Considering how full filing cabinets can get and how costly it is to keep paper documents on-site, many businesses opt for an offsite records storage facility to ease the burden. Maintaining records and archives and collecting data for future reference is a familiar yet tiresome task.
If your company is older and has been keeping documents that date back decades, you have probably considered or are already using a records storage facility. Using an offsite records storage facility may seem less expensive upfront. However, there are hidden costs, compliance issues, and other concerns that you may not have foreseen. These are some of the disadvantages you need to consider when evaluating a records storage facility.
Added Costs Associated with Storage
Offsite document storage can also be called the “Neverending invoice.” This is because once your documents are in storage most companies leave them there forever. Often spending tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.
As much as a record storage facility will help you regain office space, the costs can get out of hand with a high volume of records. It is often very inexpensive to get your documents into an offsite storage facility but once there the costs can begin to add up quickly. The cost to request a file can easily be hundreds of dollars. Permanent remove of your records also come with a steep cost, often referred to as a “hostage fee”. And after years of storage, and changing personnel within your company, many companies begin to lose track of what exactly is in the boxes; leading to costly compliance issues.
Many Government mandates expressly state when particular documents should, or must, be destroyed. Not destroying these documents, particularly ones containing personal information can carry heavy fines and even lawsuits.
The Inconvenience of Accessing Files
In conjunction with growing costs, there’s the simple fact that choosing to use a records storage facility can be an inconvenience to you. Storing documents elsewhere means you can’t access them at will, whenever you need them, which will affect efficiency.
If some important documents are being housed outside your workplace and you need them, it causes delays and frustration. The inability to access documents when you need to lowers productivity and may lead employees to make less informed decisions in order to avoid the costs and delays associated with requesting a file to be pulled and returned to the office. Additionally, many companies do not have detailed logs of exactly which files are in which box, meaning that dozens of boxes often have to be requested.
There is also the issue regarding physical vulnerability to potential natural disasters or hazards that could render the records storage facility or your data inaccessible. To prepare for this situation, you may be inspired to make duplicates, which creates more documents to store.
Most records storage facilities are highly secure, some even more so than if you were to store your documents on-site. However, there is still only one copy of your critical business records and despite our best efforts and planning, unforeseen disasters can strike anywhere and at any time. So with only one copy of your records, you can’t guarantee your data will be safe
When dealing with physical documents there is the potential for those documents to be misplaced or misfiled. So, if you’re opting to use a records storage facility, prepare yourself for possible misplacement. After all, they’re housing hundreds or thousands of your documents, and trying to put them in the right places can take a while. Plus, with employees requesting files on a regular basis, they can easily misfile a record or forget to put a document back.
Misplacement or misfiling can cost you much more time and money when trying to find the documents or replace them.
You Should Go Digital with Records Storage Instead
One of the biggest disadvantages of a physical records storage facility is that it doesn’t actually solve your problem. Though you are freeing up office space, the documents have just been moved elsewhere, and now they’re harder to access and you probably don’t even know what’s in half of those boxes. No one in the office wants to take ownership of regularly organizing and destroying files, so the papers, and legal exposure, continue to stack up. With a records storage facility, you’ll just end up wasting more money, with no end-date in sight.
Storing your information digitally is a more secure, convenient way to maintain, update, and destroy documents and improve information access time. You can control who gets access to which documents, and you can pull up the files at any time and anywhere. Cloud storage is an ideal solution to store information in a decentralized, digital format where it can be accessed regardless of time or location.