How to Identify the True Value of a Storage Space for your Documents

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Archival Records Storage

We live in a deal obsessed culture.  Each day, advertisements publicise discounts and specials, our deal “radar” final attuned to them.  And that’s ok; it makes sense to want to save money.  But a deal should never trump the true value of a service or product.

Self storage and mini storage unit providers hoping to capatilise on space constraints of businesses, tout convenient and low cost storage options.   It’s easy to see the appeal.   The documents currently stored within your office can be transferred to your unit and stowed away with a padlock.  Viola!  Your space constraints have been solved and the first month is free.

The risks of self storage

However, there are many risks with self storage options.  Often, the only thing separating a self storage unit from the elements is a roll down door.  This means that moisture can easily seep into a unit, permanently damaging paper records stored and stacked directly on the ground.   In addition to water damage, exposure to mold, mildew and pest contamination is frequent.

Self storage facilities are configured such that units are situated side by side with shared a shared wall separating the contents of each.   Customers can store virtually anything within a rented space – furniture, mechanical equipment, tools, etc.    Given the possibilities are endless and that control and oversight for over what is stored within is limited, hazardous or flammable materials may be stored directly adjacent to your business records.

Security is also a factor that should be considered.   At a self storage unit a padlock is the only thing protecting your business files from unauthorized access.   Combined with loosely monitored access and absentee, onsite management, the risk of theft is high.  Given it may be days or weeks before you need a file from your unit, a privacy breach could go undetected for months.

In addition to the physical risks to your documents, self storage facilities do not provide systems for enhanced records management.  Any storage space that doesn’t enable organization of your files to support internal audit processes as well as legal and regulatory retention requirements is unacceptable.  With a self storage facility, it is still up to you to manage your records, and to allocate the administrative resources and time to do so.

 The value of security, compliance and privacy breach risk reduction

A professional records storage solution provides value beyond just providing a tin room for your business documents.  It provides structure and best practices processes for enhanced records management.  Documents are stored on high density shelving units within a records centre that is specifically designed for the protection and preservation of paper records.   In addition, professional document storage offers the following benefits:

  • continuously monitored security technology
  • climate control and regulation specific to document preservation
  • access restricted to screened document management professionals
  • enhanced fire detection and suppression systems

Within a professional records centre, an integrated document management system enables precise management of both inactive archival records as well as active files.   A complete records inventory tracked with barcode technology allows for precise location and swift retrieval of files to support everyday business processes as well as disaster recovery capabilities.  Retention management objectives are supported with the following:

  • web based search capabilities
  • customised reporting
  • file level indexing

Requests and retrievals can be made online eliminating the time and resources necessary for finding files within a self storage unit.   Files are delivered by screened professionals in GPS tracked vehicles by screened professionals, thus providing a documented chain of custody process for enhanced information security.

Docu-Dépôt provides professional records management and storage solutions to companies throughout Montréal and Québec. To find out more, please contact us by phone or fill in the form on this page.

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