Small Law Office Setup

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by wguitarg, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. wguitarg macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2009
    Hello everyone,

    I am currently a third year law student interested in starting my own practice. I would very much appreciate some advice and input on setting up a home office network that will be remotely and securely accessible. I am a lifelong PC user looking to make the switch. Here are my ideas:

    Firewall/Router--->Gigabit Switch/Hub and connected to the hub would be my file server (thinking about a NAS with RAID here that would automatically backup to an external harddrivee and online backup) and an imAC. Printer would be connected either to file server or imac, if i even decide to have an i mac. My main thing here is security and remote access; therefore, I want all files on a file server in my office. I would also have a Mac Air or MacBook Pro for on the go, and connect cirectly into my file server like this:

    or throguh a VPN or through the NAS's built in remote access software (like thhe Synology D-209+. Is this feasible and/or practical? I would have a website hosted off-site.
  2. bobfitz14 macrumors 65816


    Oct 14, 2008
    well...i don't have any help with the setup but i am very interested in going to law school myself so i would be willing to work for you:D
  3. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    Can you open your own practice as a student?
  4. raf66 macrumors regular

    Nov 29, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio

    I had my own practice several years ago and used a Sony laptop as kind of the "hub" computer in the office. It was wireless so I made sure the router had a firewall (I didn't like Windows XP firewall that much) and I used a wireless printer server for both my laptop and my secretary's desktop. Worked like a charm. In fact, I still have/use my Sony laptop. Of course it's not nearly as nice as my new iMac.

    Good luck in your final year of law school. You know what they say about law school is pretty true: "Your first year they scare you to death; your second year they work you to death; and your third year they bore you to death." ;)
  5. petermcphee macrumors 6502a


    Aug 20, 2008
    I am in my third year of school as well, and this old adage is as true as it ever was. Bleh.
  6. fxstb2002 macrumors member

    Apr 22, 2008
    If all of the files are going to be on the NAS, what is the reason behind having an Imac and a Macbook? It would be more effective to have a Macbook and an external monitor, right?
  7. wguitarg thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2009
    #7 should have been more specific. I am interested in starting my own practice after clerking for two years with a bankruptcy judge and after I pass the bar in July of 2009. My third year is ridiculously graded classes, 12 hours, just gearing up for the bar.

    I suppose that I would not need an are would be more for grounding me to the desk I suppose :)
  8. wguitarg thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2009
    hit reply too soon..anyways...the biggest element for me would be remote access ability....I'm not familiar with the best way to do that, and i would like to keep my office as virtual as possible.
  9. claimed4all macrumors 6502

    Sep 26, 2008
    An Airport Extreme and an attached USB drive. A static IP would be very useful too, otherwise have a computer running DynDns. Such the forums, their are a few decent guides to achieving this with an airport extreme.

    Take a look here.
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You could do that but you would need a very fast internet conection to make it practical. We are not talking about a home DSL line. Also as a lawyer yu would hate to be breaking the terms of your contract with your ISP. So to avoid that you absolutely need a "bussines class" Internet connection. This class of service allows you to host "services". Read the TOS carfully.

    I assume your advice to some one who wants to write up a will or form a corporation woud be "find a lawyer" and not "ask random people on the Internet." Same here. Maybe you can't recogize it but the level of technical advide given here ranges from reasonable to "way wrong" and is something worth less then the price paid. So,.. find some one who is good and has worked setting up law office computers.

    That said, Yes yes get a fire wall but note that they need to be set up with some rather complex rules. the home office "lynsys" boxes are rather simple. You need better then that. get someone who at least knows what a "Zone" is to set it up for you. The other thing is that VPN is the way to go for remote access. One other big rule: NEVER use a computer that has sensitive dat on it to host a service that is availabl to the Internet. I would go farther and even keep those computers on there own network. Now notice that you need a router with THREE interface to do that. None of the low end units have that.

    You are the expert and must know who bad off you'd be if (1) you knew you have client data and (2) you knew you were non-expert in protecting data but decided to save a buck and "wing it" yourself and then (3) something happened.

    In my opinion the best way to work is just yo encrypt "everything". This i sn ot common practice yet but it is becomming common with notebook computers. Notebooks get stolen frequently. Encrption keeps the data out of the theft's hands. This will be more and more common in data centers and office servers and on desktops. I'd jump on that trend now.

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