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Records Management: Disaster Recovery Plan for Offsite records storage

In my previous blog "Significance of Records Management and Types of Retention Policies"

www.infosysblogs.com/thought-floor/2013/09/significance_of_records_manage.html, we talked about a well-designed Retention Management solution. We saw how it provides a cost effective method to manage large volume of records and help to adhere to compliance standards.

In this blog I will try to cover the disaster recovery measures that can eliminate or at least minimize the loss incurred by the client in case of a man-made or a natural disaster at the Offsite storage Vendor site. We will try to put down Scenario based steps to be followed in such situation.

 

Several enterprises especially Banks, Insurance companies, Healthcare and Audit companies produce large volume of physical records which need to be properly stored, managed and reproduced as and when required. Based on the geo locations there are several compliances to be met and audits are performed. Various Offsite storage vendors engage with the client to perform this activity. The documents are assigned a RFID code and kept in boxes. In some cases the documents are scanned and the soft copy is stored in Physical CDs.

 

The physical records stored at the vendor site should be safe guarded and the vendor should have a disaster recovery plan in place for handling emergencies. Any accidental occurrence which can occur either by man-made or due to natural disaster can impact the vendor storage location.

 

In the event of occurrence of any disaster at the vendor site, perform the following activity.

 

1)     Vendor Account Representative must be contacted to confirm and verify if any disaster has actually occurred and if any of the records were affected

2)     The Vendor contract must be reviewed to see the terms & conditions put in such cases. Check the insurance coverage and monetary compensation clauses

3)     Send a representative to the vendor site and request the vendor to perform a thorough assessment of the damage to the inventory. The report should clearly specify if the records are recoverable or completely destroyed.

4)     Request the vendor to start the recovery process for records that are recoverable

 

Upon receipt of the vendor assessment report, the client team needs to locate the owner within its enterprise for the affected boxes. The boxes would be either destroyed in which case it cannot be recovered or it will be damaged in which case it will take some time for the vendor to recover. In addition to that either the team is able to locate the owner within the client enterprise or not. Based on these scenarios following steps should be taken:

 

Scenario 1: Records are Destroyed and Owner Located

 

1.     Inform the owner about the records that have been destroyed. Check if the owner can recreate it.

2.     If records can be recreated, Owner should create the documents for storage again and follow process for adding new boxes to inventory.

3.     Get the destruction certificate for any boxes permanently destroyed and place onto approved repository.

4.     The new inventory details should reflect in the inventory report received from vendor.

5.     Negotiate with the vendor to finalize agreement for any payment due to the damage

 

Scenario 2: Records are Destroyed and No Owner Located

 

1.     The Records Management team of the client should take ownership of such records

2.     Obtain a destruction certificate for any boxes permanently destroyed and place onto approved repository.

3.     The new inventory details should reflect in the inventory report received from vendor.

4.     Negotiate with the vendor to finalize agreement for any payment due to the damage

 

 

Scenario 3: Records are Damaged and Owner Located

 

1.     Request vendor to determine timeframe and the steps involved for recovery.

2.     Inform the owner about the damaged records and pass on the information obtained from vendor around steps and timeframe. 

3.     Follow up with vendor until process is completed.

4.     Inform the owner when records have been recovered.

5.     The new inventory details should reflect in the inventory report received from vendor.

6.     Negotiate with the vendor to finalize agreement for any payment due to the damage

 

Scenario 4:Records are Damaged and No Owner Located

 

1.     The Records Management team of the client should take ownership of such records

2.     Determine timeframe with vendor and steps involved for recovery.

3.     Follow up with vendor until process is completed.

4.     Make any changes to the global inventory tool.

5.     The new inventory details should reflect in the inventory report received from vendor.

6.     Negotiate with the vendor to finalize agreement for any payment due to the damage

 

The insurance coverage and the compensation clauses must be clearly stated in the contract.

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