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Volume 32, Issue 4

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Tuesday, 25 October 2016 00:00

Benefits of ECM for Business Continuity

Written by  JOHN RIORDAN

If you're a business owner, keeping your doors open is always job No. 1. Unfortunately, many businesses and organizations are unprepared for potential disasters. According to reports from the Association for Financial Professionals and IDG Research, 92 percent of organizations have encountered at least one significant disruption to their business systems and 37 percent of organizations would not be able to handle a major Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Sandy-like disaster.

No matter what line of business you're in – from manufacturing, to eCommerce, to brick and mortar retail – nothing is more important than protecting your company from potentially devastating closures. There's no telling where or when a disaster might hit. It can take the form of a major weather event, a hardware breakdown, or a software glitch, but if and when it does happen to you, you need to have a plan in place that will help you keep your business secure no matter what. A solid enterprise content management (ECM) system can help you do just that.

So what are the continuity benefits of ECM?

  • Document backup – Paper documents are extremely vulnerable to common disasters such as floods and fires, and once they're gone, there's no getting them back. With the right ECM in place, your documents are impervious to natural disasters. That's because ECM allows you to digitize your documents and then back them up and store them in secure, redundant locations, protecting them from harm in the event of a catastrophe.
  • Remote access – With ECM, business keeps on moving even when the office shuts down. Imagine a natural disaster like a flood, blizzard or hurricane hits and keeps you from reaching your office for days or even weeks. With a solid ECM system in place, your employees will still be able to log into the system, gain access to necessary company documents, and complete billable work with little disruption to the usual flow of business, all from a safe, offsite location.
  • Fast recovery – It can take some organizations months to recover from a major disruption in the flow of their business. And depending on the magnitude of the disturbance, some companies never fully recover at all. The key to fast recovery with ECM is fail-over systems, which means if one system goes down, you have a back-up system ready to launch at a moment's notice, which is utterly impossible with paper documents. With the right ECM in place, you can have your business back up and running in a matter of minutes so day-to-day work can continue while you focus on the details of recovering and rebuilding.
  • Automation – With ECM, you can automate certain aspects of your workflow, which means if tragedy strikes, you don't have to worry about your business grinding to a halt because certain employees become unavailable, or a disaster prevents you from performing certain processes that would otherwise be handled manually.
  • Traceability – Not all setbacks are due to natural disasters or acts of God. Many common office mishaps are due to intentional fraud, internal mistakes, hacking or other forms of malicious attacks. With ECM, you can limit access and store records securely. And, if you do suspect foul play, misconduct, or incompetence, ECM allows you to track who had access to certain records at any point in time and what they did with them.

Nobody thinks it will happen to them, but disasters strike every day with little warning, so the best thing you can do for your business is develop a strategy now. No matter what approach you take to business continuity, the important thing is that you have a plan in place with enough redundancy, security, and flexibility to give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your business can survive just about anything.

Riordan JohnJohn Riordan is president and co-founder of Harvest Technology Group. He is a recognized pioneer in the field of e-information exchange, particularly in the areas of enterprise content management, business process management, and content collaboration.