The Importance Of Backing Up Your Documents
Fire, flood and other disasters remain threats to businesses. You can insure your premises, your contents, your office equipment, and even your people: but how do you insure that most irreplaceable asset – your business data and records?
"There's no insurance policy that could ever bring back the names and numbers you need"
- Thomas Finks, CEO Sundance Computers, after a major theft.
Some key facts:
- More than 32,000 UK business premises suffered fires in 2002, according to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
- The DTI’s statistics say that amongst businesses that suffer major loss of records, more than 2/3rds will close.
- The LCCI rates this grim risk even higher: it says that “…80% of businesses without a well structured recovery plan are forced to shut within 12 months of a flood or fire”: and “…90% of businesses that lose their data in a disaster are forced to shut within 2 years…” (London Chamber of Commerce and Industry: “Disaster Recovery: Business Tips for Survival” 2003.)
The US educational organisation, Vital Records Protection has established its website (www.vitalrecordsprotection.org) to provide educational information about the protection of vital records from fire, disaster and other dangers. The following extract is taken by kind permission from their website:
“To state it as simply as possible, the first step in disaster planning is records protection. The safeguarding of vital and irreplaceable company records and documentation is absolutely crucial to corporate survival. If vital records that fall into certain categories, such as financial documentation records or sales orders - are lost, and can not be replaced quickly enough, a company could lose serious business as competitors move in to grab market share.
In fact, all businesses that have something to lose need a vital records protection strategy plan, and one that especially incorporates measures to protect against fire. To lend some perspective to the question of how much are your vital records worth, according to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, 47 percent of all businesses that suffer a catastrophic fire cease operations inside of one year. Ninety percent of those firms whose records are destroyed are no longer in business a year later.”
To constitute a disaster, fire or flood doesn’t necessarily have to destroy your entire premises. A small fire in your principal office or computer room can be devastating if your records aren’t adequately backed up. Many medium sized businesses are well insured, but badly prepared for such occurrences.
Consider this question: if you entered your office tomorrow to find it flooded or gutted by fire, how well, and how quickly, could you recover the information contained in the paper records around you?
An Electronic Document Management system can play a vital role in protecting your priceless business records. Disaster recovery becomes a routine restore from backup rather than a painstaking forensic reconstruction exercise. Crucially, the ability to claim effectively against your business insurance policy is influenced by the availability of key company records: the fixed asset register, the invoices as evidence of major purchases, the sales records to evidence lost turnover, the vehicle registration records, etc, etc. If the filing cabinets that contain these records have burned, an insurance claim becomes a major problem.
All such records can easily be captured and archived in a good document management system: so that if disaster strikes, a business manager has vital time to concentrate on restoring the business, rather than reconstructing its records.