5 reasons why it makes sense to use off-site file storage

Many organisations use self storage facilities for storing their archiving. With GDPR due to come into effect in May-18 and constant pressure to deliver business efficiencies through lean processes it may be timely to examine whether self-storage still offers your business the best value for money compared to the offer of a professional records management firm like Topwood.

The following contrasts self-storage with a records centre, like Topwood, which is dedicated to safeguarding business information.

1. Security

Self-storage facilities rely on accessibility to win customers. The result is that self-store sites are open to the general public allowing them access to the premises where your critical business information is stored. There is often no control or vetting of staff who work in these shared facilities. This openess could compromise the security of your data and result in data breaches through unauthorised access to your stored documents and personal data. Compare the openess of self-store premises with that of Topwood which is descretely located with highly restricted access. All staff who work for Topwood are independently are security vetted to BS7858. In addtion to unrestricted public access self-store facilities have no meaningful control of what their customers store. That poses the risk that incompatible materials are stored in units next to your highly important documents. In extreme cases, volatile materials such as fuel or explosives create the potential of ignition and heighten the risk of a fire. At Topwood only documents and records are stored so the risk of ignition is minimal.

Fire risk assessments show the chance of an incident is low but the consequences are massive. From the point of disaster recovery and business continuity businesses should take maximum care of their records.

Impact assesments will show that storing with a reputable records management company, like Topwood, is dedicated to storing sensitive information with restricted access and complete control over other items being stored, with no public access.

2. Storage costs

As self-store units rely on public access they are located in prime urban sites where land values are high. The high rents and rates incurred have to be recovered by passing those high costs onto their customers. Records centres like Topwood experience lower costs due to being located in rural areas which keeps their rates lower.

Self-storage facilities are large premises often divided into rentable units. The costs of these units is proportonal to their size. This limits the ability to expand and contract the space you need depending on your need.

Topwood offers a totally flexible option where your costs are directly proportional to the space your archive boxes occupy. Topwood optimise their facility with specialist racking to ensure economical fill.

3. A managed service

The basis for self-storage is based on charging for space (e.g. £/sq. ft.) but this rent, which is high for the reasons outlined above, does not take account of the actual costs of managing your files. There are many other costs incurred as a result from storing in self-store facilities. These hidden costs include the capital cost of purchasing racking, staff time delivering and collecting files, the cost of poor inventory control and losing files, the reluctance to organise the destruction of files all add costs.

Document and data centres like Topwood have bespoke barcode tracking systems to ensure your documents and files can be instantly located. Topwood take complete responsibilty by managing the entire process for ensuring your staff have the exact information when and where they need it.

Data centres like Topwood offer a fully integrated service for the indexing, collection, storage, retrieval and final destruction of files, documents and data. The entire service can be managed by the customer through our online portal allowing your staff to concentrate of revenue earning activities.

4. Destroy obsolete files

Self-storage facilities provide limited help for planning for the destruction of obsolete records. Topwood’s controls proactively assist compliance managers with retention scheduling ensuring the systematic destruction of obsolete files. This keeps you compliant with data protection regulations and keeps your costs down.

Keeping obsolete data is actaully a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 (soon to called The Data Protection Act 2018).

5. Management of files online

Many business managers have adopted lean process practices to improve business efficiencies by taking costs out of backroom office functions – such as file storage and moving towards a paperless filing system. Self-storage has little interest in helping with such transitions.

Topwood has a range of key steps to acheiving full Electronic Document Management. One method to achieve this would be to convert paper files to electronic versions when they need to be retreived from storage, through a scan-on-demand service. Electronic Document Management also provides a full list of inventory being stored through our barcoding and indexing system, creating full transparency of records being stored, again reinforcing compliance with the new Data Protection Act 2018.

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