Now there’s a question! Given that this article is on the Ardington Archives website, you might think that we will be biased in our reply! It’s also a very simple question, but it’s worth addressing as it is fundamental to the smooth, and legal, running of every business.
So why archive? Why do you need document storage and archive storage? And what is the difference between the two? Let’s start with the latter question. Put simply, document storage is for documents which you may need to access on a regular basis and archive storage is for documents which no longer need to be regularly accessed but there is still a need to keep hold of the records, usually to comply with legal regulations. Well managed storage and archiving can benefit a business in a number of ways, including:
- Operational efficiency
- Security of information
- Risk management and disaster planning
- Reduction of environmental footprint
Effective archive management saves vital office space, makes accessing important information easy and saves money. You could say that a cluttered office is an inefficiently run office, despite the protestations that it’s ‘organised chaos’! If an office is strewn with papers, files and boxes then there is a danger of documents getting lost or misfiled. The knock-on effect of this is a delay in finding documents and acting on the information they contain and may in turn lead to losing important clients. It can also result in higher labour costs and demoralised staff.
If security of information is of critical importance to your business, then not only must the information be held in the most secure way possible, but this should also be communicated to the company’s clients and the wider community. Evidence of proper security planning and disaster planning can be an effective part of your corporate message, building an overall impression of care, trustworthiness and reliability.
With regards to risk management and disaster planning, whilst documents remain in an office, a number of people are likely to have relatively easy access to them. Once documents are stored off-site, you can rest assured that threats to their safety can be minimised through both the physical design of the store (to guard against flood, burglary, fire and power failure, to name a few) and the procedures put in place with regards to accessing information.
There are many simple ways to reduce your environmental footprint when storing documents, including only storing the necessary documents, not duplicate copies, or the files they are in. It is also possible to use archive boxes containing over 80% recycled cardboard without loss of strength or visual appearance.
So in answer to the question why archive?, hopefully we have shown you that your business cannot afford NOT to archive!