Despite our electronic age of computers, smartphones and scanners, paper documents accumulate and clutter homes and offices. From receipts and invoices to tax documents, birth certificates, family records and other valuable information, many vital files need preserving for future access or to hold their place in history.
Organizations, especially, have difficulty storing and maintaining documents essential to running a successful business. Research documents, critical data, customer files and employee forms fill cabinets, boxes and hard drives. Yet, they are challenging to access, share and keep secure, especially as more information is added to the collection.
Thankfully, there are practical solutions that businesses can use to tackle their records management troubles. These include off-site document storage and scanning services.
Storing Paper Documents in a Records Storage Facility
A records storage facility provides companies with a long-term storage solution that protects, preserves and archives critical files of importance. Access is limited to screened records management professionals who undergo extensive background checks and training to manage ongoing regulatory compliance and maintain data protection protocols. Digital surveillance, climate controls and fire prevention systems also ensure that important files are safe, secure and not lost forever.
Accessing Paper Documents in Storage
Off-site storage facilities index files using a barcode system to ensure quick and efficient retrieval of documents using an online records management system. Only authorized personnel can access this library to centrally manage and control documents in storage.
There are two main ways to retrieve documents from off-site storage:
- Physical Retrieval: With this method, authorized employees can request files using an online records management system and have original copies delivered to the workplace.
- Electronic Retrieval: This retrieval method is faster and more efficient than delivering files, especially when scan-on-demand services are offered. Employees can request papers to be scanned and have the digital files emailed to them within hours.
Benefits of Document Storage
There are many benefits of choosing secure document storage for sensitive data:
- Storing papers off-site reduces expensive real estate costs and storage supplies, such as filing cabinets, file boxes and storage racks.
- Office space is put to better use for revenue-generating activities.
- Allows businesses to scale without having to find additional storage space.
- Employees gain faster and easier access to information regardless of location, promoting productivity and efficiency.
- Ensures compliance with privacy laws related to the management and accessibility of data.
- Documents are cared for throughout their entire life cycle, aiding in the tracking of retention periods and the destruction of archives to free up inventory space.
- Security measures safeguard old documents from theft, loss, damage and unauthorized information handling.
- Proper climate and light exposure controls ensure file integrity by reducing mould, mildew and moisture, which deteriorate paper materials and impact quality.
Digitize Files With Document Scanning
Document scanning (also known as imaging) converts papers into electronic files using a high-speed scanner. Professional document scanning services use state-of-the-art equipment to handle papers of all sizes, including sticky notes, newspaper clippings, large folders and oversized drawings.
Types of Document Scanning
There are three main types of document scanning services:
- Back-file Scanning: Back-file scanning is designed to convert large volumes of paper into digital formats. This service is well-suited to organizations that preserve and store historical information, especially those with multiple users that search and access the same collection of files simultaneously.
- Day-forward Scanning: Day-forward scanning digitizes newly created files on a regular basis. This service is ideal for businesses with large-scale paperless objectives that don’t regularly access historical information.
- Scan-on-demand: Scan-on-demand converts documents into electronic form on an as-need basis. With this method, employees have secure, near-real-time digital access to physical files in storage by requesting documents using an online portal. When files are ordered, they are located and prepared for scanning, then sent to the employee and immediately returned to their original storage location for safekeeping. This scanning service is perfect for organizations that need secure access to stored files but do not require a full or partial digitization project.
Benefits of Document Scanning
The are several advantages of document scanning that businesses should consider:
- Digitizing papers and documents free up costly office space.
- Minimizes paper storage before an office relocation.
- Electronic documents reduce supply expenses, including boxes, storage materials and paper.
- Eliminates bulky in-house document scanners and expensive image capture software.
- Decreases the risk of theft and information loss.
- Improves access to information and data security.
- Enhances real-time collaboration, regardless of location.
- Improves customer service.
- Boosts employee productivity and efficiency.
- Streamlines compliance-related tasks and avoids hefty fines.
- Reduces paper consumption and promotes sustainability.
- Enhances disaster recovery processes.
12 Tips for Preserving Paper Materials
Whether storing business documents, family history or important research papers, these tips for preserving paper materials will protect stored records so they can be passed down and enjoyed by future generations:
- Group and organize documents in archival folders and store them in archival boxes.
- Remove paper clips and rubber bands before storing paper documents, which can rust and deteriorate over time.
- Always store paper flat in boxes and never folded.
- Use acid-free paper when printing documents that are being stored.
- Avoid rolling and securing papers with rubber bands.
- Safeguard important documents by storing them in plastic sleeves that do not contain polyvinyl chloride.
- Never store documents in locations meant for other items, such as a basement, attic, uninsulated garage or public storage unit.
- Store paper documents in a cool and dry place between 18° and 22° Celsius.
- Maintain a relative humidity between 40 to 50 percent to prevent damage.
- Store old documents in an environment with minimal light exposure to protect paper from fading and yellowing.
- Store newspaper clippings away from other paper documents using a plastic sleeve or acid-free envelope to avoid damage.
- Create photocopies of old documents or newspaper clippings on acid-free paper for long-term preservation.
Properly Store & Preserve Documents With Blue-Pencil
Is your office drowning in documents and looking for an effective and affordable solution that saves space, promotes productivity and ensures compliance?
At Blue-Pencil, we provide long-term storage and scanning services to protect important files throughout their entire lifecycle, regardless of the type or format.
Records are managed by authorized and trained professionals and kept in our climate-controlled space with 24/7 surveillance and strict security protocols. Our quick and easy online file retrieval system ensures that our clients have access to critical information through physical and electronic means. Employees can also centrally manage their accounts online to order documents, access inventory, request file storage reports and more.
Ready to learn more? Take the first step by getting in contact with Blue-Pencil for a free quote. Our customer service team will review our document storage processes and scanning solutions to help you make the best decision for your company.