If you conduct a quick internet search, you’ll find articles advertising the benefits of offsite redundancy for storing your business-related materials. This is certainly a good thing for some documents, but many of these articles fail to mention why offsite storage of paper documents is generally ill-advised. Wondering why? Let’s dive right in and see if you’re better of maintaining full control over your sensitive documents.
Just How Secure Are Your Documents?
Seemingly, the issue of security varies by vendor. However, even in the case of highly-advertised security for offsite document storage, there’s always a chance that the provider of services misuses or is negligent with respect to their control of access to your information. This is in addition to systems that could become compromised because of a break in, fire, or flood.
Obtaining Your Documents at a Moment’s Notice
Another question you must ask yourself is, just how quickly can you get your files from an offsite document storage facility? Is the place open around-the-clock? What’s the sign-in procedure like, and how far away is it from your office or the place you need to go to? Will the delay and hassle cause your team to make critical business decisions without obtaining the required information?
Retrieval can be a big issue in cases such as these. For a medium to large storage facility, you’ll need to navigate to your locker, and then spend what could be an excessive amount of time finding the right papers. When these things are in-office or stored electronically, you have a trusted labeling system and the huge benefit of proximity and familiarity.
Transportation to an Offsite Facility
Document storage facilities aren’t exactly the most popular of services. Chances are, the one closest to you will still be an inconvenient distance away. This also doesn’t account for traffic, severe weather, and the unpredictable happenings of everyday life. It can be especially frustrating to have to travel to an offsite location, just to retrieve documents that you then have to travel back to the office to review them.
This situation can be worsened by unsolicited movement of your files, for example, to another locker in case of emergency. Depending on how efficient the storage facility is, your office may or may not have been notified beforehand, and you may only find out the day you drive out there and need to quickly retrieve them. In short, offsite document storage can be very inconvenient, even in cases where things run relatively smooth because of the added travel time to the same place twice.
The rental costs associated with offsite document storage is yet another business expense, but is it a necessary one? Think of it as a service you would use endlessly, as it is human nature to keep piling on new documents instead of sifting through and retiring unneeded ones on a regular basis. Larger, more efficient operations have substantial access and exit fees.
Simply put, you could be paying for document storage at a rental unit until the closure of your company, as document storage is rarely a temporary thing. Keeping them in-office or moving them to digital through a reasoned process saves you a ton of money in the long run.
Ultimately, document storage is best looked at as an optimization problem rather than as an offsite storage issue. You avoid all the associated costs of retrieval, as well as the possible cross-contamination of files with the multitude of other business that are certainly on the premises. Your business can be even more effective if it destroys obsolete documents and migrate required files to a document management system. Overall, it’s better to seek alternatives to the offsite storage option.