There are many options for choosing a storage facility for your business documents. Businesses produce large amounts of documents that take up extra space and are a growing nuisance to manage, protect and access. Some companies utilize unused space and storerooms to keep information onsite, while others turn to the internet to find a local self storage facility to rent a storage unit.
Both solutions are not ideal because they are expensive, not secure and don’t provide adequate protection from theft, unauthorized access, environmental damage and compliance violations. Employees must also oversee the document management process, including retention periods and destruction, which is time-consuming and distracts from essential job responsibilities.
Avoid Renting a Self Storage Unit
Contrary to what you may think, self storage facilities are pricey and vary widely between storage companies. Cost is determined by how much space you need and use – and if you have a lot of documents to store, you’ll pay a steep price for a self storage unit. Document storage racks must also be sourced to fill vertical space, and you’ll have to purchase insurance coverage to protect from damage or loss.
While you may rent storage space in a facility located close to your office, a convenient location won’t save your company time or money. Employees will have to travel to and from the storage unit to file and retrieve documents, and they’ll need to be reimbursed for mileage.
Many storage facilities also do not provide adequate security and are not water-, pest- and fire-proof to protect against natural disasters, damage and loss. Even security guards are not enough protection for confidential information. Other measures, such as controlled access and 24/7 surveillance, are necessary.
Self storage units are better suited for vehicle storage or bulky items, such as furniture, appliances and other belongings that do not require a climate controlled unit. When looking for a storage unit to keep important documents, a records storage facility is the best option.
What is a Records Storage Facility?
A records storage facility provides long-term storage to protect and preserve business documents, papers and important information. Access is limited to screened records management professionals who undergo background checks and training to ensure that data protection protocols remain in place. Digital surveillance, proper climate controls, and fire prevention and suppression systems also ensure information security.
What To Look For When Researching Storage Facilities
There are eight essential features to look for when choosing an offsite document storage facility:
1. Environmental Protections
When choosing a records storage facility, ensure that the location is designed to protect and preserve critical documents from the elements. This means having optimum storage conditions that are water-, pest- and fire-proof to protect against natural disasters and prevent damage or loss of files while in secure storage.
2. Climate Controlled Storage Units
Vital records need a climate controlled storage unit to maintain document integrity and last the duration of your required retention period. When researching the best storage solution for your important files, ensure that the provider offers climate controlled units. The right facility will have a dedicated HVAC system and dehumidifier to maintain proper temperature and humidity levels and access backup auxiliary power to maintain climate control storage during an outage.
3. Strict Security Measures
Not every storage facility is created equal when it comes to providing good security. The best storage units offer security features, such as 24/7 video surveillance, ongoing video monitoring, security fencing, gate hours, and security locks and codes. A preferred facility may also offer on-site security to reinforce the company’s security measures.
4. Controlled Access
When selecting the right storage facility for your confidential documents, ensure that only authorized personnel will have regular access to your records. It is also critical that all employees receive regular training to uphold data protection regulations to keep information out of the wrong hands.
5. Online Records Management System
It’s one thing for your documents to be safe, but you also want them to be easy to find and quick to access. Look for a records storage company that indexes and stores files using a barcode system and offers an online records management system. Authorized employees can access this system to centrally manage and control assets kept in the storage facility to order files, run inventory reports and more.
6. Physical Retrieval
When researching records storage options, easy access to information and efficient file retrieval are important considerations. Unfortunately, not all facilities – especially self storage facilities – offer their customers much in the way of retrieval services. When contacting storage companies, inquire if physical documents, files or boxes of records can be requested online and delivered to your location.
7. Electronic Retrieval
A more efficient way to gain quick access to your records is by researching offsite storage providers that offer scan-on-demand services. With this form of electronic file retrieval, employees can contact the company to request documents to be scanned and emailed to them within hours.
8. Certifications and Insurance
When keeping files in a storage facility, it is essential that the provider has the appropriate certifications and is properly insured to protect your business and information. A key credential is PRISM Privacy+ certification, which verifies compliance with data protection laws and regulatory due diligence obligations for companies that handle physical storage, hard-copy records and off-line removable computer media. NAID AAA certification is also important because it signifies that a company is certified for document destruction and can securely shred records in storage once they reach the end of their lifecycle.
Choose The Right Storage Facility For Your Critical Records
Are you considering renting a storage unit in a self storage facility? Don’t put your documents at risk. Instead, make the secure choice by choosing a professional records service.
Blue-Pencil provides long-term records storage services for confidential documents, so you can rest assured that your important data is safe throughout its entire lifecycle. Documents are managed by authorized and trained security professionals and kept in our climate-controlled facility with 24/7 video surveillance and strict security protocols.
Additionally, all documents are indexed and bar-code scanned every step of the way, ensuring a secure chain of custody. Our records management service can also create and implement a document storage policy to keep your business compliant with privacy laws. When retention periods expire, we can destroy your information with your approval using our secure shredding service.
When you require important files from storage, your documents can be delivered or scanned and sent via email within hours. Your team can also centrally manage your account online to order documents, access inventory, get storage reports and more. For only a few dollars per box each year, our storage services are a complete, safe and affordable long-term solution for businesses of all sizes.