Disaster-proofing documents after Hurricane Sandy

November 8, 2012

As Hurricane Sandy worked its way through the East Coast in late October, over 7.5 million businesses and households lost power, according to CNN. But, the effects of the loss of electricity went beyond those in Sandy’s path: the New York Stock Exchange closed for two days, many major websites, including The Huffington Post and Gawker, were shut down when New York-based internet service providers were caught in the storm, and flooding to the financial district caused potentially trillions of dollars worth of damage to stock certificates and paper securities.

The New York Branch of Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, which stores stock certificates in vaults is more concerned about theft, not flooding, according to Business Insider. About 3.6 million certificates were held in the vaults, which were still inaccessible due to flooding over a week after the storm hit. Though these certificates – some worth up to $10 million dollars each – are not typical pieces of paper, the importance of backing up and scanning data became especially clear after the storm.

For many businesses, the time to resume normal operations after a disaster, and then recover all their data, can convince them that managing solely paper records is not sufficient. The Authority on Managing Records and Information (ARMA) suggests that businesses use data entry services to back up records in three parts: records for emergency operations, those needed for businesses continuation and those needed for legal purposes.

“Without access to their vital records and information, organizations will have difficulty serving customers, securing new business or keeping up with the day-to-day activities needed to function in the face of a disaster,” read a statement by the ARMA.

For many businesses, using bulk scanning services to protect data can make operations not only more efficient and save space, but also help them retain information if disaster strikes.