Many people associate their document management system with business processes and enhancing office productivity. While they are correct, document management also serves another vital function: disaster recovery planning.
Being prepared for the future is critical to business success. From keeping pace with industry news to developing scalable business solutions, there is much that goes into keeping a company ready and responsive. Since the future does not always hold unbridled growth, savvy business owners make sure to develop disaster recovery plans for their companies.
Business continuity planning is imperative if a company wants to quickly recover and survive from a disaster. When almost half of all businesses (40%) permanently close after a disaster, no one can afford not to plan. Document management systems support disaster planning by keeping office documents safe.
Disasters and Documents: Why It Matters
Disaster planning involves preparations to resume business functions as quickly as possible following an incident or a disaster. Often, these functions occur in a modified state or may use different assets than usual. However, in all cases, the point of disaster planning is to reduce the amount of downtime a company has, thus reducing lost revenue.
All smart business owners need to prepare for disasters because a business might not have time to strategize or pull together assets in the face of (or in the aftermath of) imminent disaster. The 2018 U.S. wildfires in California caused the costliest natural disaster in the world with $16.5 billion in damages.
When people hear the term ‘natural disasters,’ tornadoes, blizzards, floods, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, or mudslides come to mind, but the reality is disasters have many origins. They may be natural or human-made and not all of them come with advanced warning; regardless, your business needs to be prepared to handle them.
What Happens When Documents Are Lost?
Documents hold the vast majority of critical business information, which can make losing them incredibly damaging to a company. Losing records does not mean that a company has to backtrack to recover vital data. Unfortunately, losing important documents can also lead to:
- Permanently lost revenue
- Loss of customers or new business
- Decrease in customer satisfaction
- Fines, mainly if the lost documents held sensitive information
- Increased expenses (recreating documents, overtime, outsourcing, etc.)
- The inability to pay bills
- Additional damages if confidential information is leaked or stolen
Sometimes losing documents is not the end of the story. Consider, for instance, what happens when a hacker takes office files hostage. In a ransomware attack, a criminal steals a company’s data and encrypts it. He or she then demands a ransom in exchange for their safe return. However, even if the company pays the ransom, there is no guarantee that the criminal will uphold their end of the bargain.
Likewise, in the case of many government ransomware attacks, cities had to divert funds from other areas to pay the bill associated with that disaster. For Baltimore, that meant parks and public utilities received $6 million less for maintenance and programs in 2019.
When documents are lost following a disaster, repercussions can be wide-ranging. That is why disaster planning for documents is indispensable.
How a Document Management System Mitigates Damage
In 2018, 37,500 businesses in the US permanently closed due to disasters. Many of these businesses sustained severe physical damage to their office location. However, many others shut down due to the loss of irreplaceable business data, without which they could not function.
In these cases, a document management system might have prevented failure. Document management solutions are specifically designed to prevent the loss of business data through:
There is no worse feeling than disaster striking a business and discovering that the company has data backups – but they are two years old. In contrast, a document management system can schedule automatic backups so that a company never loses more than a few hours of work.
Centralized, Accessible Documents
Cloud solutions have become incredibly sophisticated, and they are often deployed by document management software. With cloud-based document management or enterprise content management, a company can access its critical documents even if they are forced to resume operations in a different physical location.
Having documents in one secure, digital, location means document retrieval is easier since they can be located immediately and retrieved with ease.
Digitally Converting Documents
Creating digital copies of documents prepares businesses for unexpected disasters. From natural disasters, to theft, and property damage, document management software allows businesses to recover quickly from disasters and continue operating like normal.
Document storage is always a tricky business. Filing cabinets full of paper documents cannot be hacked, but they can go up in flames or vanish in a flood. Document management systems (DMS) leverage offsite storage (usually in the cloud) to ensure documents are kept safe. Alternatively, for companies in industries that must handle paper documents, a document management system lets a company store physical backups in a secure location elsewhere instead of in the office.
Secure Your Office Documents Now with RJ Young
Document management is a valuable asset to companies for many reasons, not the least of which include disaster planning. Often, a document represents an irreplaceable asset, which makes it crucial to safeguard.
Many hazards exist when it comes to operating a business, and it is impossible to prepare for all of them. However, by implementing a solid document management strategy, a company can significantly mitigate the chances that it will become a part of the statistic of businesses that close permanently after a disaster.
RJ Young helps companies secure their documents. Get started now discussing how a document management system can help.