Three Basic Types of Document Storage
Document storage in the world of businesses and organizations can be divided into three categories:
- On-site storage of paper records (hard copies)
- Off-site storage of paper records (hard copies)
- Digital document storage (electronically stored data)
A closer look at each type of document storage will reveal its pros, cons, and implications for the operation of your private or corporate business or organization.
Onsite Document Storage of Paper Records
While much progress has been made toward the achievement of the eco-friendly paperless office (if environmental considerations play an important role in your decision making you might find the articles listed here of use), the fact remains that a large percentage of business information, transactions, and communications still exist in paper or hard-copy format. This means a multitude of paper files that need to be managed and organized so that they can be easily found and retrieved as needed.
While some organizations may have the liberty of discarding old files that are taking up office space and causing clutter, most workplaces require the safe and secure storage of information for future reference. Moreover, document storage is mandatory in certain sectors, such as the legal, financial, and medical/health arenas.
Agencies in these sectors are required by law to keep records for a set period of time (specific to each industry), as well as to safely and securely dispose of them (via secure document shredding) after the retention period expires.
Since it doesn’t take long to amass mounds of historical records and piles of paperwork which take up precious space in the workplace, many organizations are turning to offsite locations to store their documents and essential data. While paying rental fees for a storage facility may be costly, the payoffs are innumerable.
Offsite Document Storage of Paper Records
If your organization has too many hard-copy files to manage and handle efficiently – whether they be receipts, invoices, purchase orders, customer files, manuals, contracts, or other types of paper materials – and insufficient space for bulky filing cabinets and storage boxes, off-site document storage of paper records is an excellent and business-savvy option.
Fortunately, to meet the growing demands for remote storage of records, numerous companies specializing specifically in document storage have emerged. Here are some of ways your organization can benefit from outsourcing your storage requirements to the professionals:
- One-stop solution to keeping your archived data in a single, secure, and accessible area
- Document storage facilities are designed to provide an optimum environment for the long-term maintenance of paper materials (i.e., ideal temperatures, protection from the elements)
- Document storage warehouses are monitored round the clock by security surveillance or a security team, ensuring the safety of your documents
- Document storage companies will collect your files/boxes from your workplace and promptly retrieve/return them to you upon request
- All files are indexed and placed in numbered boxes, making them easy for the storage provider to access or for you to collect in person
- Technologically advanced storage facilities record the precise location of your files within the warehouse on their computer, facilitating instant retrieval
- Most document storage companies offer secure shredding services once the document retention period has expired and files are no longer needed
- Document storage specialists are increasingly offering document scanning services and the digitizing of your hard-copy data for electronic storage
Digital Document Storage
Digital document storage represents the way of the future in information management across the spectrum of industries. Scanning machines are used to transform hard-copy documents of all kinds into electronic versions (digital format). These converted files and documents are then easily stored on your computer or a CD for easy access and retrieval – and most importantly, for the secure and long-term maintenance of records.
Advantages of Digitally Stored Information
Advantages of digitally storing your firm’s documents include:
- Once your files have been scanned and saved on your hard drive, a disk, or online, they exist in a searchable format by keywords
- Electronic data is easy to back up, providing protection and easy retrieval in case of natural disaster, theft, loss, or computer damage
- Reduced expenses for physical storage facilities
- Allows for easy sharing of documents between and within departments
- Ease of access to archived data leads to savings in time and money, improved work flow, increased productivity, and enhanced customer satisfaction
For best quotes on document storage services, as well as document scanning and document shredding services, fill out the form on the right.