Hurricane season is in full swing and with it, a heightened sense of urgency about preparing your business for a big storm and the hassles that come with it.
At Gilmore Services, one of the most common questions we hear at this time of year is:
How can I secure my business data during hurricane season?
That’s an important question, and one you can’t afford to ignore. We might not get a big storm this year, but the possibility and probability of that threat will come back year after year. Here’s what you need to do to secure your business data.
Identify Your Key Business Data
The first step is to identify the key business data that you need to keep your business running. If it’s been a while since you took inventory of your data, this is a good time to do it.
- Make a comprehensive list of your data and where it’s stored
- Note any document destruction, storage, and related compliance issues
- Note the kind of storage involved (physical documents, scanned documents, removable hard drives, etc.
You can’t protect your business data if you don’t have a handle on what you’ve got.
Create a Disaster Recovery Plan
The next step is to create a disaster recovery plan for your business. Your plan should include:
- A disaster checklist
- An emergency response plan (including an employee notification system)
- A complete inventory of critical business resources
- A data storage and backup system
- Emergency supplies
- A document management partner like Gilmore Services
Once you’ve got your disaster recovery plan in place, make sure to test it to ensure that everyone understands it and knows what to do in the aftermath of a hurricane.
When you work out your data storage and backup system, make sure that you embrace redundancy. Having your most important business data stored in more than one place (and possibly in more than one format) is essential when you’re prepping for hurricane season.
Here’s a simple example. Say you’ve got physical records that are essential to your business. If they’re only available on paper, a flood or fire could destroy them, and you’d have no way to recover them. If you’d scanned those items and stored them securely, then destruction of the paper versions wouldn’t be more than an inconvenience.
Ideally, your data recovery system should be accessible from anywhere. Cloud-based backups and storage are ideal for disaster recovery because you won’t need to leave your home to get what you need.
Store Your Physical Records Safely
The final thing to do to protect your business data ahead of a hurricane is to make sure that your physical records are stored in a secure location.
For business data, that means:
- Storing your business data off site, so that if your office is damaged, your records will be safe
- Evaluating your data management partner to ensure that their facility is protected against floods, high winds, fires, and security breaches
- Maintaining a chain of custody for all essential business documents
Before you partner with a storage or document management company, make sure to do adequate research. You’ll need someone who screens their employees, understands regulatory requirements, and takes the physical security of your records seriously.
The thought of losing your most valuable business data to a hurricane is an unsettling one. Fortunately, there are things you can do to ensure that doesn’t happen – and the information we’ve included here will help you prepare for the worst.
Is your company ready for hurricane season? Click here to learn more about Gilmore Services data management and storage services.