Planning for the Unpredictable

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Local expert gives hurricane season tips to business owners

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Losing information could mean the loss of your business, no matter how big or how small a company is, so developing a plan to protect your data is crucial. - Marshall Stevens, co-owner of Stevens & Stevens Business Records Management.

Disasters seem to strike at the most inopportune times. With forecasters predicting up to 14 named hurricanes in the Atlantic region this year, businesses need to have a plan in place to protect their information and ensure continuity.

“All too often, business owners assume their business won’t be affected by a hurricane, and if they are, they can easily recover lost information and records,” said Marshall Stevens, co-owner of Stevens & Stevens Business Records Management, a full-service records storage and management center specializing in disaster recovery planning. “The truth is, we never know who or what will be affected by a hurricane. Losing information could mean the loss of your business, no matter how big or how small a company is, so developing a plan to protect your data is crucial.”

Stevens says business owners with an executable disaster recovery plan should consider the following questions:

  •     Can I access my information no matter the day or time? – If the building you’re storing records in is locked during certain hours, make sure you have a key so you can still access the information. For extra reassurance, seek out a solution that will convert hard copy files into an electronic format that can be accessed through a secure online “virtual” file room.
  •     Do I have back-ups of all important information? – Typically, the more effort that a business owner puts into preparing and storing back-ups of both hard copy and electronic files, the easier it will be to recover from a storm.
  •     Are my back-up files and plan stored in multiple locations? – Hurricanes have the potential of wiping out entire buildings and towns, so store back-ups in multiple locations and regions.
  •     Are files and my disaster recovery plan in a secure location? – Find a location that will not only withstand high sustained winds but also protects information from falling into the wrong hands.
  •     Do enough people know about the plan and where it’s stored? – If only one person knows about the plan and where it’s stored, your company could still be at great risk. Make sure information about your plan is communicated frequently with key personnel.

During disaster recovery planning, Stevens says business owners may want to consider speaking with a firm that specializes in disaster recovery and document protection. “Seek out a firm that can not only give you ideas on how and what to protect, but also has a records storage facility that can withstand high sustained winds, is equipped with motion detection and can provide an electronic-conversion solution. This way, if you choose to house your disaster recovery plan and information with the firm, you know it’s safe,” he said.    

Remember, hurricane season doesn’t have to be an uneasy period for business owners. “By taking the time now to develop a disaster recovery plan, you can focus on resuming operations after a storm has hit, rather than wondering whether your business will even survive,” said Stevens.

Stevens & Stevens Business Records Management is a full-service records storage and management center providing services throughout the Tampa Bay area. For more information, visit http://www.ssbrm.com and follow Stevens & Stevens on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/StevensBRM or on Facebook at: http://facebook.com/ssbrm.

Media Contact:
Beth Kneisler
Leonard & Finco Public Relations
(920) 965-7750

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