Information is a key asset of every business. The difficulty for the information governance professional is that data can be stored in many forms and in many different places, making it difficult to track and manage efficiently.
Offsite document storage is a proven way to manage your information. The storage providers maintain your records in warehouses specially designed for security and convenience. You don’t waste valuable real estate at the office to store boxes or filing cabinets while keeping your records in a better security and climate-controlled environment that at and affordable rate.
There are several kinds of records storage services to choose from that can improve your business’ information governance policy.
Meeting Information Governance Needs
The first step in properly implementing an information governance protocol is to decide where your data is stored. Records and document storage services allow you to store files that must be retained but are not necessary for day-to-day operations.
The most important qualification to consider for any document storage service is the quality of their facility, considering convenience, security, and cost.
Paper documents, backup tapes, and any other critical records need protection from major disasters as well as the slow degradation caused by poor conditions, and choosing the right facility will benefit you in the long run.
Double-Check The Quality of The Facility’s Shelving
All records should be boxed and held on metal shelves. The boxes should never be left on the floor to prevent any water damage from flooding or spills. Any offsite storage service will provide shelves but if you do choose to use a self-storage unit instead, you will need to purchase the shelving.
Does the Records Storage Facility Have Climate Controls?
Records should be kept in a climate-controlled environment to negate degradation. This includes air conditioning, heating, and humidity control. There should also be protections in place from pests and rodents.
Is There a Fire Suppression System?
At the bare minimum, you will want a fire control system which is usually as simple as water sprinklers. For a higher level of protection, you can choose a facility that stops fire with gases to eliminate water damage to your records.
Can the Facility Withstand Natural Disasters?
Depending on your location you will need protection against applicable natural disasters. For example, Florida would require buildings that are protected from winds and heavy rain. Conversely, in California you will need to make sure there are protections against earthquakes.
Security at the Facility
There should be an alarm system with cameras located both inside and outside of the building. Entryways should require a pass card or have a guard on duty at all times. All employees should be given background checks.
Records Management Services
To determine the level of service you need, consider the types of files you will be storing. Accounting files require a different level of service than client files or employee records.
You will also need to evaluate how often you will need access to your files. Do you need access to them very often and if so, what is the requirement on turnaround?
If your records are not organized well, you can contract with your provider to inventory and sort (index) the mess for you. This helps guarantee that the document you need is handy when you call and can be quickly located.
File Retrieval Services
If you need a document that is in storage, there are many levels of service for retrieval. They can be delivered by courier in a few hours, sent by overnight service, or scanned and then emailed to you.
Document Management Consulting
Document retention is a patchwork of federal, state, and local laws. Your record storage service should have knowledge experts in the field. They can help every business put together a record retention plan.
If you need 24/7 access to your documents then make sure you use a facility that offers full-time availability.
When choosing any business service, cost is a factor. The major components of a records storage service are the price per box for storage and the retrieval fees. Before signing any contract, make sure you won’t be hit with punitive “pull charges” if you decide to change services.
Other Options for Document Storage
Most document storage services will have other options for their customers. Some more common services include document scanning, document shredding, and tape rotation. It often saves money if you can bundle multiple services together with a single vendor.
From document scanning to document storage, the experts at Record Nations will help you select a customized document management solution that fits exactly what you need.
We have partners all across the United States to meet your document storage needs. Give us a call at (866) 385-3706 for free quotes from service providers in your area.
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