Document storage refers to the process of storing essential documents securely offsite. This service is vital for businesses of all sizes, as it helps to protect documents from disasters, theft, and other potential risks.
With 90% of company documents still on paper, it’s essential to plan for the best way to store them. This article will talk about document management storage to help businesses better understand its value, how it works, and how it benefits them.
Businesses have an ever-growing need to store and manage increasing amounts of data.
The traditional way of storing documents in filing cabinets and Manila folders may seem outdated, but it still has advantages. The only problem is it can be difficult to keep up with the demands of a constantly growing business.
Offsite document storage refers to storing documents at a location different from where you are or where you typically access or use these documents. The offsite location may be physical or digital. It may be a storage facility managed by a third-party company.
Usually, the documents stored or archived offsite are the ones not accessed regularly. For example, documents you access once a year, such as tax documents, financial records or legal papers, can be stored offsite.
How Does Offsite Document Storage Work?
Below is an example of a typical offsite document storage process:
Step 1. The company or business signs up for an offsite document storage service.
Step 2. The company or business sends the documents to the offsite location via mail, courier, or direct delivery. They can also do it digitally by uploading the documents to a secure server.
Step 3. The documents stay stored at the offsite location until the business retrieves them.
Step 4. The company or business can access the documents anytime by requesting the manager of the storage system. Some offsite storage locations give companies access to the records through a password or other secure access control measures.
What Kind of Data Can be Stored?
Most businesses have a mix of physical and electronic documents. Physical documents may include employee records, customer information, or invoices. Physical media can also be stored offsite in secure boxes or containers. These include:
Some companies also offer to secure physical storage devices like hard drives and linear tape-open (LTO) data cartridges to keep them well-protected.
Offsite document storage is ideal for long-term contracts, especially for legal or compliance purposes.
When is offsite document storage needed?
Offsite document storage is ideal for long-term storage, especially for legal or compliance purposes, such as storing tax documents for seven years or keeping employee records for ten years.
Documents can also be stored for the short term. Some documents are seasonal, such as inventory records or financial reports. In these cases, the documents can be stored offsite and retrieved when needed.
Types of Offsite Document Storage Services
Companies can sign up for long-term or short-term storage
Long-term document storage: As the name says, it means saving or storing documents for an extended period. In most facilities, the minimum time for long-term document storage is one year. The company pays a higher fee than short-term document storage.
Short-term document storage: Refers to storing documents for a short period. The maximum storage time for short-term document storage is typically six months. The fee is lower for this type of arrangement than for long-term storage.
Reasons to Consider Document Storage Services for Your Business
Offsite document storage services provide the following advantages:
1. Improved security
When you store your documents offsite, you can take advantage of the enhanced security features that may not be available at your facility. These include 24/7 monitoring, door and window sensors, alarms, and armed guards.
It is perfect for businesses that keep sensitive information. It ensures safety for your documents, not only from deterioration but also from prying eyes.
2. More space
If your business grows, you may find your office space running out of storage. Rather than renting a larger office or warehouse, you can utilise an offsite storage facility to keep your documents safe and out of the way.
Alternatively, an offsite storage facility can be an excellent way to create more space if you’re downsizing your office.
3. Increased efficiency
When you have a dedicated team of professionals managing your storage system, you know that your documents will be well-organised and easily accessible. This saves you time and prevents frustration when you need to retrieve a specific document.
For example, if you need an archived customer file, you can simply call or email the storage facility, and they will retrieve the file for you—in minutes. Depending on your needs and the location’s features, you can opt to have the document sent to you digitally.
4. Enhanced protection
Offsite storage facilities are specially designed to store documents and are equipped with fire protection and climate control systems. Most of them have backup power generators to keep the lights on and the temperature stable in case of a power outage.
It ensures your files’ protection from the elements and eliminates the possibility of data loss. Some third-party companies offer highly secured disposal and shredding services if your company requires one.
Renting an offsite storage unit is more cost-effective than building an additional storage space on your property. You don’t have to worry about the ongoing maintenance and upkeep costs of owning your storage facility.
If your storage requirements change over time, you can simply adjust the size of your storage unit. You can save money by not paying for storage space you don’t need.
7. Convenient access
When you store your documents offsite, you’ll have 24/7 access to them. If you ever need to retrieve a document outside regular business hours, you can do so. Many offsite storage facilities also offer convenient pick-up and delivery services, which can be a lifesaver if you’re short on time.
If your business generates a lot of documents, offsite storage helps keep them organised and accessible.
8. Consistent chain of custody
When you store your documents offsite, you can be sure that the same team of professionals will handle them. Your documents are always well-protected and accounted for.
Additionally, most offsite storage facilities will provide you with a detailed chain of custody report, which can be helpful if you need to track down a specific document.
9. Peace of mind
You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your documents are in a safe, secure location. If you’re keeping sensitive information, this is a perfect solution.
Signs Your Business Needs Document Storage Services
Nearly every business generates some form of documentation, whether physical or digital. These documents must be stored safely and securely, from sales receipts to customer contracts. The best solution is to use document storage services.
Do you know if your business needs this service? Here are some scenarios:
You’re Running Out of Space: If your office is starting to feel cramped and can no longer find space to store physical documents, it may be time to consider using a facility.
You Have a High Volume of Documents: If your business generates a large volume of documents daily or weekly, offsite storage helps keep them organised and easily accessible. This is especially helpful if you need to reference older documents frequently.
You Need to Access Documents Remotely: If you have employees working remotely or need to access documents from different locations, offsite document storage can provide them access. It is also helpful for employees who travel frequently.
You Need to Store Sensitive Information: If you have sensitive or confidential documents that need to be stored securely, offsite storage keeps your files protected while making them accessible to authorised personnel only.
Choose The Right Document Storage Provider
Document storage services are an excellent solution for businesses of all sizes. If you’re looking for a way to free up space in your office, keep your files and media organised and easily accessible, or store sensitive information securely, sign up for document storage services.
When choosing an offsite document storage provider, choose a reputable company with a proven track record and learn as much as you can about their services. What are their security protocols? What insurance products are they using to protect your documents? Do they have fire and storm protection systems?
By choosing the right offsite document storage provider, you can rest assured that your documents and media are in good hands.
At Stockroom Archive Management, we offer a wide range of document storage solutions to fit the needs of any business. Contact us today to learn how our services can contribute to your business operations and growth.