Document storage can be a sensitive issue for businesses. For those working in the health industry, state and federal laws dictate the secure handling of patients’ personal information. For other industries, the guidelines may not be set quite so firmly in stone.
Even in today’s digital age, as much as 95% of business information continues to be kept on paper documents. Whatever industry you’re in, chances are you have at least one file cabinet’s worth of paper documents cluttering up your work space. If you’re ready to get them off your hands but can’t throw them out, it’s time to talk to a document storage company.
Document storage companies specialize in the secure storage of paper documents. But not all document storage companies are run the same. The services offered and level of protection your documents will receive can vary widely across the industry. To ensure any document storage companies you partner with are well-equipped to keep and protect your documents, ask them about the following:
What sort of information security guarantee do you provide?
Perhaps the most important aspect of all documents storage companies is their level of security. According to the FBI, information theft costs U.S. businesses around $24 billion each year. What methods of secure document storage does the company offer? Is security a priority?
Some document storage companies take security more seriously than others. They may run extensive background checks on employees or carry insurance to protect you in the event that secure information is breached while your documents are under their care.
What level of physical security do you offer?
Not only is the information security important, but also the physical security of your documents. Even the most secure document storage companies with highly vetted employees can’t protect your papers from fire without proper building environments. Ask if the company’s storage facilities are natural disaster ready. Do they have a pest prevention strategy in place? Rodents, insects, and spiders are notorious for making nests and meals out of important papers. Make sure your storage company has a means of preventing that from happening to you.
What level of access will I have?
Before sending your documents to a storage company, make sure you know what sort of access you’ll have while they’re there. Some document storage companies limit access to certain hours (for example, during normal business hours). This may be fine for your purposes, but it could also be helpful to know you can have round the clock access in the event of a business emergency.
In addition to understanding the level of access you’ll have, ask about their delivery speed. If you request access, how long will they take to deliver the document? Do they offer both pickup and deliver options?
What’s your fee structure?
Different document storage companies provide different services for varying fees. Its important to understand exactly what you’ll be paying and for what services. You’ll want a clear understanding of the fee structure offered. The company may offer varying levels of storage from mini-storage to full-service facilities. Each will offer its own types of services, as well. What services are included in your monthly fee. For instance, is there an extra charge for delivery?
Important steps to take before you send your documents for storage
Before sending your documents off with a document storage company, make sure you’re only sending what needs to go. Going back to our very first bullet point earlier: security begins with you. Review all documents to ensure that they are necessary. If its not, dispose of it.
One of the best ways of disposing of paper documents is through secure shredding services. Some document storage companies will offer onsite document shredding as part of their services. If you have papers that don’t need to be kept any longer, shred them. Not only will shredding prevent secure information from being stolen, it’ll also help save valuable space in your office and reduce the risk of fire. What more reason do you need to use a secure paper shredding service?
Once you’ve determined what needs to be stored and shredded the rest, the next step is easy: let a document storage company take them off your hands.