Storing confidential records in a self-storage unit is an accident waiting to happen. There are too many uncontrollable factors that affect business productivity and jeopardize client privacy. Here are five good reasons to pull your records out of self-storage:

1. Information Security

Not knowing your neighbor is a big problem with self-storage. The person renting the unit next to yours may be storing hazardous and combustible items or could be a criminal hoping to steal your documents. Unfortunately, self-storage facilities are particularly vulnerable to thefts like this. Recently, thieves in Bellevue, Washington broke into 63 storage units at three different locations.

Fortunately, you have a choice. A top-notch commercial records center offers unparalleled security. These facilities are built exclusively for the storage of paper documents and no hazardous and combustible items are allowed inside. Only screened and background-checked records management professionals have unlimited access to the facility. A three-point security system, person trap entrance system and internal and external surveillance keeps the bad guys out.

2. Enhanced Disaster Protection

Protecting your business records from fires, floods and natural disasters is just as important as safeguarding them from unauthorized access, but self-storage units fall short in the disaster protection category. Most facilities lack the structural integrity to withstand extreme weather conditions, and corrugated roll up doors let in moisture that promotes mold growth, posing a major risk to paper files.

A records center has to meet strict fire protection and building standards, offering enhanced disaster protection. The building is designed for structural integrity to withstand extreme weather. Comprehensive fire suppression systems protect the endless rows of documents from fire and smoke. In-rack sprinklers provide rapid-fire suppression in document storage areas, so even hard-to-reach areas are safeguarded. Media vaults employ a dry fire suppression system that pulls the oxygen out of the room so there is no risk of water damage.

The record center I manage happens to be underground, so our security, climate control and protection against natural disasters exceeds that of most other record centers.

3. Turnkey Retention Management

Knowing how long keep your documents—and when to destroy them—is critical for privacy protection and legal compliance. Unfortunately, a self-storage unit places the burden of managing and destroying documents all on your shoulders. With commercial records storage, you get a turnkey retention management solution. Your records are tracked with barcode technology and entered into an online database that lets you view, sort and adjust retention and disposition schedules as needed. You will know when records are nearing the end of their lifecycle and have the option of having them professionally destroyed.

4. Cost Savings

Storing your records offsite is cheaper than storing them in-house—except when you use self-storage. You always end up paying for space you don’t use. At a records center, you only pay for the boxes you store, not the extra space you cannot use. In addition, your documents are stored in a high-bay facility where storage density is maximized, lowering your cost.

5. Optimized Efficiency and Convenience

Think self-storage is convenient? Think again. Every time a file is needed, you have to drop what you’re doing, drive to your unit, and dig through stacks of boxes. Think of the dangers this could pose, and the worker’s comp liability, if a box should fall on someone, if there is a back injury or even if there is an auto accident traveling to or from the unit. Imagine if you could order that file online and have it hand-delivered or sent electronically instead. That is what you get with a professional records management provider.

Luckily, pulling your documents out of self-storage is easy. At Access, we will pick up the boxes from your storage unit and transfer them to one of our record centers, walking you through every step along the way.

Access provides an end-to-end solution for all your records management needs. For more information, please contact us at 1 877 FileLine.

Tom Reed is a Branch Manager for Access out of Kansas City, MO. Prior to working for Access, he served for 20 years in the US Army with the 82nd Airborne Division and the Rangers.