Why Is Document Storage And Retention Scheduling Necessary?
Sun, Sep 24, 2017
By: Jacob Gilmore
For some, document management might seem like a luxury and not a need. You might wonder the reason for seeking records management services when organizing, storing and disposing of documents could take place in-house. To answer this question, business owners don’t have to look much farther than a colleague's cluttered storage closet, or, even worse, their own disarray of boxes and loose papers.
While it may not seem like an immediate business priority, the lack of an efficient document management system can result in lost or haphazardly filed documents and records. At the very least this can result in inefficiency within your business. And at its most extreme, it can result in lost information, non-compliance fees, and compromised security. It’s not as though businesses are intentionally careless, but document management is often put on the back burner in favor of other priorities — this is where document management services come in. Issues that generally fly under the radar like document retention, storage, conversion, disposal, and other concerns are top priorities for these professionals, and partnering with a reputable, quality document management service allows records to be out of sight, out of mind, and still in control.
What is Retention Scheduling?
Document management is like putting a pizza in the oven — if it’s there for too long, or too short of a time period, there will be issues. As an office manager, day-to-day responsibilities likely take precedent over record management, so it’s easy to overlook document lifecycles, and a violation might slip through the cracks. Record retention scheduling keeps track of document lifecycles so you don’t have to.
The best method is to create and maintain document retention scheduling that notifies you when a document needs to be disposed. When it’s time, document destruction services will come and dispose of business and personal records such as emails, tax information and health care reports.
Keeping documents past their lifecycles, or disposing of them too quickly can lead to fines, so adhering to a record retention schedule is important to avoid costly litigation down the line. Record retention services save money on infraction fees and time that would have been wasted digging through documents. Document regulations are getting more stringent, so it’s hard to understand document lifecycles without help from a third-party record management service. Retention scheduling is also an important step in ensuring federal, state, local, and industry compliance.
Document Storage Save on Compliance Fees
Regulatory guidelines like HIPAA and the Sarbanes Oxley Act are in place to prevent fraud and represent consumer interest, but is it possible to violate record management regulations on accident? Yes, it is — and it’s more common than you think.
Due to poor organization or being uninformed about the increasingly stringent document regulatory system, people lapse on document destruction and have to pay fines. As companies grow, they might opt to manage documents independently, but oftentimes this leads to an unorganized, disjointed system that breeds inconsistencies and compliance issues.
Working with a document management expert takes the guesswork out of record retention and guarantees compliance. Your records management partner effectively tracks document lifecycles and, when the time comes, confidentially disposes of them. The proven retention scheduling process and document disposal services will keep your business in compliance with document storage regulations, and take the guesswork out of determining when to keep or destroy records.
The Importance of Offsite Document Storage
What if documents aren’t ready to be disposed of, but office space is dwindling? This is a great opportunity to establish document storage options through the lifecycle of your records. As companies grow, record storage becomes a greater concern, and without professional offsite document storage you run the risk of losing records that might be stacked in a locker or crammed into closets.
Offsite records storage saves on time and money through professional transportation and storage of important business information. Look for a partner who provides an environmentally-controlled facility that’s monitored 24/7, and ensures record safety, physical integrity and lifecycle management. Protecting document safety, meeting compliance and freeing up office space is made simple through partnership with an offsite document storage service, leaving you more time to focus on your company and not those crumbled tax forms in your drawer.
Professional Document Storage Saves Money and Time
Professionally storing up to 100 boxes of records costs about as much as a daily cup of coffee, so you have to consider: what is more important — the morning mocha, or business record security?
It’s easy to discount third-party storage due to cost, but it’s a misconception that storing documents in the office or a storage unit is more cost effective. While forgoing professional document service saves money at the time, there are long term costs many people don’t account for, and businesses are covertly pick pocketed by factors like transportation and compliance fees. Saving money on document storage starts with organization, and you don’t have to tackle this challenge alone.
Offsite document storage is easy to set up and access. Barcode scanning makes it easy to access document when necessary, so records can be located and delivered without the headache of digging through folders. Plus, the amount of space saved with offsite document storage will free up room for more office space to increase productivity and efficiency.
Guaranteed Document Compliance Through Retention Scheduling
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act regulates accounting and auditing for public companies, but some provisions also apply to private companies. The best way to ensure all Ts are crossed, Is are dotted, and ensure Sarbanes-Oxley compliance is to leave document retention to the professionals.
A records management partner keeps up on the latest regulations. Gilmore Services tracks lifecycles and disposes of documents to prevent costly litigation. When storing documents off site, retention scheduling is automated to save the your time and money by preventing accidental compliance lapses.
Offsite Document Storage Improves Security
One of the most important elements of record management is security. Whether it’s during transportation or storage, sensitive documents require special care to stave off identity theft, prevent confidential leaks and remain organized. Many companies keep documents locked or hidden, but even these methods aren’t fully protected from theft, fires, and other factors and events that can be detrimental.
The good news? Your records management partner is in the business of keeping business documents secure. Offsite document storage should include 24/7 surveillance, and records should be under the careful watch of data protection professionals. In addition, and environmentally controlled facility should regulates humidity and temperature to protect documents from environmental wear.
