“What are we supposed to do with all this paper?” is a question that many of us didn’t expect to be asking ourselves today, yet here we are.
Whether we like it or not, those paper records are not going anywhere anytime soon. Information creation is constant with no slowdown in sight. According to one study by AIIM, information is going to grow 4.5X over the next few years. At the same time, 80% of organizations told Access that they are still managing over half of their information on paper.
This means there’s going to be a lot more information to manage moving forward and physical documents may (literally) get lost in the shuffle.
If your organization is still dealing with paper files, there’s one sure bet to retain control over those records before you risk a content spiral— move them off-site.
Why Move Physical Records Offsite?
Until recently, the modern concept of the office workspace was driven by a simple idea: that’s where all the paper is.
In recent years, rapid digital transformation has made us question whether the centralized office should still be considered the default. Fast forward to now and McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey reports that 58 percent of Americans have the opportunity to work remotely at least one day a week, and 35 percent can work from home five days a week.
The one thing that’s standing in the way is reams upon reams of physical documents.
12/14 The Ghosts of RIM Past, Present, and Future: Yearly Wrap-Up and 2024 Predictions
3 Benefits of Storing Physical Records Offsite
Moving records offsite goes far beyond plans to go digital or simply get them out of the office. There are many benefits to storing physical records offsite, including reduced risk, simplified compliance, and better organization and accessibility.
Storage space is always at a premium. While some organizations have dedicated record storage areas within their facilities, few are so lucky. There may be times when confidential files are stored next to the holiday decorations, extra paper towels, and the secret espresso machine. Additionally, most facilities aren’t rated for surviving hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.
If sensitive files are held in places where either anyone could access them or they’re at risk of being damaged or destroyed, “that’s just a disaster waiting to happen” observed Manuel Beruman, Regional Account Executive at Access during a recent webinar.
As great as self-storage units are for keeping your out-of-season clothes, they’re no place for confidential records. By storing your records off-site with a professional RIM provider, you can be certain that those records are far less at risk than they are next to the extra party plates. If your organization is held to certain security frameworks like HIPAA, that can be the difference between a successful or failed audit. Offsite storage facilities also have strict background check requirements and dedicated security staff on-site to ensure your confidential records follow a strict chain of custody.
Compliance looks different from organization to organization. “If you want to have a better idea about the regulatory environment or landscape,” notes Jen Bula, Regional Account Executive at Access, “then understand who regulates and governs your organization. From there, you get a better understanding of what compliance actually means.”
Many governing bodies have strict requirements regarding what happens should your organization fail to protect the information under its control. According to data from CSO, the global average cost for a data breach in 2022 has reached a startling $4.35 million dollars.
“It’s so important to understand all the worst-case scenarios that could happen to your organization, then prevent them,” advises Jen. Moving important records offsite can go a long way toward simplifying compliance with regulatory bodies, as well as mitigating the risk of a breach.
Better Organization and Accessibility
Finding business-critical files isn’t as easy as one would think. According to a joint study released by Wakefield Research and Elastic, 81% of office professionals can’t find important documents when asked to do so.
Sometimes that means the record is not in the box you thought it was in, the box isn’t where you thought it was, or it’s already been destroyed by accident.
Storing physical records with a RIM provider can drastically reduce the amount of time your teams spend looking for a specific file as they no longer need to go digging through boxes to find it, saving both time and energy. By partnering with a provider who is able to deliver stored documents digitally, you can ensure employees have quick access to the information they need from anywhere they work.
“The paperless office” may not yet be a reality, but organizations can achieve a paper-light future. That starts with getting a handle on your physical records and reducing the number of records that are created in the future. For more information on how to manage this, check out our webinar, The Digital-First Organization: Five Steps to Get There.