As an experienced provider of business transcription services, we ensure quality conversion of audio/video to text, which is critical for efficient electronic records management and safe document storage. In fact, a company’s data is one of its most valuable assets and National Preparedness Month (NPM) which falls in September is the best time to rev up record keeping and other workplace safety practices.
Launched in 2004, National Preparedness Month (NPM) is an observance sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to raise awareness about emergencies, natural disasters, and other unpredictable events. The key message of NPM 2018 is: “Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How”.
Document management is a crucial task for both large and small businesses, to lessen risks and carry out daily tasks efficiently. Here are some steps that businesses can take to create a preparedness plan to protect their data and communication network:
- Conduct a records survey: Businesses should first conduct a records survey to locate and identify all of their important records, such as customer lists, invoices, personnel files, tax records, etc. Information can be stored on office and home computers, smartphones, networks, personal drives, laptops and other devices and also as paper records. The information can be collected by conducting a physical survey or via a questionnaire. Conducting a survey of all the existing records is important to gain control over them and manage them efficiently by improving the retention schedule or filing scheme.
- Make the retention/disposal decision: To streamline data management and prepare for emergencies, decide which documents you should keep and which you should discard. It is easier and more cost-effective to protect a smaller amount of vital data. Determine which format or formats you want to store your files in and how you can store them so that they will be easily accessible in the short-term and long run. Formulate a plan to dispose of material that you do not need.
- Consider a cloud-based storage system: With a cloud-based storage system, businesses can ensure that their information will be safe and accessible at all times, even in the event of a natural disaster. In the 2015 annual Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark Survey, more than 36 percent of companies reported having lost vital applications or data files for hours at a time in 2014, with about one in five companies reporting that they lost critical applications for several days. By implementing a suitable cloud storage solution, companies can act easily and promptly when faced with any crisis. Other options to back up important information include flash drives, external hard drives, and online back-up. Don’t forget to take steps to consider encryption for sensitive information and keep your back-up files up to date.
- Have proper communications strategies: Ensuring proper communication with staff is crucial to business success and to avoid chaos. This is even more critical in the event of a disaster. Providing employees with laptops and cell phones has become a necessity to ensure that they stay connected. Video conferencing tools allow them to hold meetings regardless of their location, and records of these meetings can be preserved with the help of a video transcription service.
- Educate staff on the emergency plan and test it: Conduct a thorough data security training program targeting all employees, including contract workers and temporary workers. It is important that businesses test their disaster preparedness plan periodically and monitor effectiveness. Everyone should be aware of the plan and how to implement it in the event of an emergency. Maintain communication with staff about data security via newsletters, email, login reminders, and other internal channels.
Various organizations across the nation are participating in NPM and offer valuable guidance on how individuals and communities can be prepared for natural disasters like wildfires, hurricanes and earthquakes. Readygov’s recommendations for NPM are:
- Make and practice your emergency plan: Every family should have an emergency plan that includes plans for children, seniors, disabled, and also pets. Know the types of disasters that could affect your area and how to contact your family and reconnect if separated.
- Learn lifesaving skills: Life-saving skills, such as CPR, can prove invaluable in an emergency situation, so learn these skills in advance.
- Check your coverage: Verify insurance policies and coverage needed in your area for tornadoes, floods or earthquakes.
- Save for an emergency: Having financial resources to cope when disaster strikes is important.
September is National Preparedness Month is the perfect time to re-examine your organization’s preparedness program and participate in the national campaign to prepare for disasters. National Preparedness Month culminates with FEMA’s National Preparedness Day on September 30 – make the best use of the many resources available to protect your business, family and community!