Leading their Sector through Innovation & Technology
Companies with rich histories like Perlman & Perlman owe those histories to the leadership that helps successfully guide and grow the company from one era to the next. In a field such as law that has a complexity of compliance mandates and a diversity of clients, the forward-looking company embraces technology and all it has to offer. In the Legal field, early adoption of technology is not the norm – but Perlman + Perlman, LLC is not your typical law firm.
In 1955, Bernard Perlman established the first state regulatory agency in the U.S. devoted exclusively to the oversight of charitable activities. This accomplishment was so important that today, these functions are carried out by the Charities Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
Bernard’s early dedication to the philanthropic sector became the basis for a law practice he first established in 1959. The firm grew from a sole practitioner handling mostly regional clients to a law firm of teams of attorneys, paralegals and compliance specialists, serving clients nationally and internationally and which continues to provide forward-thinking, comprehensive legal advice to and representation of the philanthropic community.
In 1991, Perlman & Perlman launched the first dedicated State Registration and Compliance service. With more than twenty-five years of experience, the firm provides top of the line service to over five hundred clients, including a broad range of nonprofits, professional fundraisers, fundraising consultants and commercial co-ventures.
Today, Perlman & Perlman’s scope has expanded from traditional nonprofit legal matters to evolving areas of the law such as social enterprise, corporate philanthropy, nonprofit/for-profit hybrids, and nonprofit fundraising via online platforms, social media, gamification, cause-related marketing and also provides in-house counsel on matters including employment, digital privacy, intellectual property and technology.
Strengthening the Foundation – Goals
In 2006 Perlman & Perlman reached out to Strategic Response Systems to help them meet the needs of this new era with updates to its IT infrastructure and implementing a strategic cloud solution. The over-arching goal of the project was to remove all IT-related worries from the business so that the business could focus on its core priorities to serve customers effectively and grow.
Strategic Response Systems' top priorities were to:
- Minimize liability risks (data loss, etc.), productivity losses (downtime, etc.),
- Encourage growth (allowing staff to work remotely) by implementing a secure and scalable multi-server redundancy colocation solution for all critical data,
- Ensure high security for all company applications including securing all of the company’s workstations, or “entry points, “as well as the data itself, and
- Increase collaboration between the New York and Arizona offices by upgrading and modernizing both the internet connection as well as their phone system, eliminating long-distance charges between the two locations.
This would require an alignment of business objectives between the New York headquarters and the Arizona office (reduce risk, increase collaboration, productivity & flexibility) with the most strategic, modern information technology to meet these goals and gain a competitive edge. This included moving to a solution where users could access corporate information assets remotely using safe and responsible methods with built-in backup and redundancy ensuring high availability.
Moving to the Cloud - Embracing Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
Strategic Response Systems keeps a close eye on technology innovation while never abandoning the tried-and-true solutions – each customer is fitted with the very best solutions to meet their specific needs. IaaS emerged as a popular cloud computing model in the early 2010s and is today the standard solution for many types of workloads.
“When you have a growing firm, change – of any kind – holds risk and is of great concern,” said Seth Perlman, Partner at the firm. “I have to admit, we were anxious about moving to the cloud due to concerns about losing immediate access to whatever data we needed when we needed it. But our fears were unfounded – we saw no difference in speed or access once our new system went live. More importantly – we’ve had no unplanned downtime since.”
It was the adoption of Infrastructure-as-a-Service that allowed Perlman & Perlman to achieve its overarching goal of relieving the business side of all IT-related worries. laaS allows for all of these costs and services to be rolled into one competitive monthly cost with all support and service handled by SRS. This was a key reason why when Perlman & Perlman moved their offices both in New York City and their Arizona location, there was no downtime except that which was planned.
Beyond that it also was the foundation for SRS to implement a number of crucial strategic solutions:
- Hosting of data and applications on StrategicCloud including software upgrades from CRM/data management to word process and industry-specific Perfect Law system;
- Replacement of onsite communications gear with modern, high-speed equipment (from analog to VOIP);
- Modernization of previous tape-based backup, to digital enterprise-wide backup system, which vastly improved speed to restore files (from days to minutes) as well as overall data security;
- Standardize licenses and register the firm’s workstations including moving away from an insecure LOGMEIN approach to a more secure, encrypted SonicWall VPN (Virtual Private Network), and
- Implement a reliable onsite system backup infrastructure. centralizing and securing desktops with complex passwords and other layered security strategies in order to more easily detect any potential intrusions.
This work was completed without ever interrupting user work processes. And because SRS’s IT configuration includes numerous failover strategies and never relies on one single piece of hardware, if there is a failure anywhere, users will never be impacted. This results in 100% uptime and consistently high availability.
“Working with Strategic Response Systems helped transform our company and branch offices into a true 21st-century enterprise that now embraces technology for the security, reliability, productivity gains and ease of use that SRS’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service offers, Perlman continued. “It took patience on both sides to be sure, but the gains we have realized as a company and the training our staff has received have proven invaluable.”
Security Enhancement - Once the firm’s IT infrastructure was brought into best-fit technical effectiveness, we engaged our Remote Monitoring and Management solution. The customized SRS system ensured state-of-the-art IT security measures were implemented. We worked with both end users and the internal IT team to implement hands-on-keyboard protocols to add further levels of holistic IT security. This included securing both incoming and outgoing emails. For a law firm, reputation is everything – all it would take is for one person’s email to get hacked and used to spam the company’s contacts list to damage the trust it worked so hard to gain. Filtering on both sides was crucial.
IT Team Support - SRS also provided support to the internal IT team in key areas that alleviated them from rank-and-file work such as equipment purchase planning, budget planning, and vendor negotiations. Technical infrastructure enhancement, IT security, end-user support, and IT team support were woven into a customized, efficient program.
End User Support - Creating a highly secure environment is more than just hardware and software. An emphasis was made on creating an IT-informed workforce by implementing IT solutions at users’ pace and providing proper training and a grace period to resolve any learning curves. Cybersecurity training in particular has become quite an important aspect of corporate training because all it takes is one bad actor sneaking into a system to cause quite a lot of harm. SRS moved Perlman’s work environment from insecure to secure meaning that by educating staff and implementing various preventive measures, the risk of unintentional/unauthorized virus downloads was virtually eliminated. Passwords were hardened, access protocols were put in place, and ongoing training resulted in a cyber-savvy workforce that continues to help the company avoid intrusions by knowing what the most current phishing emails look like.
Furthermore, through the SRS 24/7 technical support help desk, end-user support requests were handled by a customized combination of email and phone connections. For each engagement, an education component was included which led to continuous on-the-job staff learning without the burden of taking time off for technical training. In conjunction with this work, we configured components of the infrastructure and workstations to prevent potential problems such as USB sharing and unauthorized access to systems and data.
Bottom Line: What are the key measures of IT Service Success?
At the end of the day, what an IT Services Provider does should not be the focus of evaluation (although it is the tactics implemented that yield results). IT success should be judged by the value delivered:
- Was the company ever the victim of a hack, ransomware or system intrusion? Never.
- Did the company ever experience any unplanned downtime? Never.
- Were staff able to easily and securely access needed data onsite and remotely? Always.
- Were staff able to quickly access IT 24/7 for any hosted services questions? Always – and at no extra charge.
Those four key measures of success enabled Perlman & Perlman, LLP to achieve what it set out to do -- remove all IT-related worries from business, so that the business could focus on its core priorities to serve customers, grow the company, and thrive.//