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Prioritizing Access to Vital Records

Distinguishing Vital, Important & Useful Records

Distinguishing between the types of records is critical, to the overall health and sustainability, of an organization, especially when disaster strikes. Creating a Vital Records Program should be part of your organizations business strategy, as well as, having a procedure in place, to compliment your Business Continuity & Disaster Plan. 

Your business or organization has many records. If your organization does not have a Business Continuity & Disaster Plan, Crown Information Management can assist you. When evaluating your records, remember that vital records usually only make up, two to five percent, of a businesses’ or organizations’ records. Below are examples of the three categories, and some of their characteristics, to help you classify your records.

Vital Records Priority A

Immediately required to support emergency business continuity and operations.

Examples: Business Continuity & Disaster Plan, Facility plans & drawings, core procedures and or regulations, Emergency Contact list, Confirmation of personnel security and access authorities.

If these records are paper records they should be stored near the physical disaster response site. Duplicates should be stored in a secure, offsite location. Duplicate electronic records for immediate access to critical information in an electronic format.

Vital Records Priority B

Essential for the resumption of normal business after an emergency or disaster.

Examples: Current contracts or agreements, Current contact list for stakeholders and/or business associates, current client information, schedules.

Store paper records close to the disaster recovery site to support the resumption of operations. Duplicate copies should be stored offsite.

Establish processes for restoration backups of vital electronic records quickly.

Vital Records Priority C

Essential for legal or audit purposes but not immediately required in an emergency or disaster situation.

Examples: Existing but non-current contracts or agreements, unaudited financial records

Store paper records or electronic copies securely, in a safe location outside of the business area to make sure records are safe and accessible when needed.