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The Risks Of Using Self Storage For Your Business Archives

by securedatamgt | 21 Jan 2014

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The Age of Self Storage

The self-storage craze began in the U.S in the 1960s (coming to London in the 1990s). Britain is now the home to 800 leading self storage units, which are used both for individuals and businesses. Self storage is increasingly becoming a long-term solution for companies. The Self Storage Association states that businesses are, on average, likely to keep documents in self storage for 56 weeks.

Self-storage for many may appear to be a convenient option to clear out your office space; however, as self storage has become more popular the risks of utilising it for confidential business records have become more apparent.

The Risks:

1.)   Security

Self storage facilities are prone to theft, as many facilities opt for low security and lack enough staff. Self storage facilities often do not hold themselves responsible for theft and if a tenant has no insurance it is probable that they will receive no compensation for their lost files.

Keeping legal files in a self storage facility with minimal security is unwise – this information can become a major target for identity theft. In 2011 there were a series of thefts at self storage facilities based in West London and Lincolnshire. Reports document that an estimated 10‒15 units were broken into with box cutters. This has led to renewed calls for better security at self storage facilities.

Self storage units have increasingly become popular for the storage of counterfeit goods. In 2011 £20,000 of fake Microsoft and Adobe software was found at a self storage facility on Old Kent Road. Of course, this is an unlikely scenario, but it does flag up the shady nature of self storage and the security risks it can pose on your confidential business records.

Whilst most self storage facilities use low security chain fences, Secure Data Management stores our clients’ archives in a secure ex-Ministry of Defence bombproof warehouse with 24-hour video surveillance.

2.)   Cost

Self storage is an expensive affair that can have many hidden costs. Be aware that more often than not you are paying for more space than you actually need. Often – even for the smallest storage unit available – you will have to pay a minimum starting price of around £40.00 per a week.

Self storage facilities often have fluctuating prices depending on location, much to the irritation of their client’s. For instance, the Big Yellow Self Storage Company offers 100 square feet for £172.00 per a month in Brighton, whilst for the same storage in southwest London it will charge £233.00 per month. No customer should have to choose between petrol and storage costs!

Other hidden costs self storage users should be aware of include: fees in return for access to your stores, fees for packaging boxes and fees for use of carrying/lifting equipment.

To learn more about the self storage pricing please check out our post: Self Storage Prices: How much should self storage cost?

3.)   Document Management

It is not the prime interest of a self storage company to manage your documents correctly and legally. Self storage facilities do not monitor document retention and therefore there is a risk that your company might be storing or destroying files at incorrect times.

Document retention is a confusing business for any company, but by placing your files into the hands of a professional record management company you can save your business a lot of hassle.

4.)   Time Consuming

24-hour access to your documents may seem convenient however with self storage facilities this is rarely the reality. Self storage facilities do not use barcode tracking or online document inventories and therefore it could take an employee hours to locate and retrieve a single file.

At Secure Data Management, we implement the O’Neil barcoding system to make the retrieval of documents efficient and easy – saving your employees valuable time and reducing associated costs.

Make the Right Choice

The main risk of deciding to turn to self storage on behalf of a company is picking an unsuitable facility, which ends up costing more than a full service records management solution. Self storage is a risky and out-dated option for business record-keeping purposes – it is more appropriate for personal use (furniture and professional equipment).

If you do require it for such purposes, Secure Data Management run a self storage facility in London Bridge. Get in touch for more information.