One of the greatest losses that a company can experience is damage to its physical documents. Salvaging these assets after a natural disaster often requires immediate assistance from professional document recovery services so you don’t experience more delays than necessary to resume normal business operations. By taking a proactive approach with mitigation strategies, you can prevent the loss of important business records and avoid the need for natural disaster document recovery.
Tips from Document Recovery Experts to Protect Important Records
- Assess natural disasters and their risks: Using your business’ disaster preparedness plan, evaluate how the natural disasters identified as risks could affect the documents in your office. For example, a flood may damage documents stored in desks and on shelves. An earthquake could cause files stored in boxes to fall. When you know the risks that natural disasters pose to your critical business documents and other assets, you can create a more comprehensive plan to protect them.
- Identify the most valuable documents, files, and records: Consider the consequences of losing your most valuable documents and outline a plan to keep these and future records safe.
- Offsite Storage: Store important documents at a secure off-site location like a bank’s vault or safe deposit box. Important documents can include legal documents, deeds, titles, historical archives, insurance policies, and those that establish your identity and your business’ legitimacy. If you need to access these files at the office, keep a copy onsite. If your bank is in a vulnerable area, such as a flood zone, consider using the vault or safe deposit box in a branch that’s in a nearby city.
- Make digital copies: Scan your business’ vital documents and store the electronic files on an external hard drive, flash drive, or with an online secure cloud storage solution. If you store the files on an external hard drive or flash drive, keep them at a secure off-site location.
- Regularly backup electronic documents: Back up electronic files related to your business to an external drive or online at intervals you deem important, daily, weekly quarterly, or annually. Important documents or files vary on each individual business, but common files to protect could include those related to inventory, customer contact lists, payroll records, tax information, and billing statements.
- Protect onsite documents: Invest in fire-, water- and impact-resistant file cabinets for the office. As part of your emergency preparedness plan, implement a policy that states employees must store their files in the cabinets instead of inside their desks or on shelves.
- Remain compliant: Make sure the place and manner in which your business saves and retrieves its physical and electronic documents are compliant with applicable privacy laws and industry regulations.
- Prepare the property: Reduce the need for natural disaster document recovery by preparing the physical site. Ways to do this include:
- Tightening the building’s envelop against the elements.
- Scheduling regular building inspections to look for issues that could become problematic in the future, such as plumbing problems or old wiring.
- Installing protective equipment like hurricane shutters for doors and windows.
- Anchoring shelves and other large equipment to the wall and/or floor.
- Storing documents above flood level. If the building has multiple stories, store documents on the second floor or higher.
If your business experiences water damage, one of the best things that you can do to ensure business continuity is called Polygon right away to start the document recovery process. If you are looking to plan ahead, we can provide more information about our natural disaster document recovery services and how they can fit into your business’ emergency preparedness plan.