Of course, these days, not all records are physical pieces of paper. Now, more than ever, documents are being stored online, thanks to easy and cost effective cloud storage solutions.
Bringing Document Storage into the 21st Century
The increasing availability and affordability of cloud storage is making digital document storage a go-to solution for many businesses. Online document storage is a reality, and document storage professionals have made the shift easy for companies to make.
A major motivator for increased demand in online storage is it is a sure-fire way to save money. Office rent is a major cost for most businesses, and old harddrives, documents and folders don’t bring in revenue or pay rent. This pricing is only compounded with every office move due to transportation costs.
One study found that 94 percent of professionals use the cloud, and an increasing number are turning to online records storage for its utility in a modern workspace. Remote access is a major selling point for online document storage, which allows professionals to access documents from any device, anywhere.
A New York Times survey found that nearly half of Americans work remotely in some capacity. Online document storage is a modern solution to businesses that require real time, collaborative capabilities from remote offices. Gilmore Services, for example, does not limit the number of authorized users, so an entire team can access documents online. Added document availability through cloud document storage means increased efficiency and profitability, but do these perks come with a cost to security?
Is Online Document Storage Secure?
There shouldn't be any ambiguity about the security of online document storage. At Gilmore Services, our secure online portal is supported by IT professionals, and requires no special training for businesses to operate. This third-party solution eliminates the need for any in-house equipment that could be easily compromised, and the offsite storage and destruction services make compliance easy.
In addition to secure document storage, storing documents online fills a security gap that many businesses overlook: document back ups. Not having backups is a huge mistake that leads to permanent loss in the event of fires, floods or mere carelessness. Even hard drives fail from time to time, so online storage databases provide necessary redundancies in case of an emergency.
Updating Records Systems through Electronic Document Conversion Services
Maybe you’re looking for the benefits of cloud storage, but all your documents are still in paper format? That’s not a problem. Consider document conversion services, which turn stacks of paper into easy to navigate digital files. Document scanning experts will pick up and scan documents, and convert records into high-quality images in formats such as PDF and TIFF.
Whether you’re ready to convert every document in the office, or just looking to convert a few documents for a more secure, easy to store format, your records management partner has options to cater to business needs. Bulk Document Imaging is a comprehensive conversion solution which includes document preparation, scanning, indexing, and hard copy backups. Then, the hard copy documents can either be returned or destroyed. The result is greater document organization, security and a modern document solution that is subject to cloud storage.
For those not ready to take the digital plunge, you can opt for on-demand document scanning services. Maybe you need a digital backup of crucial documents, or want access to a secure web portal for online collaboration, independent document scanning is a great al-la-carte digital conversion option.
Downstream Data Coverage and Document Safety
Partnering with a NAID AAA Certified document destruction service comes with certain security perks. It’s one thing to claim documents are secure, but practical assurance can offer peace of mind when entrusting sensitive documents to a third-party handler.
NAID certification means document management staff are trained to uphold the high security standards developed by the agency. In addition, look for a partner who offers added protection such downstream data coverage, which means a records management company can guarantee anything regarding client information is covered in the event of a security breach or disaster.
Security insurance like downstream data coverage is a mark of a professional, trustworthy document management service, and a key feature to look out for when deciding if you want to trust a third party with business records.
Secure Document Destruction Services
Document shredding, hard drive destruction and other media disposal services are important to the document lifecycle. Document destruction is required to protect against fraud, identity theft and protect the security of businesses and clients.
Document disposal services can be catered to specific needs. Whether it’s onsite shredding, offsite shredding, product destruction or hard drive disposal, a well-planned retention schedule and professional disposal can help uphold security and ensure regulatory compliance.
Confidentiality is a high level concern when it comes to sensitive records, so expert quality and professional care during destruction is a must. Gilmore Services’ accredited document destruction service includes secure transportation and a certificate of destruction to serve as a document of compliance. Gilmore Services is a proven document management service that is known for their high level of professionalism when caring for, and disposing of, client documents.
Hope for the Best, but Plan for the Worst
Document management is important for mitigating security threats, adhering to regulations, improving organization and, in many ways, increasing document safety. However, despite professional planning, unexpected circumstances can compromise documents — Mother Nature has a way of disrupting plans. A document disaster recovery plan offers peace of mind in case of an emergency.
Gilmore Services aids in disaster recovery through various security and preventative measures:
- Secure, fire-rated offsite storage
- 24/7 access to documents any day of the year
- Specialized equipment to identify water contamination and mobile freezing units to prevent water damage
Establishing a disaster recovery plan is important to protect documents and by predicting the unpredictable you can reduce loss in the event of a disaster. Having a plan in place will decrease downtime in the wake of natural disaster, and this proactive measure will save time and money down the line.
Gilmore Services is a trusted partner in document management, and an industry leader in terms of commitment and service. Whether you’re storing, scanning, shredding or moving important information, Gilmore Services’ client-focused approach is tailored to individual needs, and always handled with the utmost care. Contact Gilmore Services to learn how document services streamlines record keeping through professional document retention scheduling, storage, conversion, transportation, management and destruction.