According to this Environment Agency guide, ‘flooding is the most common and widespread natural disaster in the UK’.
Counting the cost
The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) believe that costs related to flooded business average between £75,000 and £112,000 each year.
Damage to physical property like infrastructure and equipment will be obvious and easily costed. However, have you considered the impact of the loss of critical business information such as contracts and lists of customers?
It may well be a loss of intangible assets, like those documents, that puts your business in greater jeopardy.
Take action early
The Environmental Agency believe that, by taking action early, “most businesses can save between 20 and 90 per cent on the cost of lost stock and movable equipment”.
The BIFM recommends putting filing cabinets and important paper documents up high if you receive a flood warning. Even then this is not always enough, as was witnessed in the 2015 Yorkshire floods.
It can also take a lot of time and effort. I personally wouldn’t want to attempt to lift cabinets above my head!
You should be able to safeguard 100 per cent of your critical business information if you store your documents electronically.
Filing and saving all files in an electronic Document Management System (eDM), with appropriate back-up and recovery processes, allows you to protect your information from flood and damp damage, and means your business can recover a lot faster.
You can store all your important business information in one place and have easy access to critical data.
If the worst happens
Of the 371 businesses impacted by the Yorkshire floods, 12 were still out of business one year on, and many took months to re-establish themselves again.
Every business should have continuity and disaster recovery arrangements in place and appropriate insurance coverage. If you are in a flood area it is likely that your premiums will be higher. You can reduce these by having such arrangements in place.
Where data is stored on servers at your business’ premises, taking regular backups and keeping these drives at an offsite location is a must. Your continuity and disaster recovery arrangements should include access to back up servers for speedy restoration.
With such arrangements in place restoring documents saved in an eDM can be a relatively simple matter and will help your business recover a lot faster.
You can also experience significant improvements in the efficiency, visibility and control over the use of and access to information.
The search capabilities in an eDM significantly improve efficiency, allowing, through the use of OCR, a fast retrieval of information contained within documents when it is needed.
The audit trail function significantly improves visibility. This enables you to see who has accessed each document and what work has been performed using it.
Access control is improved with only those that need access to certain documents to perform their work can see them.