Document Disaster Preparedness
How to Protect Yourself from Information Loss Due to a Disaster
For most organizations, it’s not if a disaster will happen, but when it will happen and how severe it will be. Nearly three out of four organizations (73%) are at risk of failing to recover from a serious outage or disaster, according to the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council.
What follows is an overview of how to protect mission-critical documents in the event of a natural, man-made, or IT disaster. Although this is not the same as a disaster recovery plan, your first focus should be on preventing or minimizing information loss.
How to Develop a Records Disaster Preparedness Plan
The first step is to inventory your most critical documents. You may be wondering what constitutes a critical document, and how long you need to keep those documents. The most obvious definition of a mission-critical document is any document that your organization can’t afford to lose. Additionally, make sure to include documents regulated by state and federal compliance standards.
There are numerous laws and regulations regarding document retention, including tax audit procedures by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), employment laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (ERISA), and mandates by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). To help you get started on a critical document inventory, consider our example Document Retention Schedule with links to state-specific guidelines: