Best Practices for Archiving Paper Records

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Document archiving is the process of putting information you no longer use into secure storage for extended periods of time. In addition to managing your business’ active documents, it is important to implement well-organized document archiving, Since the lack of it can impede daily operation, create legal issues, and lead to poor customer relations.

Here are a few helpful guidelines to make that process more effective and efficient.

Confirm File Retention Times

Check the length of time that your files are required to be kept. You want to ensure you are keeping files long enough—but not beyond—their required lifecycle, or they will use up valuable space. Consult outside records management professionals who are trained in file retention compliance, and who understand your business, to help ensure you are following the legal record retention times.

Purge Files

Now that you know which files have exceeded legal retention requirements, you can start purging files. This will lighten the load of archiving your documents. When you remove unnecessary files, you will need to comply with destruction requirements. If the job of destroying files costs your staff too much time and attention, it may be beneficial to enlist the assistance of a professional document destruction service to destroy your files securely and within NAID recommendations.

Designate Storage Space

Most archival files aren’t regularly accessed prior to their retention end dates. But they still need to be safely stored in a place where they are protected from fire, flood, extreme temperatures, theft, or anything else that can damage their integrity. Ideally, storage space designated for archival files should be offsite. However, managing a self-storage space away from your primary business location can be costly, inconvenient, and a major liability.

To avoid this problem, use a professional records storage service. They will make archiving a natural part of your document management plan. Your ideal records storage partner will have the right environment, staff, and systems that can help you retrieve documents quickly when necessary. They will ensure your documents stay safe and organized.

CI Information Management provides full-service records and information management throughout most of Southeastern and Central Washington state, as well as Northeastern Oregon.

For assistance with your records management, please call us at 509-586-6090 or complete the form on this page.