Storage: Onsite or Offsite Should you entrust your data to Access Records Management (ARM)?
Every business needs to store items and data. That is certainly true of business records and supporting materials, such as, evidence or exhibits. The big question is where do you keep it? Your desk is definitely not the right answer. The file cabinet next to your desk is probably not a good long term solution either. Let’s look at some of the issues and factors. The goal is the best practical access available. If you need something immediately for an emergency or current project, close at hand is the answer. But most things can have planned availability. You may work on different things, morning and afternoon. Even current projects get interrupted; so you need other things right now. Do you stack projects (a bad practice)? You need to use your filing and indexing plan for practical, timely scheduled access and CONTROL of your stored items. With proper planning and scheduling you can optimize your use of data storage space.
Of course the form factor of these items is very important: a sheet of paper, a file folder, an accordion file, or box(es). (ARM has controlled storage options for all these.) The size may limit the movement and easy storage options. Large amounts of anything can mean you may not be able to store it in your office, at least for very long. Don’t use other utility spaces which are not well controlled or organized. Would you want to keep everything in that row(s) of cabinets surrounding your office walls? Is that practical and does it make your office look unprofessional? Would the fire marshal have an issue with this? A controlled file storage room has been a good alternative to a lot of files in an office. It tends to be close, easy to get to, and out of sight. My experience says that as the amount of data and other items increases, a nearby store room is quickly out grown. Then a space outside of your offices may be more practical; in the same building can be convenient, but then cost becomes a factor and control more complicated. Securing that space can then become tricky and somewhat expensive.
The cost for commercial floor space varies greatly, but estimates of $10 to $20 (more in denser urban areas) per square foot are common. This calculates $5 to $7 per cubic foot of storage. These are conservative estimates for cabinet space only. Contrast this to storage fees of 25 to 50 cents a cubic foot for offsite storage, such as, Access Records Management, with possibly better data control. You could realize a savings for data planned to not be needed for 3+ months. (Delivery fees and data quantity determine the break-even point.) Some data can even be delivered safely, very quickly, and more inexpensively by digital electronic means. (Scan-On-Demand) Also automatic destruction is available for “dead” files.
Therefore an offsite facility may be a good alternative for a lot of your archived storage needs. Call Access Records Management for more information at 816-331-7200.