Business continuity isn’t just for cyberattacks.  

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Business continuity isn’t just for cyberattacks.  

Why being prepared for the day-to-day matters

No company likes surprises (unless, perhaps, it’s a sudden stock price jump). Which is why it’s important to have strong contingency plans for when things go wrong. According to CityAm, cyberattacks on law firms have risen sharply over the last year, and this will likely continue as hackers recognise the potential value of sensitive client data. 

Most law firms have plans in place for worst-case scenarios – a serious client data breach, I.T. system failure, or legal liability. But despite the increase in ransom attacks, these incidents are still (thankfully) not day-to-day occurrences.  

However, business continuity is about more than just being prepared for a rare catastrophe. Threats to the continuity of your business operations are usually much smaller, more frequent, and easier to overlook, but their effects add up over time.  From a sudden bout of winter sickness to a power-cut to something as seemingly innocuous as a fire alarm, there are multiple scenarios that can render a law firm less able to provide seamless customer service for a short period. 

Given that up to 40% of calls to full service law firms are new business enquiries, even short periods of downtime can cost your firm valuable business. Preparing for day-to-day disruption is your best chance of remaining accessible and efficient, both for your existing clients and potential future ones. 

Here’s why being prepared for the little things can make a big difference for your firm. 

Daily disruptions are easy to overlook 

If you asked most partners what their business continuity strategy looks like, chances are their answer would mention cybersecurity, I.T. infrastructure, data recovery, or insurance, and would most likely involve a dedicated working team.

Very few would think about what their firm would do if, for instance, there was a fire alarm in the building. Assuming that the reason for the alarm is somebody burning toast in the office kitchen and not an actual fire, this incident might sound trivial – but there are still business continuity implications to consider.

For example, who is answering your phones in this scenario? Will you be relying on voicemail to pick up any potentially important calls that come in during the half-hour before your teams are allowed back into the building?If so, it might be worth considering if this is the right solution for your firm. According to our research, around 60% of people won’t leave a voicemail if they don’t get through – meaning clients will probably pick up the phone to a competitor instead. The impact is also felt by those employees who are working remotely, where friction and frustration from the disruption can impact their own roles and effectiveness.

And it’s not just fire alarms. Everyday disruption also comes in the form of:

  • Staff sickness
  • Staff holidays
  • Power cuts
  • Travel chaos
  • Flooding and Snow days
  • Facilities incidents
  • Retirement planning

These are the ongoing small-scale challenges faced by facilities managers and front of house teams as they strive to efficiently resource and deliver great service to clients.

A 2023 BBC analysis of National Rail data showed that nearly half of UK train services were delayed or cancelled in the first half of 2023, with cancellation rates as high as 13%. This means the prospect of front of house teams not making it into the office without disruption is on the increase. Firms simply cannot resource their switchboard in person for every fluctuation and unexpected event, so these everyday challenges are becoming a greater drain across the business.

For these scenarios, an external switchboard provider offers protection against downtime on your phone lines, with automatic failover to pick up calls during disruption – which could be the difference between a new client and a missed opportunity.

Hybrid work creates more demand from remote employees

Nobody could have predicted the pandemic. Many companies were able to adapt quickly to the challenges of remote working, but with hybrid working here to stay, companies must consider whether the hybrid policies they implemented during the pandemic are the most efficient ones for the long term.

With more staff working remotely and choosing flexible office hours, there is a greater demand for remote support for employees. To avoid friction, staff should have access to:

  • Resources and documentation
  • Reliable tech support
  • Secure Wi-Fi or server connections
  • Data security training
  • Cybersecurity awareness

One of the benefits of an external switchboard service is that you can minimise the friction of remote working. It’s not just knowing that your phone lines are covered at all times – but also that staff can navigate access to support which can be escalated appropriately and efficiently, that messages are taken and followed up, and that detailed call data is captured so you can plan your hybrid working strategy around your firm’s specific needs.

Accessing your knowledge base

For most law firms, your knowledge base includes client case files, research resources, training materials, contact lists and marketing plans – all the documentation that is essential to the day-to-day and long-term operation of your business. These resources are the beating heart of the firm – without them, it would be simply impossible to conduct business as usual.

A significant part of that knowledge base is the contact information and operational details to keep the firm running.

But if your central contact repository becomes out of date, inaccessible, or the data stored in it becomes compromised, even the most basic of client requests become unmanageable.

