When it comes to business continuity and disaster recovery planning, an area commonly overlooked is document management. By this we mean what will you do about your paperwork if the worst happens?
Imagine a situation where your building is destroyed or is totally inaccessible for a period of time. In this scenario all the documents that you regularly use are either gone or you can't get to them. What do you do? An important contract, a legal document, an invoice perhaps? Suddenly, they are gone and without that valuable contract you can't proceed, the legal document now must be re-written, and that invoice is now overdue, and you are being penalised. Sometimes a copy of these documents is with the originator elsewhere, but often it's the original and only copy that has gone.
All these situations can be avoided by integrating a proper document management system into your organisation. The great thing is that it's not just used for disaster recovery and it can be used daily to make your organisation more efficient. This means the ROI is fast and not just seen as an expense that won't ever be utilised - much like some may view an insurance policy.
Disaster Recovery Plan
Disaster recovery and business continuity planning shouldn't be viewed as a one-time event. Good DR/BC requires ongoing management. Integrating a document management system into this ongoing management is an important step.
Traditionally disaster recovery planning and business continuity planning focusses on areas including IT infrastructure, backups, telecoms, relocation and communication. If your disaster recovery plan has a tick next to all these, then it's time to look at your paper documents and really make your planning water tight.
Step 1 - Document Audit
Make an appraisal of the paper documents that are currently in your company. Questions you need to ask include: How many have you got, how often are they used, who uses them, how important are they, are there any copies elsewhere?
Step 2 - Document Digitisation
Document digitisation, often referred to as document scanning is the important step away from paper. Scanning your documents comes with several benefits including freeing up office space, greatly improving document security, easily sharing documents and most importantly it forms an important step in disaster recovery planning.
Step 3 - Implementing a Cloud Document Management System
Getting your documents digitised is all well and good, but how will you access them, control them and make them work for you? Dropping them on a network drive is fine, this can be backed up and a certain degree of user access can be implemented. A far better solution is a Cloud Document Management System. At Restore we offer two products eView and DocuWare Cloud - both cost effective cloud-based systems suitable for businesses of all sizes.
Step 4 - Maintaining Paperless Working
Once your documents have been scanned and loaded into eView or DocuWare it's important to maintain your paperless ways. Paper is constantly entering your building and being produced internally. It's important to digitise incoming documents either via a scanner or multifunction printer. Secondly, reducing and removing paperwork generated internally is also critical. Stop printing such things as emails and proposals - these can all be stored and shared in eView or DocuWare Cloud.