How do I know my documents and data are protected?

How do I know my documents and data are protected?

Here at Flexible Storage Solutions, we have years of experience storing and managing confidential, sensitive documents and items. To give you complete peace of mind your documents and belongings are in safe hands, we have detailed each of the steps we take to ensure the highest security standards below.

ISO 27001and ISO 9001 accredited 

What is the ISO 27001 accreditation? The ISO 27001 accreditation is an internationally recognised best practice framework for Information Security Management Systems (ISMS). The accreditation demonstrates that a business is run to the highest information security standards and has taken the necessary steps to protect against potential threats. ISO 9001 is a Quality Management System with clearly defined business processes. The ISO 9001 accreditation demonstrates that a company is committed to providing products and services to a defined, high standard.

Flexible Storage Solutions is proud to be ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 accredited, proving we have extremely high standards when it comes to safely storing and managing our customer’s documents and data.

Fully GDPR compliant

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) came into effect in 2018, businesses are required to store and protect data in line with these regulations. We are fully GDPR compliant across all of our services including document storage, management and destruction. At Flexible Storage Solutions, we take all the necessary precautions and procedures to ensure your data is always protected.

Secure storage facility

Our storage facility is both water and fireproof, the units we use are made from 2mm thick steel and are protected by hardened steel locks. Our premises also have the highest security standards with security alarms, 24 hour CCTV surveillance and on-site staff to ensure protection 24/7 for all items in our care. We also use a secure code system that allows customers to access their storage units using a unique code that can only be used by them.

Vetted staff

To provide you with greater peace of mind, all of our staff have been security vetted and DBS checked. Every member of staff at our facility from our drivers to admin team, have been through rigorous background checks. We also provide our staff with full professional training in accordance with GDRP and security regulations.

If you would like to find out more about the protocols in place to protect your documents or items, or if you would like to enquire about our services, please call the team on 0800 652 1117 or use our online contact form.

Preparing to return for the office after lockdown

Preparing to return for the office after lockdown

For many of us, it has been a very long time since we were last in the office. Covid-19 has meant the majority of the UK workforce have turned kitchens, bedrooms and garden buildings into home offices. As restrictions begin to lift and we begin to return to some form of normality, there are a few things to consider when preparing to bring your team back into the office.


As your employees return to the office, some form of social distancing is likely to remain in place and as a result of the pandemic your team are probably going to want a little more distance between them and their colleagues. 

The needs for more space between desks could leave you with surplus furniture, of course you won’t want to dispose of the furniture so you will be looking for storage. At Flexible Storage Solutions we offer secure self-storage at our storage facility. Our storage facility is fire and waterproof, has 24/7 CCTV surveillance and on-site staff giving you complete peace of mind that your furniture is safe and secure, ready for whenever you may need it.

Destruction or storage of confidential documents

A return to the office means there will be confidential documents on site once again, it is paramount that documents are stored or disposed of correctly. This is particularly important for those in financial, legal and medical sectors. 

At Flexible Storage Solutions we offer a range of options to ensure your documents are handled correctly. We offer a complete confidential waste disposal service that includes a scheduled or ad-hoc collection from your office, secure transfer of your documents for destruction and a certificate of destruction. Our confidential waste disposal service is fully GDPR compliant and all of our staff are vetted and trained to the highest standards. We also offer confidential waste bins with flexible contracts to support the implementation of clean desk policies.

Perhaps you don’t need to dispose of your confidential documents yet and instead need somewhere to securely store them. If this is the case, we recommend utilising our archive storage service which includes collection, indexing and tracking your documents. We also offer a document scanning service that allows instant retrieval and copies of your archived documents, this service uses our secure online file management system to ensure an efficient system for tracking and recording documents.

Safety protocols

As a business owner, you will likely need introduce some new safety protocols for your team, whether it’s a new health and safety assessment or a social distancing policy. You may also wish to implement new first aid and mental health training. There are lots of great places for information and we are always happy to discuss how we can help support your business.

