One of these days, the use of paper for anything other than art will probably become obsolete. That day, however, is probably still some way off and until it arrives businesses have to face the question of how and where to store it. In many cases, the best solution is to have it taken off-site. Here are five reasons why.
It Allows You to Demonstrate Compliance with Data-Security Protocols
If you are storing any kind of personally-identifiable data then you will need to be aware of GDPR. This is a very rigorous piece of legislation and the penalties for breaking it can be severe (up to and including prison sentences). Using a third-party specialist vendor can give you the reassurance of knowing that you have an expert on your team to keep you on the right side of the law.
It Clears Space
Depending on how much paperwork you have, shifting it offsite could mean anything from having space for extra desks and/or storage to just having a bit more breathing space and better flow without people literally bumping into each other.
It Encourages You to Assess What Paperwork You Actually Need to Keep
When the cost of storing paperwork is just absorbed into the general office costs, people can get into the habit of developing a “better safe than sorry” attitude to saving paper and just file it away without stopping to think if it is actually needed.
By contrast, when the costs are broken out separately, they are clear for all to see and this can provide great motivation to stop and think if you are really storing paper or just hoarding paper. In this context, it’s worth pointing out that GDPR requires you to keep only the minimum of necessary data for the minimum length of time, so you should already be implementing a robust process of cleansing paperwork, but if, for some reason, you’re not, now would be a really good time to create one.
It Provides a Greater Level of Physical Protection
Leaving aside the issue of data theft, paper is also vulnerable to fire and flood and can even be damaged by more subtle hazards such as sunlight, humidity or even just regular handling. As paper is a substance many of us just take for granted, it may not occur to you to think about protecting your paperwork until it suffers meaningful damage, or is destroyed completely, by which point it is too late.
It Can Significantly Enhance Workflow Management
Paper-based workflow processes are cumbersome and slow and generally exist for one of two reasons. Firstly they can be a legal requirement (such as in certain legal or educational contexts) and secondly, they can simply be a legacy process which has continued because nobody has found the time, energy or resources to update it.
Moving paperwork offsite gives you a great opportunity to look at how your paperwork is used and to decide whether or not staff actually need access to the physical documents (and if so how often and how quickly) or if they can do their jobs from digital copies of the documents with the originals being stored offsite if they are needed for legal (or other) reasons.
P.S. Many thanks to Joe Muddiman for providing this valuable material. Joe is the General Manager at Rads Document Storage, a secure facility based in Nottingham which provides professional document scanning, shredding & storage services.