However, outsourcing your switchboard to a trusted supplier provides an extra layer of business continuity in the case of disruption. Suppliers such as ComXo will be able to maintain access to all contacts, office connection information and operational resources to allow communication to continue even during emergencies. So you won’t lose any time (or potential new business) due to the disruption.

Maintaining a professional outlook

Even if unforeseen circumstances have affected your ability to carry out certain elements of day-to-day business, it’s important to make sure that customers, suppliers or other parts of the company have confidence in reaching you.

An outsourced switchboard service can be indispensable in this area. With a switchboard outsourcing service like ComXo, you’ll have a team of professional, empathetic call handlers who understand your business, ready to receive 24/7 enquiries, provide updates and information, and reassure your clients.

“More than just call answering, ComXo never miss a call.
They give us peace of mind, if there was a crisis, we know they would be there for us, so the business continuity element is really important.” 
Client Services Manager, Top 50 Law Firm 

Looking for a flexible switchboard solution? Here’s how ComXo can help 

ComXo are industry-leaders in transformational switchboard and business support services, committed to redefining the switchboard for law firms. With a combination of technology and great people, we help you deliver exceptional experiences more flexibly, and maintain peak productivity as you adapt to the challenges of hybrid working. 

Our 24-hour switchboard service keeps you up and running when things don’t go to plan, so you can maintain your professional reputation. Our dynamic workplace helplines allow your team to feel supported and confident, while minimising the business disruption risks of the hybrid world. 

Why not talk to our team about how we can support your firm to ensure you’re always covered? 

Written by
Amanda

Top Tips to protect your business during a cyber attack

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Top Tips to protect your business during a cyber attack

Following our experience and learnings gained in supporting a major Global law firm who were severely impacted by a cyber attack, here are 10 top tips how you can prevent an attack paralysing your business.

Protect your brand at all costs. Perception is reality

It is unacceptable for a customer focused firm to be unavailable for any length of time. Being able to demonstrate that regardless of the situation, you are open for business and capable of maintaining high service levels builds trust, customer loyalty and professional respect.

Enable your teams to focus on the crisis

When a crisis hits, you will require total focus, concentrated effort and coordinated teamwork to survive. Create space and mitigate risk by ring-fencing the front line experience. Triaging internal services, information updates and escalation requests engenders an atmosphere of uninterrupted calm and control, and puts you back on the front foot.

Provide a serviced virtual meeting place for stakeholders

Continuous communication is the single most important factor during a crisis. An easy-to-use voice conference room that can be accessed at any time is key. A managed audio conferencing service can facilitate requests to ensure agility and fluidity as the situation develops.

Keep your staff informed. Duty of care is essential

Defined, well-rehearsed communication channels minimise confusion and insecurity amongst stakeholders and staff. It is vital to have access to up-to-date stakeholder and staff contact lists for consistent communications (e.g. text, email, voice, hotline). These comms can be invoked through a managed service in the cloud.

Ensure access to your knowledge asset

Having an external switchboard provider that understands your processes could enable you to maintain access to key information and business services even during a crisis, ensuring ongoing efficiency and information flow.

Keep your IT help desk functioning 24/7

Minimising confusion as a crisis unfolds is vital. Getting and keeping key IT capability up and working is a pivotal step to achieve this. ensuring clear lines open to your IT help desk gives your workforce assurance that the situation is under control. Using a triage capability to answer calls and service requests; fact find, prioritise and escalate - enabling your own IT staff to focus on the higher level problems.

Provide your staff with the right tools for remote working

By providing alternative, company sanctioned and network independent communication tools, staff can stay productive rather than having to second guess the company's risk, security or compliance regime, A BYOD (bring-your-own-device) technology that's simple to use and allows easy billing will encourage staff to continue communicating.

Think global

For global corporates a cyber-attack could mean that all world-wide communication becomes disrupted. Do you have global resilience plan in place for communication? It is tested around your key risks and invoked on regular basis?

Create strong supply chain relationships

When a crisis hits, relationships with key operational suppliers become even more important. Maintaining strong connections with the right people in these organisations will help ensure your problem is prioritised. Share your BCP plans with your supply chain and include them in your scenario planning.

Protect new business opportunities

Industry statistics show that up to 55% of switchboard calls to professionals service firms are existing or new business calls. A crisis hits customer confidence and keeping lines open to answer questions, escalate requests or give advice will ensure your customers do not seek out new suppliers.

We are trusted by top Global firms to provide outsourced support, including crisis lines and helplines which can be initiated during a cyber attack. To learn more about our work, contact our consultants today.

Written by
Harris