Friday, May 13, 2011

Make information safekeeping part of your hurricane preparations

Posted by Mark Brousseau

Forecasters at Colorado State University recently announced that the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season will be very active. Before the season starts, it's time for businesses to get ready, while remembering their most valuable asset: information.

"No matter the size of a company, without access to information, clients could be lost and the owner may be at risk for losing the business altogether," said Marshall Stevens, co-owner of Stevens & Stevens Business Records Management, Inc, a Florida-based records management center. "To ensure business continuity, owners should develop a disaster recovery plan to assess how they're storing and managing information. These plans can help keep a business up and running so all business functions could be handled, even without access to your facility or network."

Get prepared by considering the following:

... Location and security of your storage facility – Store information off-site in a location that's been designed to withstand high sustained winds, is located in a non-flood zone, has a secure vault and is also secured with alarms, security cameras and pass codes.

... Accessibility – Be sure you can access your information no matter the time of day or day of week.

... Document back-ups – Whether you make copies or have external hard drives, back-up files of key documents is crucial. Keep back-ups in multiple locations, so if a disaster affects your office, another copy of your information is still available.

... Alternative records storage options – Consider utilizing technology that allows files to be converted to electronic images, which are then hosted on a secure, password-protected website. So, if files are destroyed or you couldn't access your facility, information wouldn't be gone for good.

"Hurricane season can be an uneasy time, but by planning how you'll protect information now, if disaster does strike, you can focus on running your business rather than trying to pick up the pieces after the fact," said Stevens.

How does your company safeguard its information during a hurricane?

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