What does hurricanes Andrew in 1992, Charlie and Frances in 2004, Katrina and Wilma and Ivan and Rita in 2005, Ike in 2008, Irene in 2011 and Sandy in 2012 have in common? And what about the EF-5 tornado in Joplin, Mo. in 2011? And let’s not forget the wild fires in California? What do all of these have in common?
In each and every single one of them countless businesses were either washed, blown away or burned down forever. Many of the businesses might have recovered if they had a proper Disaster Recovery Plan in place. Granted in 1999 – 2005 Disaster Recovery Plans (or DRP) might have been nothing more but a pipe dream or obscure term for most while in later years some businesses started to adopt them. Those that did stood a better chance of recovering.
A paperless office solution not only can reduce the amount of paper that you print, but can be an integral part of your DRP. With the advent and new changes in technology part of any DRP should include some form of hosted paperless office.
In the event of a disaster where your building is inaccessible, damaged or destroyed, all of your paper documents will become useless. As you can imagine that alone can put you out of business. By making your printouts as electronic documents and placing them onto a secure hosted location on the internet using a paperless office solution can help bring your business back from a disaster quickly. All you need to do is access your electronic documents any time, any place with an internet connection.
Paperless offices can handle most any type of electronic document like PDF’s, spreadsheets, word processing documents, AutoCad drawings, photographs and graphics and more. Adding physical paper to the paperless office is as simple as scanning them into the solution and directing them into the appropriate categories. Most copiers today have scanning capabilities built into them already that allow you to scan to a location on a server or PC as a .PDF, .JPG or .TIFF. And many will also OCR the PDF’s for you as well. From there all you need to do is migrate them into your paperless office.
By being very diligent in creating and storing your documents electronically, especially mission critical ones the destruction of your building will become more of an inconvenience than anything else. OK, granted it would be a major headache and inconvenience but at least you potentially would not be out of business and have a greater chance of recovery.
What types of documents could you consider as mission critical that you need for recovery in the event of a disaster?
- Copies of leases
- Insurance papers
- Bank and credit statements
- Receipts and packing slips from vendors
- Physical inventories sheets
- Deposit slip receipts
- Job applications
- Employee records
- In essence, anything on paper
With a hosted paperless office solution the provider can customize the paperless solution to fit your business structure including showing you how to limit who can access what documents. As an example you certainly would not want a routine clerk having access to payroll information so various levels of security can be set up. You would need to check with the solution provider about setting this up.
Who can benefit from setting up a paperless office solution? Everyone. There is no business to small or too large that cannot benefit from some form of paperless office. Especially for disaster recovery. And you do not need to go insane and make everything paperless. Just start with the most critical documents and move onto others.
As a homeowner or renter you too can benefit from this as well using the same scanning technology only on a smaller scale. From here the home owner or renter can scan all of their documents and save them into a hosted paperless office just like any business in the event their home is destroyed.
Granted a paperless office solution will not eliminate all of your paper but with proper use a paperless office solution can reduce your paper flows and it can help save your business in the event of a disaster. You just may even qualify for an insurance break for having a DRP and especially one with a hosted paperless office solution. But check with your broker.