Why Self-Storage is a No-No for Business Records

Person in front of stack of filing boxes in storage roomHere’s a little (hi)story that might feel familiar:

As your business grew, you began to quickly accumulate client records and realized you needed somewhere to store less-active files. The first place that came to mind was the local Self-Storage company. You assumed that deciding where to store your business records was going to be the least-important decision you would be making as long as it was outside the office. That space is valuable and needs to be used for revenue-generating tasks. And so far, so good. Other than the hassle of driving back and forth and that one incident when a box fell on your head, it’s been smooth sailing.

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Making a decision like this could have a massively detrimental effect on your business, because storing files with personally identifiable information (PII) in a self-storage unit increases your risk of a data breach, placing in noncompliance with local and federal privacy laws. Here’s why.

Transportation Risks

Self storage requires self-transporting your files. If you or another employee were to have an accident while moving your files to or from the storage facility, you run the following risks:

  • Your files being exposed or lost.
  • The employee being injured and filing a worker’s compensation claim.
  • Being liable for the damage to the employee’s vehicle, and maybe the other vehicle, too.

But what are your chances of having an accident? The company Esurance found that 77% of drivers have been in at least one accident, and the average driver will file an insurance claim about every 19 years. Whether that seems high or low to you, the risk of even one accident is still significant.

Consider also the fact that if confidential files are stolen from your personal vehicle, you could end up with a much bigger problem, including government fines for non-compliance with data privacy laws and lawsuits, either of which have been known to cause companies to go bankrupt.

There is an affordable, secure, and compliant alternative to your document storage needs: a local, reputable, records management company. If you’re like me, you’ll need more convincing, so here’s more food for thought.

Poor Security

Most self-storage locations are open 24/7/365 to anyone who can get in the door or gate. This can leave your documents open to prying eyes, theft, or damage. Does the self-storage facility have onsite staff, cameras, or security systems? Without this basic line of defense, your files are unprotected against theft with no evidence to fall back on should they go missing. But in any case, when absolutely anyone can access the storage facility, your chances of a data breach skyrocket.

Physical Damage to Your Documents

Most self-storage units don’t offer temperature or humidity controls, both of which are required to protect business records against deterioration. Not to mention that, when anything can be shoved into your neighboring storage units, your records become vulnerable to leaks, flammable materials, and fumes. Your records could also be damaged by rodents or insects, flooding, fire, or smoke. Imagine losing all of your archival files in one fell swoop.

Difficult and Dangerous Retrieval

Each time you need to obtain your stored files, you will have to invest the cost of time and transportation to retrieve those files. Digging through files in a storage unit can also be time consuming, frustrating, and dangerous. When lifting, stacking, and unstacking boxes, you and your staff are at risk of physical injury.

Lack of Professionalism

You have built your business reputation on good business practices, quality customer service, and strong customer relationships. Don’t risk it all with a hasty decision to place your business records in a self-storage facility.

So, what’s the alternative to putting my documents in self storage?

Don’t get me wrong: Self-storage is a great solution when you need to store your belongings during a move, following the death of a relative, temporary storage for miscellaneous items when space is tight, or one of hundreds of other reasons. Use it for any of those reasons, but not for your confidential business documents.

Instead, consider partnering with a local records management company with an excellent reputation and a records storage facility designed specifically to keep your business records safe and secure. Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Unmarked building purpose-built to protect against fire, flood, and unauthorized access
  • Temperature- and humidity-controlled environment
  • Background-screened and highly trained staff
  • Strict external and internal computer access controls
  • Round-the-clock digital video surveillance
  • Visitor log
  • List of those authorized to access your business records
  • A running record of what files are accessed, when, and by whom
  • Fast delivery of your files anytime, including a Scan On Demand option

In short, a records center can offer a high level of security and physical protection for your business records that self storage can’t compete with.

Docusafe is a professional records management company that provides secure, compliant records management services to clients in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. For more information or to get a free quote, simply give us a call at 888-264-7367 or complete the form on this page. Our friendly experts are standing by to help.


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