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Preserving Strategic Knowledge Assets before Disaster Strikes

How long can your business survive without access to its digital and print assets?

With Superstorm Sandy damage reaching into the billions of dollars, we have not even begun to put a price tag on the loss of digital and paper assets which are a major part of the strategic knowledge of any organization.

Is your organization prepared to protect its strategic knowledge assets in paper and digital formats? Do you have a plan? If so, has it been updated lately to reflect changes in technology, assets and staffing?

Natural disasters (such as storms, earthquakes, fires and floods), manmade disasters (such as chemical or water spills and electrical outages), political disasters (such as riots and terrorism) and electronic warfare (such as computer viruses) should all be planned for.

Here are some mitigation tips and ways to plan for disaster before it strikes:

1. Data storage and digital assets: In the case of data stored in the cloud, be sure that offsite redundant and backup servers are in both near and distant geographic locations. If one or more server facilities go down or are destroyed, you want to be sure your data is secure and accessible. I had one client who had a roof collapse at the main office, flooding everything, but they were able to operate and serve clients with barely a hiccup when the backup servers kicked in.

2. Paper Assets: Most organizations and individuals still retain many paper assets. Contrary to popular belief, those assets may never be digitized due to cost or sheer size of such a project. Some paper assets could be completely destroyed in a fire or soaked in a flood or by fire hoses. The building where they are housed may be inaccessible for several days or weeks. Even if those assets are completely lost, having a system in place to identify lost records is vital. Document management comes into play here with accompanying classification systems, taxonomies, and indexing to identify paper and digital assets.

3. Identify key personnel who can be in charge or summoned without delay when disaster strikes. Who will this be and how will they work if they cannot get to the worksite in case of closed or destroyed roads or facilities?

These are just some ideas for your organization’s disaster plan. It can cover much more and should be customized to your needs.

What are you waiting for? Find and dust off that disaster plan to update it. Don’t have one? Don’t delay. Implement the plan and test it. Update it at pre-determined intervals. When disaster strikes, you will be prepared to deal with it and have your organization up and running again in the most efficient and fastest way possible.


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