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06.11.2009 Mario Rieger

Mario Rieger

Digitally signed by Mario Rieger DN: cn=Mario Rieger, o, ou, email=mario_rieger@w eb.de, c=US Reason: I am the author of this document Date: 2009.11.05 16:11:05 +01'00'

1.

W HAT IS THE OFFICIAL DEFINITION OF A V ITAL R ECORD ?
Vital Records are defined as records containing information essential to the survival of an organization in the event of a disaster whose instauration and/or recovery is not possible. Vital Records typically make up a small percentage of the vast amounts of the recorded data which is created by a typical organization - normally up to 5%. The range can vary depending on the business of the organization. However, a legal, medical, accounting and/or governmental organization may have a much higher proportion of active case files which are regarded as Vital Records.

2.

W HY DO V ITAL R ECORDS NEED TO BE PROTECTED ?
Vital Records will document an organization’s legal and financial positions and preserve the rights of employees, customers and stockholders in the event of a disaster. If a Vital Record is lost, damaged, destroyed or otherwise rendered unavailable, that loss becomes a disaster-within-a-disaster, affecting critical operations needed to recover from the initial disaster.

3.

W HAT FORMS OF RECORDE D DATA ARE USUALLY CATEGORI ZED AS “V ITAL ?”
Some common examples include: Contracts/agreements that prove ownership of property, equipment, vehicles, products, etc. Operational records such as current accounting and tax records, current personnel/payroll records, account histories, and shipping records Current client files Current standard operating procedures (SOPs) Produced reports and summaries Software source codes (to include both licensed programs and systems and custom developed applications)

4. W HAT IS A B USINESS C ONTINUITY /D ISASTER R ECOVERY (BC/DR) PLAN ?
A Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) plan serves as the main resource for the preparation for, response to, and recovery from, a disaster that affects any number of crucial functions in an organization.

5.

W HAT DOES BC/DR HAVE TO DO WITH V ITAL R ECORDS P ROTECTION ?
The foundation for developing a Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery plan lies in developing a method for the protection and preservation of Vital Records.

6. D OESN ’ T V ITAL R ECORDS P ROTECTION FALL UNDER THE CATEGORY OF “R ECORDS M ANAGEMENT ”?
A Vital Records program can be developed within the context of a formal records management program; however a formal records management program is not essential.

7.

I SN ’ T THIS JUST ONE EXTR A EXPENSE NO ONE NEEDS IN TODAY ’ S CUTTHROAT ECONOMY ?
Products (and services) which increase the protection of Vital Records should be viewed as an investment, not an expense like some other office equipment such as copiers, computers, faxes etc.

8.

H OW DOES AN ORGANIZATION ASSESS THE THREAT TO V ITAL R ECORDS ?
The first step is to identify specific risks, such as: facility and equipment hazards that can result in flooding to records storage areas, risky storage practices that increase the risk of fire, and periodic electric

storms or tornados that could endanger digitally stored Vital Records. With electronic data you also need to consider poor care or storage simple things such as spilled coffee, poor handling, etc.

9.

W HAT SPECIAL MEASURES SHOULD

BE TAKEN TO PROTECT COMPUTER MEDIA ?
Paper and media require different levels of protection. paper is more durable than media and can tolerate a wide range of humidity levels and heat up to approximately 400°F before igniting. Media such as diskettes, CDs, and tapes cannot survive either the higher temperature or the humidity levels found in the paper rated products. They must be stored in an environment that will stay below 125°F and 80% humidity in order to be protected.

10. S HOULD I HAVE ALL OF THE V ITAL R ECORDS IN MY ORGANIZ ATION DIGITIZED ?
No. Not all records are good candidates for digitization. In many cases, it’s cheaper to store paper records than to digitize them.

11. I F AN ORGANIZATION ST ORES ALL V ITAL R ECORDS AT AN OFFSITE LOCATION , THEY ARE ADEQUATELY PROTECTED , RIGHT ?
Offsite storage of Vital Records can be a viable option for archived records, however, but for current information, such as daily backups and transaction records, storing Vital Records offsite requires such a high degree of discipline and coordination that it will become extraordinarily expensive and time consuming to try to move daily backups to an offsite location. At the end of the day, its just not feasible to rely 100% on offsite. Organizations still have to address the question of how to guarantee Vital Records are secure and fireprotected while they remain onsite.

12. OK, SO CAN ’ T STANDARD FILING EQUIPMENT OFFER FIRE PROTECTION ?
This thinking, attractive to management because it “seems” cheaper, is erroneous and potentially dangerous. Remember, you’re attempting to protect your most vital information assets, and it is highly advisable to seek the highest quality. Price should not be an overriding factor in your decision. It is imperative to seek products that are tested by Underwriters’ Laboratory (UL) or other nationally known independent testing labs.