Why Self-Storage Units Are Not a Records Management Solution

School Daze

When I was in school, I hated taking tests. I still do. You may feel the same. To honor those who despise tests, here’s the perfect quiz that doesn’t require answers. That’s right! No answers required. That’s because the questions are rhetorical. So, if you take the time to read the questions, you instantly receive a passing grade!

Quiz Time

The following questions will help you determine whether a self-storage unit is a viable records management solution for your business.

1. Are your records fireproof?

What are the chances that someone sharing an adjacent self-storage unit might enter their space with a lit cigarette or even a lit candle? Of course, it’s illegal, but that’s not the question. The real question is, is it possible? Now imagine if in the same vicinity of the smoker, someone has stored fireworks, or worse yet, a gas lawnmower with a trace of fuel in the tank. You’re not allowed to store flammable materials in storage units, but people still do things they’re not supposed to, just like they did in California and New Jersey self-storage facilities.

2. Are your records invisible?

If your records aren’t invisible, then they are at risk of being viewed or stolen. That means the private information can be breached, which could put you and your company in jeopardy of fines, damaged reputation, lost customers and loss of productivity. Anyone who has access to a self-storage unit at the same facility you use, has 24/7 access to your records if they decide to break in. Random break-ins and theft might not be common, but they do happen, like they did in New York and Missouri self-storage facilities.

3. Are your documents laminated?

Of course not! The idea of laminating your documents before storage is as ridiculous as someone using a self-storage facility to store secure business documents in the first place. Your files can be subject to moisture and mold in a self-storage unit. If mold can cause a bookcase to disintegrate like it did in a Wisconsin self-storage facility, can you imagine what it would do to your unprotected documents? Storage facilities need to offer inside space that is climate controlled.

4. Are your documents rodent repellent?

Apparently, peppermint essential oil sprayed on all of your documents will assist in repelling rodents, but there are no guarantees that it will prevent the mouse droppings often found in self-storage facilities. Rodents can permanently destroy paper and the information printed on it. Unless you have backups and the time to replace the damaged documents, self-storage is a risky choice for a records management option. Animals and rodents can be a serious issue, as they were for a California self-storage facility client.

5. Are your documents prepared to share space with the unknown?

Self-storage may seem like a perfect alternative to a records management facility—if there was nothing suspicious happening around your documents. You might assume that your storage neighbors are all behaving normally. But strange things happen. Like, for example, the person in an Idaho facility who decided to grow magic mushrooms, or store body parts like in Florida or North Carolina facilities, or even store a live grenade in a Michigan storage unit. Many self-storage facilities are managed by reputable businesses, but it’s impossible to police all the activity that takes place in them. Ironically, all the penicillin in the world couldn’t protect your medical records from any of these self-storage scenarios. That’s why your documents should be stored in a records management facility and not a “store-everything-and-anything” facility.

Final Exam

Often the decision to use a self-storage unit is because of the desire to lower cost and maintain control.

  • Cost: In the long run, it will always be more expensive to use a self-storage unit. You will pay for more space than you need. You will spend valuable time traveling to and from the storage facility and sifting through piles of unindexed documents, and you risk potential disaster from the unexpected.
  • Control: A records management company does the work of securely storing your documents for you, leaving you in control of requesting documents as needed and knowing that they are stored in a protected and environmentally safe space.

Pencils down. If you’ve read this far, you’ve scored well. Now, you need to make a decision about storing your documents. Docusafe provides a safe and secure facility to store your records with an easy and quick retrieval system. If you are in New Jersey, New York or Pennsylvania and need to transition your records from self-storage to records management, give us a call at 888-264-7367 or complete the form on this page. We would love to help you make the move.

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