What’s Upstream of Your Content

By DANIEL ANTION posted 05-07-2013 12:57


Several years ago, the water line feeding the ice maker in our kitchen burst sometime after the cleaning crew left on a Friday. The spraying fountain was discovered on Monday morning, after it had seeped under the kitchen walls and soaked the carpet under (and the contents in) a dozen boxes of financial records. It also poured into the offices on the 2ndand 1stfloors below our kitchen. Fast forward to 2013 and we find ourselves the victim of someone else’s flood water.  Saturday afternoon, I received a call, informing me that water was pouring down the wall near one of our offices.

This time, it was a water heater that sprang a leak. The good news is that the building manager was able to get to our building quickly and shut the water off. The even better news is that nothing was located along the wall where the water was leaking. However, if we hadn’t had a random employee who decided to stop in the office, we would have had a ton of water to clean up. If the leak had been 15’ to the north or south, the water would have been pouring into several four-drawer file cabinets.

These are the close calls that help us convince people that at least having a digital back-up of paper records is a good thing – you can be sure that I’ll be reminding people around our office of this story for years to come. In addition to the close encounters that we’ve had, I am also reminding people about the possibilities that remain above us. We don’t know where their kitchen is. We know that our company president has a bathroom attached to his office; we don’t know if there are one or more situations like that upstairs. We have a hot water heater above the ceiling in our office, we still have that ice-maker, we have a dishwasher and the entire office has sprinklers. It doesn’t take much water to ruin paper records, and knowing where the water sources are doesn’t necessarily help. Water doesn’t drip from the broken water heater onto the floor below. Water travels until it finds a penetration through the concrete and then starts its gravity-powered journey. That penetration might be for network cabling; that might lead to a cable tray or a bundle of wires and those might carry the water to your file room, your server room or the ceiling above your desk.

We have been in this building 9 years, and this is the second time we have incurred minor flooding due to a failed appliance. If you think your paper, or even your on-premises digital copies are safe, think again. All it takes is the wrong weekend.

#ElectronicRecordsManagement #disasterrecovery #BackUp