Just four days ago, the New York fire department was finally able to put an end to the fire that ravaged a Brooklyn warehouse full of city records, which burned for almost a week and brought on tremendous consequences. Hundreds of thousands of boxes of records were damaged, resulting in a significant loss to organizations such as the Health and Hospitals Corporation, the Administration for Children’s Services, and the health department.
In addition to the loss of information, the fire caused a loss of privacy for some as well, as sensitive documents from those boxes could be found blowing around outside throughout the week. While some New York residents are concerned about the possibility of identity theft, others, like Manhattan attorney Robert Vilensky, are dealing with lost documents they personally stored in the warehouse. Vilensky is the first to bring the city to court over the incident and is suing for $20 million.
However dire the situation may seem, there is a ray of hope from the Health and Hospitals Corporation, who took one of the biggest hits with 143,000 boxes of damaged records. A spokesman for the H.H.C. informed the New York Times that, “Fortunately, as an early adopter of electronic medical record systems, H.H.C. keeps vital patient records in electronic form, and we do not anticipate this will affect our patient care operations.”
The New York warehouse fire illustrates perfectly the importance of information risk management and should make us wonder, “What is the liability if the unthinkable occurs and the records we have entrusted to a third party are destroyed? And is there an approach that provides the organizational benefits of offsite storage without the risk and liability?” The answer is yes, by following the example of the H.H.C and managing our information electronically. It will always be cheaper to convert paper to digital documents than to recover from a disastrous loss of information such as this, especially after taking into account the legal ramifications and the loss of public trust.
There are many measures that can be put in place to guard or restore your data and ensure business continuity in the case of a disaster, but it’s difficult to keep paper completely safe from the elements. When records are stored in their physical form, there is no backup file to restore from and no data encryption to protect sensitive information from prying eyes.
In spite of this, 55% of respondents to a Fujitsu report admitted they have no plans in place for the recovery of their paper files in case of a disaster, and 65% answered they would have moderate to severe trouble restoring their lost information. Keeping only one physical copy of one of your business’s most important assets is not only inefficient and expensive, but risky. It should be a risk you’re not willing to take. That loss of trust is hard to overcome.
If the recent disaster of an offsite facility has raised questions about information risk management within your organization, or if you’re just ready for a more efficient, safer way to manage your organization’s important information, contact DataBank to learn more about our conversion services.
Did you know digitizing your paper files is just the first step to eliminating the paper from your processes? Watch our webinar recording below – “What does Paperless Really Mean – 5 Stages of Efficiency.”