Click on the following sections to read our FAQs covering these areas:
- How much does document storage cost?
- How much does off-site document storage cost?
- How do I know if document storage is secure?
- What does it mean to archive something?
- What’s the difference between backing up data and archiving it?
- Why is archiving important?
How much does document storage cost?
This depends on the type of storage you choose and what archival accessories you require, such as storage boxes and acid-free wallets. Archival folders can cost less than 50p each and cardboard archiving boxes cost just a couple of pounds when bought in bulk.
You can find out more about how to choose a quality archiving box here.
If you’re storing a large number of documents on-site, it may be more cost-effective (and more secure) to store these off-site, especially if you would otherwise need to rent out extra space in your office.
How much does off-site document storage cost?
This will depend on what’s offered. If the service just provides the storage space, this is going to be a lot less expensive than storing your documents with a professional document archiving company.
However, your business documents are a valuable asset, and so it’s important to store them securely and in a way which means you can access them quickly and securely when needed. Storing documents with a specialist company will be more expensive but it will mean your documents are:
- easy to retrieve
- fully tracked
- protected from damp, sunlight, fire and flood damage
Storing documents with a professional archiving and document storage company will save you valuable time and money in the long run.
How do I know if document storage is secure?
Choose a document storage company that:
- has references from existing clients
- is a member of recognised industry groups, such as PRISM International (Professional Records and Information Services Management)
- maintains and is certified in ISO standards such as:
- ISO 9001:2008—Quality Management Systems
- ISO 14001:2004—Environmental Management Systems
- ISO 27001:2013—Information Security Management Systems
- is easy to contact and has helpful staff
- has CCTV 24 hours a day
- only allows security-checked personnel to access documents
- uses barcodes to track documents so they can be instantly accounted for at all times
- uses tracked delivery vans to deliver and collect documents
- can securely dispose of confidential waste
- provides multi-factor authentication to retrieve documents, meaning two different methods of authentication are required to access documents
You can find out more about choosing a trustworthy archiving service here.
What does it mean to archive something?
Archiving means storing documents you no longer need to access regularly, but which you must keep for legal, financial or historical purposes, or for future reference.
As well as paper documents, you can archive photographs, textiles, newspapers and magazines, cards and books.
Our guide to why document archiving is important will tell you everything you need to know about why businesses should invest in quality archiving.
What’s the difference between backing up data and archiving it?
Archiving data involves storing original copies of documents long-term. You no longer use these documents on a regular basis but may need them for future reference.
Backing up a document simply means making a copy of the original. This could be a photocopy or an electronic scan.
Why is archiving important?
There are five key reasons why document archiving is important:
- It prevents you from losing data
- It ensures only authorised people can access documents
- It’s a simple way to organise and access documents
- It saves space in your office and on your server
- It helps your business meet legal requirements for auditing
You can find out detailed information on why document archiving is important here.
- What type of paper should I use to archive documents?
- What are some tips for archiving paper documents?
- Where can I buy archival paper from?
- How long does archival paper last?
What type of paper should I use to archive documents?
If you’re archiving business documents, you won’t need to transfer these documents to a certain type of paper. Regular office paper will last for many years, provided it’s stored in a cool, dry and dark place and is properly supported so it doesn’t bend.
If you’re archiving any particularly important documents, you could place these in acid-free folders to ensure they don’t absorb acids that might be present in other paper documents. Acid can cause documents to discolour or become brittle over time.
What are some tips for archiving paper documents?
Nylon treasury tag
There are a number of things you can do to ensure the documents are as well preserved as possible before archiving them:
- Remove any fastenings, such as paperclips or staples, and replace them with nylon treasury tags.
- Remove anything attached to the document, such as sticky notes.
- Consider removing documents from ring binders, folders and box files as these take up a lot of space and increase the weight of the boxes.
- Store documents in a suitable-sized box. Boxes are typically available in A3, A4 and A5 sizes but specialist sizes are available for items such as photographs or newspapers.
- Use acid-free spacer boards to support documents and keep them upright in archive boxes you have only partially filled. You can buy acid-free spacer board from archiving supplies companies.
- Store loose documents in smaller, acid-free folders before adding them to storage boxes.
Where can I buy archival paper from?
You can buy acid-free paper from most major stationery retailers, as well as specialist archival supply shops and online retailers such as Amazon.
How long does archival paper last?
Archival paper is made from cotton fibres which are longer and more flexible than the wood fibres used to make regular paper. Paper made from long, flexible fibres tends to last longer. Archival paper can last for centuries, provided it’s stored properly.
Russell Richardson specialise in secure document archiving, storage and records management. To find out how our experts can help your business, call the team today on 0800 294 6552 or contact us here.