Career Woman

How to keep documents safe from natural disasters

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As humans, many of our dealings are always exposed to risks. Whether it is a sudden fire in your restaurant kitchen or damage to your home by a sudden high magnitude earthquake. Depending on the nature of the accident, you may suffer a dire loss of assets, documents or even our lives. The most recent wildfires such as those in California and Australia, have cost businesses over billions of dollars in lost assets as well as productivity.

There is so much you can lose as a business simply by losing important documents. These documents include contracts, financial documentation, licensing permits and other similar documents. Think of this, when an earthquake or flash floods hit, you really don’t have the time to salvage anything other than just making sure you are safe. So it is during this time when the majority of your assets are lost.

Of course, you can invest in special equipment to use in emergencies such as overhead sprinklers, an efficient fire extinguisher or even purchase homeowners insurance – but the losses still exist. Even with all these resources, risks are not mitigated all the way. With our ever growing dependency on the virtual world, there is always a way out.

And as much as it may come with shortcomings it also comes with a helping hand. Thus, there are several ways to keep your assets safe in the virtual world. To protect your business documents and other important papers you can always save them online. However, you will have to turn them into digital copies.

Cloud technology for documents safe keeping

When it was introduced, cloud technology sounded like rocket science to many, especially the non tech-savvy. However, over the years, cloud technology is becoming more popular with both small and large businesses. This is because it offers quite generous storage space to store your files and folders. Plus, the service has become quite cheap

Recently, third party services such as Google Cloud, Dropbox, Amazon drive and many others, have introduced a similar service, allowing you to store important documents off site. So you always have your documents on your fingertips. No matter the natural disaster, your documents are always safe in cloud storage.

As time goes by, these services get better with each update. Currently, you can set your cloud storage with an automatic sync process. So you don’t have to worry about spending too much time manually backing up your data. Additionally, these cloud technology services also offer considerably good security.

Making a digital copy of documents adds an overload of securing it from cyber threats because PDFs can have the virus too. As a bonus, most of these services come with free storage space and require purchasing more at a smaller fee.

Using independent servers

We always hear this term used in some of those geeky or law enforcement Hollywood movies. Yes, these in-house servers do exist. And for a business, it is not bad to invest in one. If your business is so concerned about security, then an in-house server may be a great idea. To avoid crashing and failing risks always remember to build your servers with redundancy in mind.

Thus, an in-house server on its own doesn’t offer that much help in case of a disaster such as fires, flooding or an earthquake. Because, just as your other devices in house, the servers will break down and get damaged as well. So, you must have back up servers off site. This option, therefore, can be a little pricey. So depending on your business, it may work some and not for others.

The good ‘OL external hard drives and USB sticks

In today’s world, it may appear strange to come across a business owner or student who doesn’t at least own even a USB stick with the tinniest storage space. For smaller businesses, you don’t have to throw in your arm and leg to invest in fancy servers that will probably eat through three quarters of your annual revenue.

A good quality external hard drive will do the trick. And the advantage is that It is portable and lightweight, thus, allowing you to carry it anywhere with you. And yeah, it an EXTERNAL disk so you don’t have to fumble with the interior of your Desktop PC in case of emergencies.  The shortcomings to these smaller devices are that they may suddenly stop working, get damaged or get lost. So to keep from losing your valuable data, always back up the data in multiple devices.

Storing physical copies off site

It doesn’t hurt to go old school by duplicating copies of your documents and storing them offsite. Sometimes, you may have an arsenal of documents and digitizing some may be impractical. Or you may simply want to have physical copies as well. Thus, you can always make copies and store them in offsite storage facilities, bank vaults or even in your home office, if you are a small business owner. This option is also great for storing the original copies of your documents.

Protecting the physical storage space

At the stage we are at, maintaining physical files and documents should be regarded as a backup for document storage. However, even with your back up documentation, you must ensure you store them in a safe environment. Options for physical storage such as bank vaults have their share of security and protection which is normally entrusted to the bank.

However, if you intend to store your documents and files in your home office, commercial storage spaces or even in the office, put measures to protect the document. Invest in waterproof and fireproof high density metal cabinets and safe boxes, for example.

The quest for protecting your assets shouldn’t be a painstaking job, especially with the constant revolutionary changes in our virtual world. Sure, we cannot mitigate the risks of all impending losses in case of natural disasters. However, there are several ways (which can be applied concurrently) to ensure that your most important documents are kept safe even amid a natural disaster.

About Pranchil Pandey

Pranchil Pandey is an IT specialist who devotes most of her time to helping businesses protect their systems.

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