Essential records provide the organization with information it needs to conduct business during a disaster and resume normal business after the emergency passes.  These records, combined with other components of a business continuity plan, allow the agency to continue functioning under a range of adverse conditions, whatever their intensity and duration.

We use the term “essential records,” but these records also go by other names. The federal government refers to them as “vital records” and the business community often calls them “mission-critical” or “business-critical records.”

Records are considered essential when they:

  • Are necessary for emergency response
  • Are necessary to resume or continue operations
  • Protect the health, safety, property, and rights of residents
  • Would require massive resources to reconstruct
  • Document the history of communities and families

Steps to Implement

  1. Identify the essential records
  2. Identify the disaster risks
  3. Identify preparedness and mitigation measures
  4. Develop methods to protect

Actions to Protect Essential Records

  • Dispersal - copies of the record in multiple locations; can be in different formats
  • On-site Protection: fire-resistant cabinets and vaults
  • Evacuation: transfer to another location when an emergency occurs
  • Tape backup
  • Data Replication: data is replicated at one or more sites, such as a primary processing site and an alternative site
  • Mirroring: similar to data replication that maintains duplicate electronic records and applies changes at the secondary site simultaneously with the primary site