It’s a horrific loss to cultural heritage whenever an iconic structure and its precious contents go up in smoke, like the recent Notre Dame fire in Paris. Notre Dame isn’t just an old historic building, a symbol of the City of Light. It held a collection of some of Europe’s most important Gothic and Renaissance art works, and unlike replaceable (albeit not original) architectural features, a number of those art works are now gone forever.
The lesson reaches far beyond libraries, museums, and other cultural repositories, however. Disasters, whether fire- or weather-related, almost never allow time for the protection of essential items, whether they’re works of art or vital business documents. Notre Dame reminds us that, no matter what sort of organization you’re operating, disaster planning makes survival and recovery possible.
A key element of disaster planning for any enterprise is deciding in advance what documents and other media must be protected, and how best to protect them. Fireproof files are one way to preserve paper documents, tape, and film. These insulated cabinets protect contents from temperatures up to 1700 degrees, for up to 3 hours. If the floor burns away, fireproof files can withstand a drop of up to 30 feet without damage to the contents, and during clean-up, their locking mechanisms prevent unauthorized access.
Document conversion (digitizing) or imaging is another way to guard against the loss of important media. For paper documents in particular, conversion offers multiple benefits. These processes create digital versions of your original paper documents, suitable for cloud storage, physical drives, or both. Regulated industries are especially concerned about the loss of paper documents, putting organizations in a non-compliant situation with no way to recover missing records. With important documents safely stored on remote servers, compliance is ensured even when offices are destroyed.
Fires strike more than 3,000 U.S. offices per year, with fire and sprinkler damage amounting to $112 million annually. FEMA estimates that 40% of businesses never re-open after a disaster. With so much at stake, it’s just good business sense to plan for a worst-case scenario, then put safe, secure storage between you and disaster.
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