When it comes to hard-copy documents and records, there are numerous reasons businesses may need to hold on to these paper files. However, there are many other options for business records storage systems and management.
Even when companies have made a transition to using electronic documents, they should consider state or national document retention laws—which require hard-copy storage formats to remain compliant. This is just one reason hard-copy records remain relevant. However, it can introduce both security and productivity issues.
Given the requirement to maintain paper files, many businesses are now left to wonder how best to meet the storage needs of their company using available business records storage services today. Click on any of the titles below to jump to the section that you would like to learn more about, or just scroll down to read this white paper in its entirety.
Table Of Contents
Since the dawn of business, companies have always had records they must store and manage—ranging from customer information to transaction receipts and other proprietary or sensitive documents needing keeping. In the past, available record storage options limited businesses to the sole strategy of maintaining vast inventories of hard-copy documents in filing cabinets or separate storage rooms. Now, the business records storage industry has continued to evolve to better meet the growing storage needs of businesses.
With the sheer volume of records needing storage, companies dedicated solely to providing secure offsite document storage are now catering their services to businesses. It helps modern businesses manage the paper documents they must retain while still providing innovative solutions to the frustrations that in-house record storage strategies can present.
Today, the business records storage landscape is optimized to suit the needs of businesses. Options such as offsite record storage facilities or other services like a DMS offer all the security and space-saving benefits. They meet the needs of industries like accounting, architecture, and government. These industries rely on a well-organized and readily accessible inventory of documents.
Modern business still has many reasons they may need to hold on to hard-copy versions of their documents. Whether it’s simply saving the money it would otherwise cost to scan every document in the office—including records rarely needed—or to maintain the security and confidentiality of a single record. Many businesses still keep hard-copy documents.
When it comes to storing these paper records, there are two essential options businesses have for going about this. They can outsource their storage needs to an offsite storage facility. Or, simply managing them in-house in either filing cabinets or dedicated record storage rooms.
An in-house storage strategy entails dedicating space to store documents. Additionally, it potentially opens the possibility of an employee abusing their access privileges or an environmental hazard damaging records. Outsourcing these documents to a secure offsite facility provides a solution to all these issues.
We want to provide a clearer idea of the differences between offsite record storage facilities and in-house storage. Additionally, we’ll tell how utilizing outsourced storage services can provide benefits that onsite storage cannot.
Advantages of Outsourced Business Records Storage
- Protect from Records Being Abused or Misused – Unfortunately, in the real world businesses must ensure they prepare for the possibility of an internal employee potentially misusing sensitive company information. By keeping these confidential documents at a secure offsite facility, businesses can minimize their risk of exposure.
- Save Valuable Office Space for More Productive Purposes – The more documents a business stores in-house, the more valuable real estate is being wasted on office space which could be dedicated to revenue-generating employee workspaces. By storing these records offsite, businesses can free up room and boost work efficiency.
- Prevent the Threat of Environmental Hazard – In the event of a natural disaster, if the entirety of the company’s records are managed in-house there’s a good chance most—if not all—of these valuable documents will be destroyed. With offsite storage services, however, many providers take strides to provide climate-maintained storage facilities.
Potential Drawbacks of Outsourced Business Records Storage
- Working With a Single Copy – When it comes to documents frequently updated or needed by multiple people, it can become difficult to share paper files. On top of this, if records are requested, copied, and updated, how can you be sure the most current document is re-filed?
- Lack of Accessibility – When business documents must be accessed regularly, it still isn’t practical for companies to wait around all day on their requests. Even when it does mean stepping up on their security. As a result, many companies in this position will also implement supplemental services like a DMS to balance accessibility needs.
Above all, the primary issue companies will struggle with when it comes to implementing an offsite record storage service is the potential inconvenience of accessing these documents. Rather than being stored in an onsite records room or a filing cabinet in an office corner, these documents are managed at an offsite facility. They can still be readily requested. Although, many companies may become frustrated with the inability to reference records at any given time.
Luckily, however, recent innovations in record storage services have been able to offer businesses solutions to such hindrances. For companies struggling with document accessibility, storage options such as document management systems (DMS) for electronic records can provide an ideal strategy for maximizing document security while keeping critical records used regularly and readily accessible.
With the growing volume of many company’s record inventories today, many businesses have needed to implement additional technologies with their document management processes. As a result, businesses today are now able to make use of what is known as electronic document management systems (DMS) to better cope with archive size and accessibility demands.
Using a DMS, paper documents can be scanned, copied, stored, and organized after being converted to digital copies. Therefore, companies can integrate electronic records with hard copies or convert them to digital systems altogether. With the help of document management systems, companies are offered document storage, security, version control, and remote retrieval. They provide an ideal solution to the accessibility frustrations that strategies like offsite storage facilities can present.
Generally speaking, to implement a document management system of any form within record storage processes, a company has several options for going about this. On the one hand, businesses can adopt a hybridized system—effectively getting the best of both worlds. There is also the option to fully transition a pre-existing system to an electronic document management system.
To help weigh the value of various options available to companies against the individual needs of a business, the following provides an in-depth breakdown of both a hybrid DMS and an electronic DMS.
Rather than forcing the business to opt for just one or the other, hybrid systems allow companies to utilize both paper and electronic document management systems of their documents. The reasons a company may choose to maintain documents in hard-copy format can vary. Reasons range from the more practical cost of hard-copy storage for rarely-used records to the need to have a paper copy of legal documents. What about the documents the company uses each day?
