Recently we had an issue on our imaging servers when images stopped importing due to a conflict with a newly installed anti-virus system. This required teams to step up and correct the situation; a couple hours into it and all was well again. However, as a result of this activity requiring manual intervention, or any such activity, I always question if every document made it to where it was supposed to while services were struggling or offline. I believe so, I have no evidence to the contrary, but with so many moving pieces and players in a system, I can’t help but wonder.
When these events occur, you need to keep serving members, as it should be. However, during an outage, images will keep piling up to be archived. Images to the tune of 5000+ per hour! And when those backlogged articles start going through again, are you checking them? There are over 25 million documents in our online vaults as a result of credit unions’ day to day work. Therefore, even if a very small percentage of documents failed, maybe as small as one in a million across the entire system, that’s still 25 missing documents–yikes! What if one was an important loan document or a signature card? What if it’s a document your examiner is looking for or you receive a subpoena for? Hmm.
Although we have crafted redundant systems, NO system is infallible – including the human putting the information in at the beginning of the chain. It’s impossible to think that even with paper, no document was ever lost or misfiled. Did you ever rearrange furniture and find a document behind the file cabinet or under a desk? Did you ever forget to create a document in the first place? Of course, you did! It happens. But with the advent of electronic systems, we hold them to a higher standard because they, unlike humans, don’t make mistakes, right? I can hear you laughing from here, but that’s the point. No system is infallible!
Expect and prepare for errors
While it’s true that we need to take proper steps to mitigate risk, we also need to accept that no system will ever be 100% perfect without fail. So, what can (and should) you do? Expect and prepare for errors. Are you doing this? If not, you should be. Even when there haven’t been any obvious issues that you’re aware of. Make sure you are doing your imaging due diligence.
If you’re a CU*Answers client, check out this document, make sure you understand it, and ask questions if you’re unsure! An online system is not your official archive of your images. It’s a convenience that allows you to easily access your images. You should be receiving your data on DVD and copying it to your network and placing the disks in your vault for safe keeping and for the length of your retention schedule. That’s your official archive. This way, if something terrible ever does occur within our vault, you have your images safe and sound.
If you don’t utilize our online vault, you’re not immune! You should be doing this with your system as well. This is just best practice to be sure your documents are where you think they are. You know what should be there and what you sent, your solution vendor doesn’t. They know what they received, but will not know what you intended or tried to send that they didn’t receive.
So, step up and make sure you’re training your team on imaging due diligence. Make sure you have a plan for the worst and never let competent vendors or quiet systems lull you into complacency! Stay on your game and make sure your images are where you think they are!