How to Protect Your Hardcopy Data Long Term
Each day, documents are routinely accessed and used within your business. What would be the impact if a single file or your entire hardcopy inventory suddenly vanished? How would you resume conducting your operations as normal? Could you continue to service your customers? Your paper documents may be the lifeblood of your organization, and they deserve proper protection.
Where they’re stored
As with any critical business asset, your paper documents should be physically protected from unforeseen events. Catastrophes causing permanent hardcopy data loss run the gamut:
- leaky water pipes
- electrical fires
- natural disasters
When documents are either partially or permanently lost, your business processes are immediately interrupted, which can also have an impact on legal and regulatory compliance.
Disaster recovery and identity theft experts highly recommend that hardcopy business information be stored in a location away from your primary place of business. Choosing the right storage facility is especially important and should not only minimize the aforementioned risks, but also provide round-the-clock records management services to support both your retention requirements and data recovery needs. Things to look for in a facility include:
- perimeter security
- continuously monitored access gates
- external and internal 24/7 security surveillance
Distinctly different than a self storage business, a records center only offers access to screened records management professionals. All documents are stored on high-density shelving units with in-house sprinkler systems for rapid fire suppression.
How they’re managed
Within any office, without constant oversight and proper organization, documents are bound to get lost or misplaced over time. A file cabinet drawer may be accessed several times over the course of a single business day, increasing the likelihood that individual documents and whole files could be misfiled or misplaced. Archival files may be mixed in with their more active counterparts and document storage areas may not be monitored, which can lead to unauthorized access of sensitive information. These problems can be avoided with the use of proper retention management practices. In order to fully protect hardcopy data, you should be able to fully account for the following items at any point in time:
- where specific documents are located
- who has accessed a particular file
- when a file has been retrieved and returned
- how long documents need to be kept
When your documents are managed by a professional records management company, not only is an accurate audit trail for your hardcopy data constantly maintained, but the stress of having to manage files internally is also alleviated. Barcode tracking and inventory management technology enable documents to be consistently accounted for and securely retrieved and delivered according to your needs. All information pertinent to your hardcopy data can be shared between the records center where your inventory is stored and your business office, providing you with increased records management functionality, including:
- web access to important retention information
- verification and editing of destruction dates
- custom reporting options
Who’s protecting them
In addition to the facility where your hardcopy data is stored and the way in which it’s managed, you must be able to place 100% confidence in the company protecting your documents. When you choose a local vendor with a history of serving your community, you reap the benefits of working with a provider built on trust and service. You should search for a company that has established itself as an expert in the records and information management industry. Additional things to look for include:
- client references
- special designations and awards
- professional affiliations
Richards & Richards provides businesses throughout Nashville with records and information management solutions. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.