In fact, until Sept. 11, 2001, all of the companys hundreds of thousands of business-critical paper documents were stored in fireproof filing cabinets in its 80th-floor offices at the World Trade Centers South Tower.
Paper-based systems are common among OTC (over-the-counter) trading companies such as Mizuho because of the nature of the transactions, said Mark Bramante, associate director of Mizuho Capital Markets Corp., a subsidiary of the Mizuho Financial Group Inc., one of the worlds largest financial groups.
"Each transaction can be negotiable as to its terms, so there really arent standard electronic forms," Bramante said.
The company had paper documents stored in 40 four-drawer filing cabinets that it thought were resistant in every way. "They were even fireproof to 1,200 degrees. Obviously, theyre all gone now," Bramante said.
Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, Mizuho spent hundreds of hours trying to re-create the lost documents.
"After 9/11, for most of our transactions, we could go back into our database and re-create the contract, but for some, they were so unique we couldnt—or we could, but it would take a tremendous amount of effort—so we had to go back to customers and ask them to send us back copies of the transaction," Bramante said.
"Of course, people were good about complying after 9/11, but we had to recheck the documents as if we had done the transaction from scratch. We had to work backward from paper supplied to us from customers." Mizuho spent about 500 man-hours alone on that very minute portion of its transactions, Bramante said.
After the data recovery, Mizuho spent nine months evaluating products to safeguard its documents. "We looked at about 20 solutions—really, at anybody who would show us a product," said Bramante.
During the search, Mizuho approached Xerox Corp. and subsequently settled on the companys DocuShare document management software.
But to deploy the product, Xerox referred Mizuho to two VARs—one of which was Polgroup Corp., of Hackettstown, N.J.—that specialize in DocuShare solutions.
Working with Polgroup, Mizuho implemented a Web-based disaster recovery system based on DocuShare.