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Published on May 31st, 2013 | by admin

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How Managing Your Records Helps Freelancers Recover From Disaster

Although you hope it never happens, history has shown that disaster is very capable of striking when you least expect it. With ocean levels on the rise and weather patterns continuously changing, the UK is at a significant risk for flood damages – In fact, approximately 40% of businesses who are unable to recover their records within three days of a disaster will eventually go out of business.

When you are a freelancer, this has a potential to be particularly devastating as your home and work records might frequently be stored in the same location. What about fires? Unless you have a clear plan set in place for managing your records, you could find yourself in serious trouble.  As you don’t have a corporate backup procedure to fall back on, it’s wise to create a disaster recovery plan of your own. By following this simple guide, you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that, come what may, your records and your business will be protected.

5 Steps to Creating a Disaster Recovery Plan

  • 1. Prioritise:
  •  When planning your data recovery procedure, check with all interested parties to ensure you are on the same page with regards to managing your records. The priorities of the company that you are working for, in terms of what records they’ll need to recover, for example, must be weighed against the records that the government will need and those that only apply to you home life. You need to make sure that, in the event of a disaster; you understand which parties should be notified.

  • 2. Appoint Roles: 
  • A chain-of-command and a salvage team must be assembled so that everyone has a clear understanding of their roles in the event of a disaster. Leaders must be appointed to approve salvage plans and have purchasing abilities, while a second salvage team should also be assembled as a means of recovering records. A ‘first-responder’ should be appointed as the initial point of contact should a disaster arise. This individual will be responsible for telephoning two or three individuals, who are then expected to each ring two or three other individuals and so-on until all of the team has been assembled.

  • 3. Involve Outside Authorities:
  •  It’s smart to involve the fire brigade or civil defence departments in your plans for managing your records in the event of a disaster. The police, for example, may be able to offer helpful procedures for dealing with intruders or pillagers, whereas the fire department can advise on making sure that your most important records are stored safely and securely and they are most likely to be recoverable (protection against water damage is one of the main things that people forget about the risk of fires)

  • 4. Prepare a Salvage Kit:
  •  Be prepared for any on-site conditions during the overhaul after a disaster strikes. Creating a salvage kit and keeping it near the vital records could significantly speed up the process and enhance safety. Consider including items like face masks (to protect against mould spores), a disposable camera for insurance purposes, freezer bags, waterproof pens, squeegee mops, paper towels, wet-dry vacuum cleaners, dehumidifiers, fans, etc.

  • 5. Store Backups Offsite: 
  • Backup copies of contracts, financial documents, personal records, etc. should always be stored in a secure, offsite location. Be sure to enquire as to whether the storage facility of your choosing is fireproofed or secure against potential water damage. You may also consider managing your records in a cloud-based storage system. Document scanning services from Iron Mountain will scan and catalogue your paper records so that you can keep essential copies of all your documents and by digitising your records, you will be able to quickly access them, regardless of what happens.

In addition to following these 5 steps, it’s also wise to purchase insurance policies that specifically protect against damages from fires and flooding. By preparing yourself now, you’ll find that the process of managing your records in the event of an emergency is far less stressful, ensuring that you and your business can recover as quickly as possible.

Written by: Scott Bryan is a financial blogger who enjoys explaining the arcane world of finance in everyday terms. Formerly a high street bank manager for over thirty years, he knows that everyone has unique requirements and so is dedicate to helping you find the right solution for you. He now works as a freelance financial writer when not consulting.


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