Businesses are still some way from being able to keep all their archives online.
It’s particularly true when it comes to those documents that businesses have to store on behalf of clients for periods of time specified in law.
For example business accounts must be kept for seven years. That can add up to an awful lot of paper per client for a typical accountancy office offering book keeping, VAT and tax return services.
Even those practices that are moving over to secure electronic document storage are faced with a seven-year cycle before they can complete the move.
There’s also the issue that no storage system is completely fool proof – data can get lost, computers crash, CDs, DVDs, memory sticks and hard drives don’t last forever, so a back-up is always a good idea and some of us will never be entirely comfortable without knowing the original documents are safely available somewhere as a last resort.
Sometimes, too, there’s no substitute for the feel of holding a historic document compete with elegant script and heavy seal in your hand.
It is likely, therefore, that storage space for paper archives will be needed for some time yet – and this can be a significant cost to businesses, particularly those that need to be in an expensive high-profile location.
It makes no sense to be leasing up to a third more floor area just to provide for archive storage.
However, you may need access to those archives from time to time, and they certainly need to be stored somewhere secure, fire and damp proof.
Secure self storage facilities are providing the solution for many such businesses and offer many advantages:
An office suite’s rental per square metre is often several times higher than it is in a managed warehouse. Highly sensitive data can be stored securely offsite ensuring compliance with legal requirements for document storage.
There’s no worry about keeping sensitive data on the office site and adding to the costs of insurance against fire and water damage.
Document storage facilities are available on the edge of most town centres. They ensure that sensitive archive information is kept away from prying eyes – clients get their own key or access code so they can access any documents if needed quickly and conveniently. archive storage essex
The process of organising files for moving to such storage provides an opportunity to order files and loose paperwork.
If you’re considering offsite secure archiving it’s worth planning ahead and giving some thought to how the documents will be organised.
How accessible do you need them to be? Are they all inactive files or part-active part inactive? How frequently are you likely to need to look at them?
You will perhaps decide that some can be boxed and labelled, some perhaps needs to be in hanging folders in either boxes or filing cabinets?
Then you will be in a better position to decide whether you just need an empty unit, or one that’s part-or completely supplied with shelving.
The answers will also help the storage company staff advise you on how much space you will need, whether you need shelving you and the storage company staff
Whichever is the best method you need to ensure there is a system of labelling and cataloguing that is easy to understand.
Some storage companies advise that you leave a duplicate list with them as well as keeping one at your office and some archiving storage specialists will actually manage your archive for you, to the extent of securely destroying those files that are beyond the period when you’re legally required to keep them.