Practical tips for reducing the cost of offsite document storage

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Many organizations rely on offsite storage for active and inactive records. Whether driven by corporate growth, acquisitions or litigation concerns, growing record volumes eventually become too much for overcrowded record rooms. When that happens, offsite storage is a logical choice to ease the pressure. (Usually along the lines of: “we have to get these records out of here!”)

While offsite storage is a fine solution to onsite storage woes, the decision will be subject to inevitable financial scrutiny over time. Records managers may be able to justify the continued use of offsite storage, but few will be allowed to do so without keep the costs in check. But how do you do that?

Four tips for reducing offsite storage costs

If you are facing a mandate to reduce offsite records storage costs, following these four steps will help. It is a simple, systematic approach – and one that can dramatically reduce your offsite storage costs.

1. Start With a Records Retention Schedule

Classification systems and records retention schedules are the foundation of every good records management program. A working retention schedule helps you stem the growing tide of records by ridding yourself of unneeded records in a timely fashion. When it comes to offsite storage, applying a retention schedule is a great way to lower costs, in many cases reducing storage volume by a third or more.

2. Purge Active Records

The active records of today often become the offsite storage headache of tomorrow. To reduce overall file volumes and reduce the quantity of records sent to offsite storage, it is essential to conduct regular purges of active documents. Educate your staff on how to identify non-critical documents and destroy these before they build up – and get boxed up.

3. Audit Offsite Boxes

Many organizations end up paying to store records that they no longer need. In this step, go through each box to eliminate non-records and those that are past their required retention periods. This can be a time-consuming task, but it delivers big dividends.

4. Optimize Your Onsite Storage Potential

For many organizations, the need to store records offsite has less to do with total volumes and more to do with inefficiencies in their onsite storage setup. There are many ways to get more from your onsite storage space, including end-tab folders and high density shelving. The more efficiently you can store records onsite, the less offsite storage you’ll need.

Simple, and systematic, this approach has worked wonders for many organizations. In some cases it has eliminated the need for offsite storage altogether. Certainly worth the effort!

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