Typical office workers create an enormous and ever-expanding amount of paper. In offices of the past, the information generated by companies was copied multiple times and then stored in filing cabinets around the office.
The modern workplace is fluid, combining electronic and paper documents. Nonetheless, today’s offices still need access to historical files and paper records they continuously create.
This is why so many businesses fall into the unending cycle of onsite storage and record retention. Many organizations are simply unaware of the advantages offsite and digital storage can have. Often, these companies will not recognize the signs of a failing records management program until it is too late!
Before you settle for your archaic, already established retention strategy, consider the rules and regulations, alternatives, and key differences between storage types. It might just have you questioning if your business should break up with onsite document storage once and for all.
Document Storage Rules & Regulations
Some organizations utilize onsite document storage to meet legal requirements for certain types of documents. Many sensitive documents like tax and healthcare records must be kept in hard copy onsite for a specific length of time.
Maintaining a document retention policy can be a daunting task. To mitigate regulatory and legal risks, many organizations implement an information governance program to ensure data is handled ethically at all times.
The strategic framework information governance uses to process data on an organizational level is essential for handling documents such as patient records and bank statements. Without an outside storage and document management partner, companies must navigate privacy and security standards for both print and digital documents by themselves.
Including only onsite document storage rules and regulations in your storage and retention strategy can pose huge disadvantages to an organization’s legal compliance if the information is accidentally leaked or proper data security measures are not in place at the storage location.
Alternatives to On-Site Storage
Due to the inherent risks of managing confidential and sensitive data, some businesses choose to outsource their document management programs. Storing records digitally or offsite is a solid alternative to onsite storage.
A document scanning and management partner can help identify what document(s) should be scanned first. Businesses can use a combination of day forward and back file document scanning to identify critical and historical records to digitize. This keeps your business running smoothly while moving away from comprehensive onsite storage.
Once records are scanned, they can integrate with a document indexing system to help keep track of records and access important files quickly. Data extracted from paper files can be converted into workflows for employees and ultimately improve internal processes.
Onsite vs. Offsite Storage
While it may not be entirely possible to remove all documents from onsite storage at your facility, you can work toward digital transformation with offsite and digital storage to keep your records properly maintained.
Some of the key differences between onsite and offsite document storage include the following:
- Increased office space with offsite storage: Most organizations must keep paper documents for a minimum of seven years. Many businesses will still keep documents after their retention period has expired, taking up valuable square footage in your office.
- Consistent disposition schedules: Troubles arise with onsite storage when sensitive records are kept after their retention expiration date. Offsite and digital storage can help maintain a consistent disposition schedule, removing expired documents without the manual labor of your team.
- Storage facilities are built for security: Offsite storage facilities and cloud storage systems are built to protect your data. Measures like 24/7 security cameras and climate-controlled facilities are some of the perks of working with a professional document center that is equipped to keep your information safe from prying eyes and unexpected surprises.
- Enhanced business continuity: Onsite storage at your office can be a huge issue for business continuity in the event of a fire, flood or unforeseen emergency. If your business does not store scans of records offsite or online, there will never be a way to recover them when disaster strikes. Offsite and digital storage plays a key role in any record retention policy’s disaster recovery plan.
- Files are always accessible: Digital and offsite storage means files have increased accessibility, even after an unexpected disaster. You will no longer waste time tracking down misplaced files because there is secondary copy storage. Offsite storage uses tracking systems to ensure the correct version of a file is exactly where it needs to be. This means you can serve your customers faster and drive positive customer experiences.
Digitize to Preserve Onsite Storage
Even though many organizations are switching to electronic file storage, nothing will ever truly replace the pen and paper for some of your customers and employees. Regardless of your type of business, solely relying on onsite physical storage can pose detrimental risks to your business.
After weighing all your document storage options, it’s time to think long-term. Do you want to digitize and preserve your onsite storage for years to come? With a growing number of document management options, we can find a strategy to fit your plan!
Want to see what digital storage can do for your archives stored on paper? Request a free sample scan to get started with Didlake Imaging.