Red Alert: The Top 3 Risks to Your Paper Documents

Your company relies on digital information today more than ever. But even in the Digital Age, paper is still likely to play a significant role in your business processes. But just as digital information is susceptible to risk, so are your paper documents. Here we discuss the top three risks you should be aware of.

Risk 1: Catastrophic events

If your office catches on fire, your paper records could literally go up in smoke. Floods and earthquakes can also result in the loss of important business documents. If documents are stored in moisture-prone areas, they are subject to mold, mildew, and even pest infestation. And unfortunately, most office filing cabinets are neither fireproof nor watertight. Even with advance warning of an impending crisis, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have the time and resources to gather all of your organization’s vital information.

Off-site storage is crucial for protecting documents from catastrophic events. Professional records storage facilities are designed to protect paper documents from fires, floods, and natural disasters. When choosing a professional records storage provider in California, look for a facility that meets National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and State of California Department of Public Health (CDPH) standards and offers the following features:

  • Strict access control protocols
  • Digital surveillance
  • Fire detection and suppression technology

When you store your documents off-site, you are safeguarding them from catastrophic events that may strike your primary business location.

Risk 2: Mismanaged information

Storing paper documents in-house can lead to the loss, misuse or theft of confidential information. Consider how your organization currently manages its files. It’s likely that there is no single individual who is responsible for the oversight of file access and retrieval. As soon as a document leaves your hands, it’s ultimately out of your control. If that document is lost, misplaced, or stolen, the impact on your business can be widespread, including:

  • Customer loss
  • Financial loss
  • Regulatory non-compliance
  • Legal liability

A professional records storage provider enables your documents to be properly managed. Files are barcoded and tracked using an inventory management system. Secure online access allows you to see the number and type of records you retain, who has what file, and where it’s located. If a file is needed, it is retrieved from its designated storage location and either hand-delivered to the requestor or sent to them electronically through a Scan on Demand service.

Risk 3: Improper document disposal

Paper shredding is critical to the prevention of identity theft and business fraud. But shredding documents in-house requires so many steps and so much time that your staff may be tempted to skip shredding and toss documents directly into the recycle bin instead. Passing sheets of paper through an office shredder is only the beginning. These steps are also required:

  • Removing clips, staples, rubber bands, and binders
  • Separating documents into portions for easy shredding
  • Clearing paper jams
  • Emptying shredding receptacle

Every minute spent using an office shredder equals a minute of lost productivity.

The good news is that a scheduled shredding service streamlines the document disposal process and ensures that your confidential information is completely destroyed. Here’s how it works:

  • Locked shredding containers are placed throughout your office
  • Whole files with paper clips, staples, sticky notes and folders still attached, are dropped into a container
  • On a schedule created by you, the containers are emptied by a professional shredding technician and are shredded either on-site at your office or transported off-site to a shredding plant for destruction

Both on-site and off-site shredding methods include strict chain of custody procedures and a Certificate of Destruction for your records.

It’s easy to overlook the most common risks to your paper documents, but once you know what they are, you can find a way to protect them.

Pacific Records Management provides records and information management service for businesses throughout Fresno, Stockton, Sacramento, Modesto, and Napa and Solano Counties. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

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