With the help of a hybrid DMS, businesses finding themselves in similar positions can balance their budgetary restrictions with more practical work efficiency needs. They keep the constantly-used files up-to-date and always accessible for the business in digital formats. Sensitive hard-copy documents remain secure at an offsite facility.
As companies plan for how they will store and manage their records, one of the most significant issues businesses run into boils down to the difficulty of quickly finding and accessing hard-copy documents. For this reason, the qualities of an electronic DMS are all the more valuable. DMS provides features like keyword search or better protection from environmental hazards. These aspects help to maximize the work efficiency of the DMS’s users while still being able to balance essential needs like document security.
Using a DMS as the primary storage method can be ideal for smaller businesses with fewer overall documents to manage. However, the larger a record inventory grows the more expensive it will be to scan and convert a pre-existing paper inventory. As a result, the budgetary need to convert to a fully electronic DMS becomes a concern. Companies find themselves in similar positions. They are often urged to consider scanning only the essential documents that will be most useful in electronic format. Instead, they save the funds otherwise devoted to scanning rarely-used files into the system.
With a clearer idea of how a hybrid or full-blown DMS works, the question many are now left to answer is how to integrate the system. To convert documents to digital formats, a business will need the help of a document scanning service. Scanning creates digital copies of their documents which a DMS stores, indexes, and secures for easy access.
Typically, companies have several options for tackling a project of this nature. Business-specific variables such as the size of existing record inventories can play a large role in both the overall project size and cost. No matter whether it would make the most sense to scan all documents in one fell swoop or would be more practical to scan in records bit-by-bit. There are options to suit a variety of scanning and storage needs, including:
Day-Forward Scanning Services
Put simply, day-forward scanning services provide companies looking to make use of a DMS with a less stressful option for making the transition. Picking a date in the upcoming future, a company from that point forward will no longer store new paper files. Instead, immediately scan and store digital copies of all records as you create them.
For companies that deal with large record inventories, a day-forward approach can be a more practical strategy. This option allows business operations to continue as usual while older records continue to be scanned as time permits.
Day-forward scanning may on one hand appeal to the needs of large companies with extensive backlogs of records to convert to electronic formats. Day-forward services can also help to better suit businesses that don’t have the budget to scan their entire document inventory in a single project.
By breaking out the electronic transition into more affordable monthly or quarterly projects, companies can better justify the investment in an electronic or hybrid DMS. They eventually will digitize all documents while also maintaining valuable budgetary breathing room.
Purge Scanning and Backfile Document Scanning
Purge or backfile document scanning entails a business scanning the entirety of its existing record inventory. It creates digital copies of all documents in a single project.
This option will get the process over and done quickly. However, it can be more expensive. For businesses with fewer documents to manage, this can be a quick and easy way of integrating a DMS. Otherwise, the transition could drag out over weeks.
A larger company with a massive backlog of existing hard-copy documents may find this less practical considering the time and budget requirements a scanning project of this size would need. Companies can still use purge scanning projects to supplement other scanning strategies. For old or infrequently-used documents, a company can hold onto these in their hard-copy format for later. This saves them from scanning into the electronic system as a single project when time and budgets permit.
Managing a company’s document storage practices and processes is one of the most challenging and time-consuming aspects of any business. Especially when best practices in document management aren’t necessarily the company’s forte.
Now, either re-evaluate your pre-existing record storage methods or lay out plans for a new document storage plan altogether. Be sure to also factor these last considerations into your ultimate decision:
How Many Stored Documents Do You Access Regularly?
For businesses needing to reference or access the majority of their records regularly, implement a hybrid system. Use both secure offsite storage facilities with a DMS for documents needed more often. It’s typically an ideal option for balancing the best of both worlds.
Are You Considering Implementing Electronic Records?
If companies are planning on potentially adopting a DMS, they must consider how to handle the conversion process. The more records the business has to convert, the more complicated the scanning process can become.
Searching for Business Records Storage Services to Suit Your Needs? Record Nations Has Your Solution!
Finding the right record storage service to suit the individual needs of a company can be difficult. Especially when it comes down to weighing the pros and cons of the various services available today.
At Record Nations, we partner with a nationwide network of the top providers in record storage services. We offer businesses a variety of options ranging from offsite record storage to electronic DMS.
Contact us to learn more about any of our available hard-copy or electronic record storage services. You can start implementing the scanning and storage services you need for your document management plan. Just give us a call at (866) 385-3706 or fill out the form to get free quotes today!
Additional Business Records Storage and Scanning Resources
Regardless of the industry and type of business, companies of all sizes need to have a plan for how they will manage and store their documents. Businesses may need to keep some records in electronic format. Storing other less-used hard-copy files offsite may be more practical. In some cases, even required. Get the breakdown of the varying advantages and downsides of offsite storage services with this in-depth white paper.
While managing company records is a time-consuming task, this can become a monstrous project for larger companies. Especially if there are plans to convert a large archive of hard-copy documents to electronic formats. Here, we take a closer look at alternative record storage options like a hybrid DMS. Learn how it can help to balance the convenience of digital documents with the security of hard-copy files.
It’s hard to deny the benefits of work efficiency that scanning can provide for businesses. Many companies nevertheless struggle to justify a major scanning project. The temporary impact on work efficiency and the project’s final cost hold them back. Learn more about innovative new options for digitizing like day-forward scanning, and it helps businesses simplify the digital transition.