A Gartner report from 2002 showed that 40% of small and midsized businesses folded within five years after sudden misfortune struck. Having your important information where you need it when you need it, could save you from going under.
Don’t let insurance policies lull you into feeling safe against disaster that could destroy your files: fire, earthquake, flood, acts of God. Insurance policies can’t replace the phone numbers and information that you’ll lose if your records are destroyed. They might not be the first thing on your mind when you think of disaster, so help protect your vital records by avoiding these mistakes:
- Not knowing which records are vital. Identify which records you will need immediately after an emergency strikes within the first few hours. This includes documents you will need to respond to the crisis and any documents needed to continue activities that are most critical to your mission.
- Not having a procedure in place or inventory of vital records. You need to know who has which documents and a process for creating copies for their protection. Who or where do you go to for your vital records in time of crisis?
- Not having off-site storage for vital records. Keep backups of vital documents at a distance far enough away to be considered convenient but far enough that they won’t likely succumb to the same fate. The cloud is another good place to keep vital information if disclosure of the information is of low enough risk for you and your organization.
- Thinking off-site storage is enough to protect you. Storing files off-site is cumbersome and time consuming and may not get done as often as you plan. You also need to protect records while they are still in your office. Don’t count on everything being off-site when disaster strikes. As well, think in duplicates. If you have copies in your office and offsite, you may be able to conserve time if you can use a copy that survived in your office.
- Thinking it’s safe if it’s digitized. Digital records actually require more careful storage than paper, which can handle wider ranges of heat and humidity. Make sure you have an adequate mix of storage when it comes to your vital records.
You don’t need a big budget to protect your vital records, but you do need these records to get your business back up and going after disaster. Protect them; protect your business. Getting up and going again after disaster will be easier if your vital records make it through.