Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog
Achieving a Total Offsite Records Management Solution
Storage seems like a fairly straightforward concept; with the proper amount of space, virtually anything can be easily and cheaply stockpiled. Paper records, because of their underestimated value, often end up in less than optimal storage spaces. Many businesses store archival documents in spaces like basements, attics, utility closets and mini storage units for years–sometimes well beyond the required retention period. But this shortsighted records management strategy fails to take into consideration numerous risks such as:
- pest and mold infestation
- lack of fire and flood protection
- nominal security
- incomplete inventory of records
- inadequate tracking of documents and files
- lack of verifiable access and retrieval procedures
Understanding the true value of your business records and their importance to your organization can lead to a more sophisticated view of how they should be protected and managed.
The consequences of poor storage choices
Earlier this month in Tennessee, thousands of Greene County circuit court documents stored in a county-owned facility were found to have extensive water, mold and mildew damage. These types of situations tend to be common with “in-house” storage facilities as they are not built specifically for document protection and preservation. When water and mold damage occurs in incidents like the one in Green County, a rigorous and expensive document restoration process must take place in a timely manner in order to salvage important records. Even then, there is no guarantee that water and mold damaged files can be completely restored, which may lead to subsequent consequences such as:
- civil lawsuits
- Federal Trade Commission suits
- regulatory non-compliance fines
- bad publicity
Of course, any business should have a disaster recovery plan in place to help with the remediation process in a similar situation. However, taking a more proactive approach in choosing a dedicated document storage facility can provide significantly better protection, along with other benefits.
Dedicated records storage
A dedicated Records Center is designed to foster the long-term preservation and protection of paper documents and files. Business records are stored on racks in high-density shelving systems to decrease the likelihood of mold and water damage from flooding. Additionally, the facility is likely to be equipped with the following features:
- Fire detection and deployment systems
- Comprehensive integrated pest management plans
- Systems for minimizing dust and light damage
- Continuous security monitoring
- Regulated temperature and humidity control
A dedicated records storage facility will also contain an inventory database allowing for the tracking, retrieval and disposal of documents in a timely manner. This provides for complete lifecycle management of an organization’s archival records.
The importance of having an expert resource
In addition to having a proper storage facility, it’s equally important to utilize a resource with an understanding of the methodologies, regulations and systems necessary for records management. Your business has a legal and financial responsibility to organize, protect and preserve a variety of different types of records according to specifically set retention periods. Various laws pertaining to the management of records, including the following, may specifically affect your business:
- Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)
- Heath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- Sarbanes Oxley (SOX)
- Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB)
A professional records and information management company is well-versed in the various legal and regulatory requirements affecting the retention and disposition of business records. Often, the right provider will be a member of various associations dedicated to the privacy and protection of data, enabling you to receive the most current information relevant to your business and industry.
The Data Vault helps businesses in Louisville and throughout Kentucky address their archival storage concerns while providing regulatory-compliant records management solutions. For more information, please contact us by phone or fill in the form on this page.