Nine Reasons to Outsource Records Storage (and how to do it)
Are boxes of records filling up what should be workspace? Here's why it makes sense to seek some outside assistance.
When file cabinets and boxes are piling up in your workspace, it's time to consider a solution. By working with a records management vendor on this task, you'll free up space and reduce the costs of maintaining your records. Here's how:
Why Outsource Records Storage?
A well-constructed outsourcing plan will help your organisation:
- Identify and prioritise vital information. Sending files offsite compels you to review them for relevance. What do you need to keep close at hand, and what do you need only occasionally that can easily live offsite?
- Boost efficiency. When you ship out extraneous records, you'll improve business processes such as customer service. By removing less useful, inactive information, you'll have fewer, more relevant records on-hand—which will foster faster overall workflow.
- Improve security. A trusted supplier can offer offsite storage facilities with intrusion detection and alarm systems, fire detection and suppression equipment and in some cases, onsite security personnel.
- Ensure disaster recovery and business continuity. Not all disasters or interruptions are large in scale, but even small disasters can bring your operations to a sudden halt. The quicker you can get your hands on your records, the quicker your business can resume operating.
- Comply with regulations. There are many mandates the proper protection—and destruction—of sensitive data residing in your records. Choosing to outsorce records mangement can help you meet these mandates—and provide proof of compliance.
- Better fulfil legal discovery and audit requests. Stacks of unused or rarely used records can thwart the quick fulfilment of discovery and audit requests—increasing the likelihood of penalties and legal fees.
- Make better use of your talent. How many employee hours are spent away from your core business, maintaining and managing records? And how much money? It makes much better sense for those employees to work on more critical missions than finding a seven-year-old client agreement.
- Reduce costs. How much space are you renting simply to give your records a home? Put some desks or a meeting room in that space—or rent it to someone else and shrink your office footprint to suit your operational needs. And as far as the space you're renting to store those files offsite, rent only what you need: Some vendors offer a pay-as-you-go plan—you'll pay only for the storage space you need, when you need it.
- Gain control. Properly labelled, indexed and stored records afford better end-to-end information management. Search, retrieve and locate records more quickly than if they were stored in rickety filing cabinets in a backroom or in unmarked boxes at the local mini-storage facility.
Choose a Supplier, Make it Happen
Once you decide it's time to rely on an external supplier to outsource records storage, you'll want to carefully vet some records management vendors. After that, it's simply a matter of investing some sweat equity and time. Decide which records are going into storage, and pack them into boxes.
Typically, a vendor will provide barcodes. You affix these on your boxes to index their contents, ensuring availability on demand; it's a clever bridging of digital and physical file processes. Once you've finished, dial up your trusted third party supplier to arrange for pickup and delivery to the storage facility.
If a complete e-records environment is your eventual goal, consider having your vendor create a scanning schedule for your offsite files. Doing this opens the door to faster, easier electronic access when the day comes that you need a file again.
With a great partnership in place, records management is no longer a nagging headache. It becomes a strategic tool in optimising your daily operations.
The supplier you choose makes quite a difference in the way your records are handled, indexed, secured and protected. Here's what you need to have in place before clearing out your storage room:
- Excellent security means you have sole records access. Round-the-clock monitoring and physical access measures keep records safe. Fire detectors and other mechanisms ensure your records' physical safety. While most facilities claim such safeguards among their advantages, tour the facility to see for yourself.
- Ongoing scanning services. Look for a vendor who offers scanning services. You'll appreciate this when you need one of those files in hours, not this afternoon or tomorrow.
- A controlled environment. The conditions under which records are stored—and even their distance from the floor—are critical to their integrity, especially for long-term storage. Know the protocols of a potential storage facility before signing an agreement.
- Access on-demand. A true supplier provides constant on-demand records access. For example, Iron Mountain's Web portal provides you with access to powerful records access and retrieval tools. Use it to label, describe, locate and retrieve a record or records.
Iron Mountain records storage solutions offer all of the above benefits. Contact us today, and ask for your free records storage facilities tour.