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Hard Business Decisions Need Hard Copies

As I was writing this post my wife received a telephone call from her sister. Her sister was quite upset because when she picked up her mobile phone to call my wife couldn’t do so because her provider’s network had crashed. My sister-in-law was forced to locate an old paper version of an address book (remember those?) to locate my wife’s phone number to call her.

Only a couple of weeks ago one of the major cellphone providers entire network went down for about 18 hours. Everyone relying on that particular provider was screwed. None had access to any form of mobile phone or Internet service. What a nightmare for the provider and all of their customers. Imagine the damage that was done, not only to the users of the service but to be provider itself. Like all providers it had guaranteed top quality service as part of its promotional activities. Yet for most of a day it did not provide any service at all.

Not so long before that one of the major Australian bank’s computer networks stopped working. For more than a day no one, individual or business had access to their banking accounts and records if they were customers of that particular bank. More, everone else who wanted to transact banking business through the distressed bank had to sit on their collective fingers as well.

These events can occur more often and we want them to. Which means that would be a very good idea to have some sort of backup plan available. Particularly those of us who are operating a business.It doesn’t matter whether it is our service provider or someone else’s. We are still inconvenienced.

It seems to me that the Amish sect might have the right of it sometimes.The Amish folks have decided to reject all the trappings of the modern world. They do things in the old-fashioned manner. They write letters. They go and speak to the people they want to speak to or do business with. Yet they manage to conduct their personal and business activities efficiently and logically. Something that we who live in the outside world may well be able to take a lesson from.

Surely having an old-fashioned hard copy record of information that we absolutely must have access to an all times isn’t something that we should ignore. It all too easy to allow a software program to maintain records of all the various passwords we need in order to access the information that we make use of in our business and personal lives. We leave our essential identification details on our computers where hackers can steal our identities. We unwittingly allow fraudsters steal access to our banking account details, our tax file numbers, and insurance policy information. And let’s not forget our businesses. They, too, are easy targets to cyber criminals. Always at a massive cost to our well-being and security. Financial and social.

I suggest that we should maintain access to a hard printed copy of the essential information that we and or our business users on a daily basis. Have you noticed the ever increasing numbers of people who carry a photocopy of the personal details page of their passports when travelling overseas. Although the banking systems and of the supposedly foolproof systems of the these various phone providers can sometimes get it wrong. I mentioned earlier and were only unavailable for a relatively short period of time, considerable damage was no doubt done to the affairs of a vast number of people and businesses.

Here is a very short list of the items and I believe we should maintain a hard copy of:-
banking account details
insurance policy details
security passwords
tax and social security records
motor vehicle registration details
essential telephone numbers and addresses

You may well have other things that you’ve considered to be important. The whereabouts of your Will and title particulars for your home. Maybe essential contracts and employment particulars. Details of website hosting and unique service provider access information to name just a couple. What you consider to be important is up to you.

When I mention hard copy, I don’t just mean that you should take the time to hand write everything. No, even typing information into a simple Notepad on your computer will be sufficient. Provided of course that you then print it out and store it in a safe place. I’m sure you will agree that leaving it in your computer and therefore subject to hackers or other computer malfunctions really defeats the purpose of preparing the hardcopy.

You may of course completely disagree with me. Again that’s your choice. My purpose in writing this post was to suggest to you that making such a choice is a very good thing to do.

Please take the time to comment on this post. Particularly if you have a suggestion on many other essential information that you believe should be kept in hardcopy form.