Why You Should Never Keep Confidential Records in a Self-Storage Unit

You’ve heard horror stories like this — a business doesn’t have the overhead capacity to store confidential business data in-house but they’re required to keep records such as tax files and HR documents for a minimum of seven years. Thinking the easiest (and cheapest) option is most likely a self-storage unit, they instruct staff to box up the records and stick them in a self-storage unit. This is going to end well, right? Wrong.

Just ask Washington State University. They learned a costly lesson when a hard drive filled with over one million people’s confidential information was stolen from a self-storage unit they were renting just a few blocks from campus. All in all, the hard drive theft cost the university a minimum of $150,000, with costs potentially soaring to well over $500,000 once every person affected had been notified and offered free credit monitoring. These costs, while expensive, were just one consequence of storing sensitive data in a self-storage unit. WSU also had to deal with negative press, the loss of customer confidence, and increased insurance premiums.

The dangers of storing business records in a self-storage unit are real and can be extremely costly:

Self storage unit security risks 

Most self-storage facilities lack on-site security and surveillance systems. Tenants (and sometimes non-tenants) are allowed to come and go as they please, making units prime targets for criminals. If a padlock is all that’s standing between your confidential tax files, employee records, financial information, and a thief, you’re at serious risk of a data breach. Don’t expose your customers or business to the risks of identity theft. An offsite record storage facility is equipped with 24/7 surveillance, alarm system, and gated entry to ensure your documents remain accessible when you need them, but secure when you don’t.

Self-storage units are inconvenient 

Who wants to crawl around in a dark, damp storage unit searching for records? If you’re interested in turnkey document management, a self-storage unit is not the solution. How many times has a member of your staff taken time out of their day to sift through boxes within a self-storage unit looking for a particular record? It’s an inefficient use of staff’s time and a waste of your money. With an offsite document storage provider, you have 24/7 access to your data and records can be delivered in as little as 30 minutes via scan on demand. Don’t spend any more time sweating in a stuffy storage unit when you could have convenient access to your records right from your desktop.

No Disaster Recovery Solution

Self-storage units are not protected from fires, floods, or insect infestations. And while you can’t necessarily control the weather or nature, you can control where you store your tax files, employee records, customer services files, and more. Self-storage units are dark, damp, and prone to mold growth. Whether you’re required to retain records for five year, 20 years, or for life, ensure that your documents won’t be exposed to water damage, mold damage, or insect damage. The structural integrity of self-storage units isn’t worth risking your entire professional reputation. With Record Storage Systems, we offer turnkey records management with the additional benefit of a risk management solution that covers you in the event of a disaster.

Self storage unit cost

Over a period of several years, a self-storage unit can end up costing two to three times more than a secure offsite document storage provider. With self-storage units, you’re often paying for more space than you actually use, not to mention the labor costs associated with digging through files and retrieving records when you need them.

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