Hurricane season is here. And as always, with hurricanes comes the risk of damaged records and data. The primary natural disaster factors that can damage your information assets include water, wind, and fire. It’s important to have a Disaster Recovery Plan in place, which can take time, planning, and coordination. But there are a few things you can do immediately to prevent damage to your records.
David and Goliath
First, off, I’d like to dispel the myth that there’s not much you can do anyway. I mean, you can’t beat a hurricane, right? Well, you can’t stop a hurricane, but you can take some measures that can help protect your records and media tapes. With technology changing, the options to protect, back-up and restore your data are endless. For example, VeriTrust offers offsite data storage and management, but did you know that you can also scan and store your documents on an ECM system with us? Also, you should regularly back up your data on media tapes at an offsite location, and have it tracked and managed by a company like VeriTrust. But you don’t necessarily need technology to keep your documents safe. So where do you start? Easy. Start simple.
Get to higher ground
Houston is notorious for flooding. Being only about 47 feet above sea level and adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico, your business location in Houston has an inherit propensity for flooding. If you can move your records to at least 6 inches above the ground floor as recommended by the United Nations, then you’re already ahead of the game. If you can move them higher, then do so. How high is too high? Well, that all depends on your building permits and local fire codes. Contact your city’s permitting department for more details on high pile storage permits. When you choose a safe offsite records storage facility like VeriTrust to manage your records, these precautions are already taken into consideration. VeriTrust’s facility is on the northwest side of Houston, putting it at about 75 feet above sea level, higher than the average altitude for Houston. The building is elevated 4 feet off the ground, and each of the racking units is an additional 9 inches off the warehouse floor.
We’re not in Kansas anymore
Keep your records in a well-built regularly-maintained building made from strong reinforcing materials. I’m sorry to say that a cheaply made storage unit out in the boonies is not going to hold up against strong winds from a hurricane. And if a tornado pops up, you can say “so long” to your records. What if you do have a well-built facility? Well, that’s great news! But, where are your windows? Do windows line each wall of your building? If so, then you’ve got more risk, especially if your records and other valuable information data is near those windows. If you have records at your office, make sure you move them to a well ventilated (but not leaky) room with no windows. Don’t forget that humidity can wreck your documents in the long run, so make sure the temperature is kept within a reasonable range.
As much as you like fires and explosions in the movies or on TV, your file room is definitely not a great set for an action sequence that involves pyrotechnics. And no, a sprinkler system near your data tapes or servers is not the best fire extinguishing tool. You can use sprinkler systems in regular office areas and some storage areas, but when it comes to electronic equipment, a fire suppression system is the way to go. That’s why we use 3m Novec 1230 fire suppression system provided by FireLock in our media tape vault. In addition, our vault has high temperature insulation panels constructed from spun ceramic material capable of withstanding temperatures well above 2000° F.
So, don’t feel helpless against a goliath storm like a hurricane. There are things you can do like moving data to higher ground, moving data away from windows and to a center room that’s well-ventilated, and by making sure that fire prevention equipment is installed in your building. Most importantly, ensure that your data and records are backed up, stored, and managed at an off-site storage facility like VeriTrust.