Risk Management: Onsite Records Storage and the Hidden Liability
Is onsite record storage an outdated business practice?
Document management is becoming more of a priority today within organizations as businesses begin to digitize information, create more efficiency and automation, and implement stronger security measures to minimize risk of a data breach.
The onsite storage and management of physical records can be a hindrance and liability to your organization without you even realizing it. Even though many businesses are aware of the security risks associated with storing confidential records onsite in file cabinets or in a self-storage unit, some are still hanging onto outdated records management practices. If you ask employees why they haven’t made a change yet, you may hear responses like “We just don’t have time”, or “We’ve always done it this way.” But times are changing and employers know it.
With companies focused on automating manual processes and digitizing information, if you’re still storing and managing hard copy records onsite, it could be affecting revenue, customer service, and even causing you to fall behind your competitors.
Is storing documents onsite a liability?
Physical records scattered throughout the office are prone to being misplaced, misfiled, accidentally shredded, or even stolen. Information and data are only valuable to your organization if they’re accessible and organized when you need them. If you’re information isn’t working as an asset for you, then it’s a liability.
Without a proper records retention policy in place, sensitive information could be compromised. To reduce the overall risk associated with storing documents in house, first create a record retention plan. Once you’ve established a company-wide document management initiative, it will be easier to identify which records are ready to be stored offsite, what needs to be scanned, and what is ready to be destroyed.
What are the security benefits of offsite document storage?
Offsite records storage offers a multitude of convenient benefits, but perhaps one of the most important aspects is security.
Take Record Storage Systems’ record center in Charlotte, NC for example- our record center is gated, monitored 24/7 by a security company and alarm system under video surveillance. Access to the building is restricted to employees only and visitors are accompanied on the premises at all times and are not permitted to access any store records on the shelving or enter the imaging room or shredding area. Does your office restrict access to the building, certain floors, and certain rooms? Can you constantly monitor who is coming and going and what information they may be seeing?
Aside from the physical security aspects of a record center, a professional document storage provider will ensure that your records are organized and even help you keep track of destruction dates. At Record Storage Systems, we use an advanced barcode tracking technology and software that enables us to locate and track each induvial box in the facility. Using the online customer portal, clients can set destruction dates and reminders to keep track of record retention cycles. This keep documents secure by ensuring that no one will ever be able to walk into the record center and find or identify a certain record or box.
How can offsite document storage improve compliance?
Federal and state laws, as well industry associations, regulate the secure management and accessibility of hard copy documents as well as electronic data depending on your industry and the document’s function. Finance, healthcare, and legal industries all have requirements to storage, manage and maintain records.
Financial institutions, attorneys, and healthcare providers are all required by law to retain records and certain length of time before they can be destroyed. Oftentimes, record retention guidelines can range anywhere from 3 years, to 15 years or more depending on the type of record. That’s a long time to be storing records onsite in the office! And chances are after several years you will easily run out of office space.
An offsite storage provider will help you set record retention deadlines and remind you when document shave met the retention deadline for document shredding. Offsite storage offers peace of mind that your records are secure until that time comes and you don’t have to worry about your records consuming unnecessary space in the office.