Hurricane Season is Here. Do you Have a Disaster Recovery Plan?


While today, Tuesday, June 1, marks the official start of the 2021 hurricane season, we’ve already had our first named storm – Ana – which formed on May 22nd. The National Hurricane Center expects a more active than normal season, with 13 to 20 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes.

Though last year forced most businesses to make major strides in the effort to digitalize, there are still many companies that are heavily reliant on paper records. In detailing the havoc caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, AHIMA wrote, “In a matter of hours, 400,000 medical records were reduced to pulp.” Simply put, it doesn’t matter the level of disaster or type of emergency, at the end of the day, you can still be liable.

And even when you are able to digitize certain records, there are some things that must be stored physically. The New York Times chronicles the recovery of physical evidence, including DNA, from a warehouse in the aftermath of 2013’s Hurricane Sandy:

Longstanding problems in the vast police storage system have compounded the storm’s effects.

While the department now puts bar codes on evidence, it relied on paper records until a few years ago. The antiquated system still provides the only way to track millions of items in the department’s 11 storage areas.

‘It was all piles — piles, piles, piles,” said John W. Cassidy, a retired officer who spent more than a decade in the property division. “It’s not like it was organized. You could have 50 vouchers on one pile.’

Waiting until a hurricane – or any other natural disaster – hits is never a good plan.

It will almost always end up being more expensive, more intensive and more time consuming than a proactive approach.

Use the start of hurricane season as a prompt to review your company’s disaster recovery plan every single year.

And if you don’t have a disaster recovery plan, make one. In the aftermath of a disaster, getting your business back online is crucial to survival. According to research from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 40 percent of businesses do not reopen following a disaster; an additional 25 percent fail within one year. Having a disaster recovery plan can help your business reopen its doors quickly and efficiently and avoid becoming a statistic. SRS has helped many businesses in North Florida and South Georgia create recovery plans that make the most sense for your business. Our comprehensive services include Software selection & implementation for digitization efforts, document policy development, workflow design, compliance risk management, paper-to-digital conversion, retention strategy & management, dynamic filing systems, ongoing training for your staff, and information governance programs.

Often times, we see businesses in the “muddy middle” straddling paper and digital records. A common example of this is a business that has current records housed digitally but historic records or rarely used records that are necessary for retention are kept in hard copy storage. While having current records digitized could help you get back on your feet quickly in the aftermath of a hurricane, any damage to your physical records could leave your businesses exposed or possibly liable. And dealing with destroying old records after the storm – is a laborious and costly endeavor. By purging old records that are no longer necessary through SRS, we are able to bring secure document shredding services right to your business’s door with the option to witness the secure destruction of your files. Our mobile shredding trucks can shred up to 6,000 pounds of paper per hour. No option is more secure and comforting than having your files destroyed at your location, while watching the entire process.

For the items that you just can’t digitize, consider offsite storage.

SRS applies the same security and logistics advantages of our record storage business to our asset management business. We offer a variety of storage needs from climate controlled/ambient temperature to state-of-the-art fireproof vaults. And in 2020, SRS received the PRISM Privacy + designation for its storage solutions. We are currently the only independent company to hold both the PRISM Privacy + and NAID AAA designations in the region. To receive this certification, SRS had to pass a stringent audit that reviewed 10 different areas of the business, including organization and management control, information security policy, human resources, vendor management, environmental controls, physical access controls, logical access controls, electronic access, and network security. This third-party verification enables you to fulfill your regulatory requirement of due diligence for the safety and storage of sensitive information. This provides an additional layer of security and protection to you, especially in the midst of hurricane season.

Natural disasters do not wait for those plans to be executed and will often strike without enough time to cobble together a last-minute plan.

So if creating a customized disaster recovery solution is of interest to you, give us a call. We will be happy to work with you to devise a customized, cost effective and efficient solution that will help navigate the 2021 hurricane season and beyond!


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