As an organization grows, it begins housing tons of information in the digital and physical format in its belly. An organization’s records can be thought of as the ‘blood’ (information) that flows through several ‘veins’ (Departments & processes) and keeps operations alive. Day-to-day crucial business processes, client/customer information, finance & tax information, compliance and legal operations rely on efficient Records Management. If anything halts the healthy Records Ecosystem within a company, chaos ensues. And, imagine lest a disaster strike that obliterates sensitive records and data! This scenario becomes even more critical when Government PSUs face Record & information disasters.
Fires, floods, earthquakes, pest-infestation, human-errors, malicious intents and a plethora of other man-made or natural scenarios can arise anytime. And, time and again, we come across cases where organizational records get damaged beyond recovery due to such incidents.
And so, we bring you this post. It is a quick Guide to Managing Record Disasters for Government PSUs in case such a situation arises.
Let us get started!
Preparation for your critical records in the event of a disaster can be divided into two parts- Pre-Disaster Control & Post-Disaster Management.
Pre-Disaster Control in Records Management
Pre-Disaster Control is the foremost part of preparing your records to survive any unforeseen mishap. It includes the following steps;
Formulate a Disaster Prevention & Recovery Plan
It is advised that organizations form a committee or a separate team to undertake this responsibility. The first step will be to formulate a disaster recovery plan, followed by drafting a Records recovery manual. The plan must encompass everything- from first response to emergency procedures. Once this is done, the Records Recovery Plan/Manual can be crafted that must address;
- Identification of the highly-critical documents, records and Data storages necessary for business continuity and any liability whatsoever.
- How will the physical records be recovered if damaged? Is there a need to create duplicate copies and would that be feasible?
- Is there a backup for digital records?
- Options for Off-site Records Storage
- Recovery plan as per varying emergency scenarios
It must be noted that the above process will vary for each organization as per their structure, space, and exposure to possible risks that can destroy records.
Note: Remember to highlight the ‘Recovery Procedures’ section in the manual within a red tab. This will help in identifying critical records that need to be preserved in the time of emergency & panic.
Training Team Members
A plan can only be successful if its makers and followers have the right ‘know-how’ to execute it when the time comes. Your Records Disaster recovery plan will only be as effective as the team members responsible for handling it. It is vital that your team members are adequately trained for;
- Curating and locating critical records
- Executing emergency records recovery procedure as per the manual
- Protecting the integrity and sanctity of the Records and organizational data
Preparation is the key to mitigate any possible risk pertaining to your organizational records. Let us move on to Post-Disaster Records Management.
Post-Disaster Records Management
Alarming the people on the premises is the first step. A standard alarm system installed in the building will do the job. As soon as this is done, call the emergency services if the disaster is physical and life-threatening. Now, moving on to preservation of records. Here are the steps to follow;
- Summon your designated Records Disaster Management team and assess the situation.
- Refer to the Records Disaster Recovery manual.
- Preserve as many records as possible depending upon the type and nature of the crisis.
To increase the odds of perfect disaster recovery and seamless business continuity after an incident, keep the following tips in mind;
- Use offsite Records Storage & Management for maximum redundancy. You can even use RMS Vendors for the same to reduce your in-house workload.
- Use adequate safety measure in the organizational premises (like fire hydrants, alarms, biometric records-access, etc.).
- Training your employee teams can help reduce such risks significantly.
Keep the above guide points in mind. These are meant not just for Government PSUs but all the organizations. Foster a culture of ‘Best Records Management’ practices and mitigate any unforeseen risk pertaining to your Records and information.