Taking your Document Archiving into the Digital Age
If your organisation’s document archiving looks like it belongs in the tomb of some long forgotten Pharaoh then it is time for some serious excavations.
If your organisation has a basement dedicated to document archiving it may be tempting to add the busts of a Pharaoh or two, a few Egyptian cat statues, and maybe even a linen wrapped mummy, and charge admission to your very own museum.
Sadly, as creative as this may be, your dust covered document archive may actually prove to be more dangerous to your organisation than any Pharaoh’s curse or risen from the dead mummy.
There are several dangers that should be immediately apparent in the case of a document archiving basement:
Health Hazard – basements and similar storage areas tend to be poorly ventilated, badly lit and sometimes have old unchecked water piping and drainage running through them.
This type of damp environment is perfect for the build-up of moulds and fungus, whose spores can be inhaled by employees causing illness.
In addition, vermin such as rats and mice and a variety of other little nasties will probably find your document archiving basement the perfect environment to breed and nest. These vermin bring their own unique set of health hazards.
Fire Hazard – if you are lucky enough to have a dry basement there is still the risk of your document archiving catching alight. A large collection of documents makes for a fast spreading fire and you must remember fire burns up, which means in no time your building could go up in flames.
Compliance Issues – a poorly kept document archive can prove to be a legal nightmare. Documents and records that are needed in order to maintain compliance with legislation or are needed for litigation may endanger your organisation should they become lost, damaged, or destroyed.
Should there be little to no security guarding your document archives you have the added risk of unauthorised personal rummaging through files that could disclose personal information, trade secrets, contract details etc. These might prove valuable to competitors or allow disgruntled employees to leak client information, which can lead to litigation.
Increased Costs – While it may not always be obvious, in-house document archiving making use of a basement or out of the way room, could actually be costing you money. The reason for this is that office space is costly and inefficient use of it means you are getting less out of it. With a little bit of paint and good lighting, document archive rooms could be freed up for activities that are more productive.
There is also the added benefit of no longer needing filing cabinets and reducing the load on record managers, archivists, and filing clerks. With the extra time, your personnel could be spending it on improving document categorisation and accessibility, which can speed up production for other employees as they have access to documents faster.
Therefore, while your very own museum may have seemed like an attractive proposition to avoid confronting your outdated document archive, in reality, there are more benefits to be gained by putting together a plan to bring your archive into the digital age.
Bringing your document archive into the digital age requires the adoption of a few records management solutions. We’ve listed a few here to help you get started.
Document Imaging and Scanning – using a bulk scanning solution will allow you to keep electronic copies of all your documents and records which out increasing storage space.
Archiving Stationary – the use of quality archival storage products can extend the life of many valuable paper documents and records.
Offsite Document Storage – secure storage of your most important records in a climate, and access-controlled environment will give you greater peace of mind.
Secure Document Shredding – documents that have reached the end of their retention periods and no longer hold any value to your organisation can be disposed of safely. This also means your storage needs are reduced, which can reduce your costs.
For more information about any of the above solutions please click on the links above or contact Iron Mountain today so that a representative can discuss your requirements.
Image Credits: Copyright: points / 123RF Stock Photo