How to Select a Document Storage Provider

Storing DocumentsBusiness owners have many responsibilities when it comes to managing daily operations. From administrative processes to compliance guidelines, a lot of planning goes into ensuring a business runs smoothly.

An important part of running a business is managing documents. Depending on your industry, and the type of documents generated, there might be very specific procedures and timelines you legally have to comply with. That’s why it’s important to establish a plan for safely and securely storing documents. Sometimes this requires selecting a trusted partner to store your files when your inventory becomes too large to maintain onsite.

Considerations for Storing Documents 

So, what should you look for in a document storage provider? 

While companies that specialize in document storage and management are an obvious choice, self storage can be a cost effective and flexible solution for businesses that want more control and more convenient access to their documents.

Consider the following factors when selecting a document storage provider:

  1. Storage Fees– Some document management providers will charge a fee per cubic foot occupied, or per shelf or per crate. Your monthly fee can add up quickly as your inventory grows. 

    When using self storage, you pay a flat fee for the total unit space rented. It’s important to keep in mind that vertical space can be used to stack crates of dormant files that are rarely accessed. So, companies that offer higher ceilings provide additional value for the cost.

  2. Extra Fees– While every provider will charge you for the physical space needed to store your documents, some file management companies will also charge a fee each time their staff retrieves your documents for you. These fees can add up quickly if you need to access documents on a regular basis. 

    When utilizing a self storage company, you have complete access to your files when you need them, and can have a clear expectation of your monthly document storage expenses.

  3. Storage Environment – Have a conversation with the provider about the type of environment your documents will be stored in. Climate-controlled storage is necessary to keep your documents in their original condition over time. Warehouse-type conditions that have fluctuating temperature and humidity can damage documents. This is particularly important if industry or government regulations require lifetime storage of files.
  4. Security– Because your documents might contain sensitive information about your business and customers, it’s imperative to understand how they are protected. When deciding between a large-scale document management company and a self storage facility, consider who has access to your documents, what security equipment is used, and what security procedures are followed at the facility.

    If you select a self-storage facility, take advantage of any premium security features available, such as individual door alarms. This will give you ultimate peace of mind that your documents are properly protected. 

Selecting a Document Storage Solution

While some businesses will elect to use a document management company because of available add-on services, such as document destruction, others will benefit from the cost savings and flexibility of self storage.

If you decide to manage your documents independently using a self–storage facility, be sure to research and understand the file policies and procedures that govern your industry. Additionally, establish an organization plan that allows you to add additional documents and retrieve existing documents with ease.

Are you a business owner utilizing off-site document storage? Share your experiences and document storage tips with our community.

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Photo Credit: mwichary

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