DR) systems and processes. I went straight to Global Storage. They’re the people that do managed-backup and recovery best – and they do it more quickly than anyone else I know. But more importantly, because of my history with them, I knew I could trust them, and they’d become a valued extension of our IT team.
Chief Information Officer
The trouble with tape
Steven West, Systems Administration Manager, has worked for Colin, Biggers & Paisley for over 13 years. He’s overseen the backup and recovery process for most of that time.
“Using backup tapes was a massive commitment in terms of both time and effort. We ran old-school backup and sync products (like tape and disks) to cover on-premises and virtual machines throughout the week, and on weekends and public holidays. Unfortunately, it didn’t leave us a lot of room for system maintenance windows. By the time our backup technician finished, we’d have over a dozen tapes or disks to remove from the offices and store off-site in a bank vault. Then we’d start the whole backup process again.”
“The tapes and disks worked,” says West, “but we were limited by throughput, so it wasn’t a fast or elegant solution.”
Doing a test restore was equally arduous. “To prove our backups were working,” says West, “I would literally take a tape drive and go into a room for a couple of weeks and restore everything to a virtualised environment. In the case of a real disaster, that’s how long it would have taken us to recover our systems and data.”
Going global made easy
While the concept of outsourcing both backup and disaster recovery was new to Colin, Biggers & Paisley, Sofianos’s experience in the legal sector provided the firm with the confidence to move to a more sophisticated, fully-managed solution.
Moving from managing backups in-house to engaging a partner to take care of your data was a big step for us,” says West. “It’s a long-term commitment you can’t just walk away from a week later. But Sam introduced us to Global Storage, and we were impressed by their professionalism and proposed backup technology. They made the transition to an outsourced service easy.
Systems Administration Manager
A backup and disaster recovery process transformed
Global Storage deployed Veritas NetBackup, the #1 data backup and recovery solution worldwide, and the backup solution of choice for 87% of the Fortune Global 500.
And West rates it a winner.
“Veritas NetBackup is a proven, market-leading solution. And four years down the track, I can say it’s consistently performed to a high level of reliability. We have complete faith that if our data needs to be restored, it will be all present and correct. And as Global Storage fully manages the service, the time, effort and stress associated with doing our own backups is happily off our shoulders.”
Global Storage backs up Colin, Biggers & Paisley’s Active Directory, SQL environments, and 107 on-prem virtual machines. “Most of our data is protected by Veritas in some form or another,” says West.
Colin, Biggers & Paisley’s entire data and virtual infrastructure is replicated to Global Storage’s cloud environments using VMWare.
In late 2021, Global Storage became the first Australian partner to achieve the VMware Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) certification, and is one of only six partners with the certification across Asia Pacific.
No risk, no stress backups
“Moving to Global Storage has eliminated the significant risk that comes with tape backups,” says West.
“Not having that responsibility has been amazing, it’s been a real time-saver. Even though we have the internal capability to restore our data, we find it’s usually easier and faster to get Global Storage to do it. Letting them deal with an issue leaves our team free to focus on adding value and contributing to our transformation journey, not managing backups and restores.”
West says that when Global Storage upgraded their Veritas products in 2021 and installed a new rack, the process was seamless. “We just kept on working without interruption; there was no noticeable cutover at all. You don’t get that from other backup providers, and it’s just one of the reasons why I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.”
While Sofianos says Colin, Biggers & Paisley’s solutions are now around 85% in the cloud, he sees Global Storage’s disaster recovery service as a much-needed level of added security. Such is the reliability of their backup and disaster recovery system that Colin, Biggers & Paisley proudly present the results of their twice-yearly data backup and DR audits to potential clients as a benefit of engagement with the practice.
And third time around, Sofianos is just as happy with Global Solutions.
“We’re always in constant communication. The relationship is very professional but also extremely comfortable. We work seamlessly as one team.”
And that’s not just how I see them; that’s how the rest of our team sees them as well. They’re always happy to give an opinion or advice, even when it’s outside of their core business, or it’s about hardware we’re not buying from them. They’re very generous with their time and support.”
“By choosing to develop smart, selective business partnerships like the one we have with Global Storage, we’ve got more time to focus on key projects. As a result, we can deliver outcomes that make a difference to our lawyers, and help them work more effectively.”