By Rich Martin and John Klise
“Document storage is simple,” you thought. “We’ll organize these papers and files, pack them into boxes, and rent a storage facility for them.”
What seems like an effective records management solution at first can end up being disastrous for your business. At best, storing documents this way is inconvenient. At worst, it could put your company at risk. This is why scanning and shredding are vital parts of a good records management solution.
The Downside to Stashing Documents Away
We’ve discussed before why businesses need more than a basic storage unit for their important files -- they need a company that specializes in records storage solutions. This will help ensure that your documents are safe from fires and theft. It also allows you to find and access necessary files and boxes when you need them.
More importantly, however, storing certain types of files long-term may be risky. Some sensitive documents should be disposed of after a certain amount of time, and it’s essential to destroy them. Several examples of sensitive documents that should be destroyed are photocopies of social security cards, canceled checks, bank account information, payroll tax returns, OSHA logs, credit memos, and time cards.
Why Shredding Is Essential
Can’t these documents simply be trashed or torn up? In short, no. There are many reasons why shredding is the best plan for document disposal — particularly when the documents in question are sensitive in nature.
First of all, the law demands shredding of documents that contain confidential records or personal information. Failure to do so could result in a data breach, exposing your company’s or clients’ personal information. In addition to the legal repercussions, this kind of an incident is a PR nightmare for companies who have experienced it.
Shredding also saves time, especially when the documents that need to be disposed of number into the hundreds or thousands. When you hire a professional team to handle the shredding, it frees you to spend more time running your business.
Another reason many businesses choose to shred is that it makes recycling paper a snap. Shredded paper can easily be dropped off at recycling centers or collected by a company that specializes in paper recycling.
The Benefits of Scanning Documents
For documents that need to be kept on file in some form, scanning before shredding is a secure and convenient way to store them. Scanning important documents provides the following benefits:
Space. Whether you’re keeping all of your documents boxed up in on-site storage at your company or renting a place for them, hard copies of paperwork take up a lot of space. Digital files free up your square footage so they can be put to much better use.
Security. When stored on-site at your company, sensitive documents make a tempting target for thieves during a break-in (as well as employees with prying eyes or sticky fingers). In addition to this, documents stored in paper form are vulnerable to damage if a natural disaster strikes. Digitizing your files and securing professional storage for any paper documents should be an important part of every company’s disaster recovery plan.
Access. Another reason that having digital copies of files makes sense is that it’s much easier to locate a file quickly when you’re clicking through folders on your computer screen instead of flipping through files in a physical box. In addition to this, files stored on cloud-based solutions can be made available to employees in multiple locations.
Scanning and Shredding is a Winning Solution
Some files will still need to be kept in hard-copy form, and for those, using a professional records storage company will keep them well-organized and secure. For everything else, scanning the documents that should be saved and shredding the rest is a well-thought-out business solution. It’ll save you space, provide security and ease of access to authorized persons, as well as prevent any potential data breaches that could be a headache for your business, as well as your wallet.