What does your business have to lose? Everything. Why you need an inventory.

In light of the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma, we began to reflect upon our own disaster preparedness at Networks Unlimited and the preparedness of our partners. The likelihood of large natural disasters in many parts of the country is low, but preparedness is still important to address with threats such as fire, theft and water damage.

If a disaster occurred at your business, would all technology be accounted for and documented? If not, replacing all of the business' electronics is near impossible. With hardware costs in the thousands of dollars, the burden of replacing equipment without the assistance of insurance could shut a business down. This is why documenting and updating an inventory is crucial.

Vikki Bell of Colorado West Insurance says, “[with] documentation of the make, model and serial number of their equipment, they would not have any problem in getting it replaced in the event of a loss…assuming of course that they have insurance.” Vikki also adds that having photos of the business’ belongings are extremely helpful with making certain that all items are replaced. In the event of a fire or other destructive disaster, some items are not recognizable due to the extent of the damage they undergo; making clear and through documentation even more important.

When taking photos for inventory purposes, take a picture of the item from a distance so the entire item can be seen. Also take photos that clearly show the serial number and/ or model number of the item. This process can be time consuming upfront, but if your business ever has the misfortune of enduring a disaster, you will be grateful that you had photo documentation along with your detailed inventory. 

This shows how a computer is properly  photographed for inventory purposes 

We would like to believe that we have the ability to remember everything within our business’ possession, but that is not the reality because the aftermath of a disaster is stressful and overwhelming. However, proper documentation can save you from this stress in addition to a tremendous amount of time and money after a catastrophe.

At Networks Unlimited, we are able to document the class, make and model, serial number, warranty expiration, purchase date, and cost of all hardware with the help of software used for our managed services and zero –down time clients.  This software pulls all of the needed information and neatly organizes the information into a table as seen here:

This is an example of what a through technology inventory looks like 

If any of our clients who employed this service were unfortunate enough to suffer through a disaster, they would have a very high likelihood of having documented technology replaced by their insurance provider.

With hardware loss, data loss follows as well; unless a proper back up system for data is in place. Sadly, statistics are stacked against businesses who lose hardware and data due to a disaster.

Ultimately, the chances of experiencing a disaster are not high, but if you have ever spoke with someone who suffered a catastrophe, they will most definitely advocate a contingency plan along with proper documentation of possessions. If you do not keep an inventory and an unfortunate disaster does occur, you are risking the life of your business.

Posted on May 31, 2013 and filed under How To's, Business IT.