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Business Continuity - No More Paper Files


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This will not apply to everyone and may not even know the answer, its a long shot but worth an ask.

So historically paper files were back up when computers go down, obviously technology has improved but its still liable to fail and certain things you need said information.

Operationally I don't see it been an issue but there maybe officers who it might be risk critical to have that information.  Now we all know MDT's, tablets etc have that information on and cab be accessed and that is usually in the software installed on said device.  Now flexi's may have had a paper file in the past with that information in and now its probably not the right way to do it so may have a device that said information is on.

9 times out of 10 I suspect that information is right clicked, copied and pasted onto the laptop for example.

My question is do any of you out there work in such role where for example documents such as PDF's are regularly updated and you have them on a device if so do you have to manually do it or does your IT do something to ensure they are updated in a specific folder that you can access locally without any internet/network access?  Exclude MDT's for example which seem to pull the data locally into their own software but I am looking for office user laptop type situation.

I hope this makes sense and I've made it clear and simple for those that might not understand but I am just carrying out some BC work and investigating options.

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Why wouldn't business (or operationally) critical information be backed up on a cloud based storage solution to be accessed via any laptop with suitable password protection - even encrypted if necessary?

For geographical locations where 4G or data services are weak or unavailable, access might only be possible in a nearby town or by a main road. In such cases, an officer could download what they want from those areas and bring it to the job.

OK it might not be the all singing all dancing version of the info/app that can be used in business as usual circumstances, but then you rarely get 100% duplicity in a fallback/contingency procedure 

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Information is backed up that's no the issue.

We are talking total loss of system and all internet access in worst case scenario, there is a set of information that would be needed.

It would be a small set of data that is needed but enough for purposes proposed if that makes sense.

In the real world its never going to happen as there is already resilience in everything else, if we got to this stage we will have bigger issues but those up top think otherwise!

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Not sure if you want FRS specific but at an (office) job I previously worked at, staff were issued with laptops, and their personal drive automatically saved to the laptop hard drive for offline use, which synced any changes once they were back onsite. Not sure how this would scale to larger file storage though and I can't for the life of me remember if it saved any shared drives.

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  • 3 months later...

In my former FRS there were some very odd practices that including having a ‘paper copy’ of pretty much everything in watchrooms which covered crewing, training, leave etc. as if the very concept of a computer had not quite been fully understood. I was often pulled in for not wasting time duplicating tasks, the very purpose a computer was in fact invented for, often with the answer of “for a contingency” when I asked why I should. Naturally I didn’t take any notice as to do so would condone the madness, but it always made for a chuckle when there were arguments between Watch Commanders when one had completed the crewing paper in pen and not pencil - you couldn’t make it up! “How am I supposed to make changes if it’s not in pencil?” I remember one asking the Station Commander, equally as daft.

Without the needless duplication of tasks,  and pneumonics there would hardly be a Fire Brigade 😂  

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  • 2 weeks later...

@Matt i think what you are referring to is revision control rather than disaster recovery, but may be wrong. 

I.E. you want to ensure that people have access to the offline version, but that it is current? The issue of people taking saved doc's to their offline laptops is no different to printed copies. There are certainly plenty of off the shelf revision control software, but they typically pull the current version from a server, allow you to check it out, change and back in. not sure how they deal with offline computers. though i believe you can allow offline access to groups of files. PDM being one of them. 

The simplest option may to setup a sync'd onedrive folder or location. The various devices, can then be setup with offline access. When they reconnect, the changes are made in either direction. or more likely you would have a read only folder that any updates would be populated to the laptops as they connect.  

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We have found a solution for what we need now, company actually added the missing features in on its latest release.

OneDrive would be good but that requires files been stored offsite in OneDrive land which for the whole is ok but we want more control so effectively are doing our own internal OneDrive therefore no internet needed as such as we know where the data is.

It would be very similar to data on a MDT but updated more frequently that what some of that would be.

I've been against it the idea but those in the teams above want something that doesn't fit with business needs but they are going to fund.  From the lack of responses here and elsewhere its not something you would normally do but some crazy desk idiots have these ideas and we follow them through.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I hate it so much. I work as a financial accountant and I have to do every piece of work twice: first on paper, the on the computer. This drops the efficiency of my work and makes me go crazy.

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On 19/09/2022 at 15:23, Jan Pawlowsk said:

I hate it so much. I work as a financial accountant and I have to do every piece of work twice: first on paper, the on the computer. This drops the efficiency of my work and makes me go crazy.

They also demand me to print out all the things that I've done on the computer.

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