A Guide to Records Management & Secure Offsite Storage
Written by: Kellie Heinze
Publish Date: Mar 10, 2020
Read time: 8 minutes
Read our ultimate guide to records management and secure offsite storage and see what it involves and how it could benefit your business.
Jump to section:
- Common records management challenges
- What are the key benefits of digitising document?
- Why you should outsource your records management to an offsite storage company
- What to look for when choosing a records management supplier
- EDM: the best choice for your records management needs
Common records management challenges
Paper documents and manual processes have proven to present significant challenges for all organisations across different sectors.
These challenges are jeopardising the quality of services that organisations are able to provide, and impacting negatively on the customer service their clients receive. These are just some examples of the challenges that organisations are facing when managing physical records:
- There are limited or a lack of effective systems for opening, tracking and indexing documents.
- There is a lack of training, legal and regulatory tools in place regarding records management.
- Staff have no effective method of capturing and preserving records.
- There is a lack of knowledge of electronic records and how they should be stored.
- The current records management system is incompetent.
- There are no plans in place for managing electronic records effectively and efficiently.
Each of these challenges leads to complications which can directly impact customer service: from loss of documents to inexperienced staff tasked with managing important records.
However, in order to avoid these issues, organisations need to have an effective records management system in place that ensures that their services aren't affected by poor internal processes.
What are the key benefits of digitising documents?
Digitisation will allow organisations to deliver coherent and improved services, because it will enable staff to focus their attention on their customers, rather than the demanding administrative work required to manage business-critical records.
It could often take several people to manage physical records and documents in-house, which means important tasks are neglected in favour of maintaining, sourcing and accessing paper records from a physical location. If these records are digitised, it will mean less staff are required to handle them, meaning you can better utilise your team.
Digitisation also supports the need for quick, safe and secure access to records, all of which cannot be achieved with physical paper documents. When records are made digital through scanning, they are made instantly accessible through a hosted document management platform and staff can view updates at their desktops in real time.
Reducing real estate storage costs
Once records become digital, there is no need for manual storage. Instead records can be safely put into an offside storage facility or destroyed depending on the organisations records management policy and retention schedule - resulting in organisations being able to free up space to be used for other purposes that can provide value, such as more desks for fee earners, more collaborative working areas to increase productivity and generally improve the office environment.
Read about how digitisation and records management is helping the NHS:
Improving customer service
When organisations have instant access to accurate information, not only do they themselves benefit but their customers do, too.
Because everyone has access to the same accurate information in real-time, digital records provide accurate and up to date information in an instant, which enables organisations to stay on top of changing requirements, identify trends and peaks and reduce the risk of error.
Digital records facilitate the access of records from existing on-site and off-site storage, which drastically reduces the time spent on administration. When professionals don’t have to devote time to maintaining and sourcing records, they are able to deliver a better customer service.
Many organisations often handle personal and private data on a daily basis, which leaves them at risk of non-compliance with strict legislation such as GDPR. When there is no effective records management process in place, the risk is even greater.
This is a major problem for organisations in the healthcare, financial and legal sectors, where records storage has become too unorganised to manage and access records efficiently. As a result, this means records are misplaced easily, and the records become vulnerable to data breaches or corruption.
With digital records, these risks are significantly reduced. Online storage means that misplacing records is highly unlikely, and since digital records are only accessible to authorised personnel, it improves the security of the document, guarantees compliance with ISO 27001, 9001 and BS10008, and ensures customer confidentiality is maintained.
For more information on how going digital can keep your records compliant, read our blog:
Maximising on security
Offsite records management suppliers pride themselves on having state-of-the-art records management facilities that are built to the highest specifications in terms of storage and security.
Significant investment often goes into these sites, especially where safety is concerned, and includes everything from pre-fire detection thermal heat imaging cameras, enhanced CCTV and fire alarm systems, fire curtains and on-site security officers. Additionally, on-site staff will have been thoroughly vetted and comprehensive training provided (such as fire safety training).
Why you should outsource your records management to an offsite storage company
Records management encompasses many different elements and can be quite a complex operation, depending on your business’ requirements. As such, it can be an overwhelming struggle to manage and maintain good records management in-house, which is why businesses are turning to outsourcing. There are many benefits to be gained by outsourcing to a offsite storage company, including:
- Increased security (especially for vital records)
- Creating value out of released real estate
- Overhead cost savings
- GDPR compliance
Outsourcing your business-critical records not only means reaping the above benefits but also ensures that doing so can help improve your overall business processes. Read our blog for a more in-depth look at why you should consider outsourcing:
What to look for when choosing a records management supplier
When shortlisting your choice of records management suppliers, what should you be looking for? Your business likely handles a great number of personal sensitive records and other data - so your supplier should be able to demonstrate their compliance with the likes of GDPR. You’ll want to look at every aspect of what your supplier provides, from their archiving processes to their offsite storage facilities. These are the main things you should consider:
- Their security capabilities
- Adherence to your company’s retention policies
- Main suite of accreditations
- An efficient logistics service
- Consultation services
- Proof of delivery
- Proven software and applications
Learn more about how to choose a suitable records management supplier that will meet your requirements in our blog:
EDM: the best choice for your records management needs
EDM is a leading supplier of records management solutions, whether it’s for long-term storage, regulatory compliance or highly accessible storage for active files. We provide our clients with the ability to store, maintain and access records securely in a timely manner. Additionally, we’re fully equipped to preserve historical archives in formats that include microfilm and microfiche, architectural records and even electronic records.
As well as providing offsite storage for records, we also offer enhanced services to ensure our customers can benefit from the full spectrum of records management and digitisation solutions including:
- Hosted document management
- Archiving and indexing services
- Records destruction
- Live file management
- Associated logistics
Speak to a RIM Expert at EDM today to see how we can help your business improve efficiency, security and compliance with our records management solutions.