Content Management Software"s Role in Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity

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Hurricanes.
Floods.
Tornadoes.
Vandalism.
Broken water pipes.
Arson.
The ever-present threat of terrorism.
It's not fear mongering to say disaster - natural or manmade - can strike your business at any time.
The large-scale disasters we have witnessed in recent years along with news headlines of terrorist attacks around the globe have organizations scrambling to review their business continuity and disaster recovery plans.
Electronic document management can play a key role in those plans.
Despite the introduction of new technologies to the workplace, as much as 90% of the documents we handle each day are paper-based.
Unquestionably, paper documents are more susceptible to damage, loss, theft and destruction than their electronic counterparts.
Managing documents electronically can minimize your risks and place the information you need to jump-start the disaster recovery process as close as your computer keyboard.
Electronic document management refers to software-based systems that help you store, index, find, retire, and maintain audit trails for documents (e.
g.
personnel files, W-2s, I-9s).
There are hundreds of document management solutions available on the market today.
They range from sophisticated, enterprise-wide solutions to systems designed specifically for H.
R.
and payroll functions.
In addition to supporting your disaster recovery and business continuity plan, an effective, electronic document management system can: o Provide executives and others Immediate access to critical information o Automate of reoccurring business processes o Enhance information sharing and collaboration among multiple users in geographically diverse locations o Improve data and document security Given the range of choices in the marketplace, many companies are tempted to jump into an RFP process to address their document management needs.
Unfortunately, this creates a whole new set of problems.
Instead of taking the time to identify and understand the root cause of your real business challenge - managing and protecting an ever-increasing amount of disparate and unorganized documents and corporate information - you divert your attention to learning about software features and benefits, license fee structures and other procurement issues.
Worse yet, you get inundated with RFP responses you may lack the time and subject-matter expertise to properly evaluate.
Before you evaluate solutions, it is crucial to understand your document management needs and processes.
You can, of course, perform that analysis yourself.
Or you can engage professional consulting services to help you assess issues such as: How many documents do you handle in a typical day, week or month? Who creates them? What format are they in? How are they stored? How long do you have to store them? Who retrieves them? How and when are they retrieved? Who needs information held on those documents? How often do they need it? Is there an audit trail? What are the consequences if the documents are tampered with, lost or destroyed? While electronic document management can reduce the volume, and therefore the risk and expense, of paper documents, it is not a panacea.
Once you've captured your documents electronically, it is crucial to assess how and where those images are stored.
Factors to consider regarding storage include: 1.
The server on which your images are stored should be housed in a locked, fireproof and flood-safe room.
2.
Maintain at least one copy of backup media.
3.
Store your back up media off-site in a locked, fireproof and flood-safe room.
4.
If your resources allow, store one copy of backup media in a geographically diverse location.
For example, if the home office is in New Orleans or Miami, store your backup media in Denver or Chicago.
The right document management system - coupled with an effective data backup and storage plan - secures important information and assures your data is available 24/7.
You trim costs, enhance productivity and improve customer satisfaction by empowering your staff with faster access to the H.
R.
and payroll information your executives and employees need.
Importantly, you enjoy peace of mind knowing that if a disaster were to strike your facility, you can protect your most important asset - information.
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