From the May 2008 issue of Boomer Market Advisor • Subscribe!

Five questions to consider when protecting your business

I recently attended an important presentation entitled "Document Imaging's Role in Disaster Recovery." It was given by Pam Doyle, director of Fujitsu's imaging products group, and an expert in the field who frequently presents on the topic.

In her presentation, Doyle focuses on getting advisors to think about the role of imaging in helping their businesses recover from a natural and human-induced disaster. It's easy to write the topic off in the mistaken belief it will never happen, but disaster could result from something as simple an employee accidentally -- or purposely -- deleting files from a shared drive. Imaging platforms have critical, real-world applications and are more than just another "cool" piece of technology. Here are five factors to consider when thinking about this critical business topic:

1. How would your business recover in the event of a disaster such as a fire, flood or employee mistake? Do you have an electronic backup for you paper files that would provide easy retrieval in the case of a disaster?

2. Could your business operate uninterrupted in the event of a disaster that prevented you or your employees from being able to get to work?

3. How much would you save in floor space and storage costs if you stored everything electronically?

4. Would your compliance risk decrease and audits be easier to process if all your documentation was stored and retrieved electronically?

5. How much more efficient would your office be if your staff could share the same document without moving paper?

There were advisors in New Orleans prior to Katrina who didn't think about how such a disaster would affect their business. The same goes for advisors in California who were affected by last summer's wildfires. Most large corporations have sophisticated and highly detailed disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place, but it isn't an area in which most small businesses invest -- but you should. However, what you should not do is attempt to go it alone. Whether you're an RIA or registered rep, there are service providers to help you implement your paperless office and digital imaging needs. Your business is to service the needs of your customers while growing your practice. Their business is to get you up and running. To start, contact your broker/dealer or custodial firm. They can suggest (and many times offer) a number of reputable and cost-efficient solutions. Regardless of the solution you eventually choose, the efficiency and protection your business gains will make it well worth the effort.

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