For more information on any of our services please contact us on 0800 652 1117 or use our online contact form.

The Need For Archive Storage When Working From Home

With the pandemic still clutching the world, many businesses have been forced to ask their employees to work from home. By working from home, many business owners and employees alike may have this false understanding that GDPR rules don’t apply to them any more. The truth is, you couldn’t be more wrong. If anything, this is where business’s, small or large, should be extremely cautious on how they handle information, especially documents containing personal details.

With employees quickly adapting to their new-found working environment, it’s easy to get lazy or complacent with how you handle any form of work related document. In the comfort of your own home, it’s not uncommon for people to put documents in a compromising location. We’re all guilty of leaving documents on the side where an unsuspecting loved-one may consider it rubbish and accidentally throw it away. For obvious reasons, this is a big problem.

Any organisation with a strong management team will have their own adequate approach to handling data for the best possible protection. However, if no clear rules have laid out then its absolutely imperative for employees to take it upon themselves to do the right thing. After all, if the worst were to happen, it would leave you at risk of losing your job or receiving necessary punishment.

With this is mind, we think it’s important that every business consider the option of collecting employees work related documents for archived storage. It goes without saying that archive storage has a multitude of benefits. So how will this benefit businesses working from home?

Why is it important for businesses to consider doing this?
For us, that’s an obvious answer. With every one of your employees working from home, it’s almost impossible to see the extent of personal documentation printed. For all you know, some of your employees may have taken older documentation home with them before the lockdown ensued. Depending on your line of work, it may be incredibly important to retain this information for future reference. The only way to protect your
customers and yourselves is to ask all employees to gather and store any work related documentation for the anticipated return to office.

You can’t leave anything to chance!
Every company out there wants to be seen as employee and customer friendly. The best way to achieve this is by being completely open, honest & transparent. It’s simply not good enough to trust every individual to be handling critical information correctly in their place of comfort. You should never leave anything to chance, especially when its actually for the broader benefit of everyone involved. Given how many months have passed, archive storage is undoubtedly the smartest choice to make.

What’s the best plan of action?
As lockdown measures slowly lift across the country, your companies handling of GDPR should have been outlined months ago. If you’re still uncertain on the best way to tackle what could be a mammoth task for you, we can only suggest the following,

  1. Ask all employees to gather any and all written or printed work related documentation
  2. Have a dedicated individual to collect these documents from all employees
  3. Store these documents in individually named & dated binders, folders or wallets
  4. Request a quote or call us for an understanding on costs and time frames

    If there’s any uncertainty regarding the need for this documentation in the future, we would still recommend Archived storage as the choice to make. For more information on archiving documents and the full list of benefits, please visit (here) linked

Clean Desk Policy

Clean desk policies were initially introduced to ensure workspaces were clutter free, making them great looking spaces – ones that would also help increase productivity.  It allowed flexibility of working spaces, making sure desks weren’t purely owned by one person.

With the implementation of GDPR in 2018, it became even more imperative to have a clean desk policy to help keep companies GDPR compliant – ensuring confidential files and information weren’t seen by prying eyes or falling into the wrong hands. 

And now in 2020, a clean desk policy is now imperative – not only to make your business and office compliant with GDPR legislation, but also to make it more hygienic.  If your desk is cluttered with paperwork, post-it notes, mugs and other personal possessions, how can you ensure everything is thoroughly cleaned at the end of the day, ready for any of your staff to use it the following day.

But I’m still working from home – why would I need a clean desk policy?

A clean desk policy doesn’t only relate to those people who are now back in the office.  It’s now becoming clearer that many companies will be adopting new work from home policies for their staff post lockdown.

If you’re one of the many professionals that is still able to work from home, a clean desk policy is not just there simply to provider a clearer space for cleaning.

What would happen if you were to leave a confidential file at home on your desk, and the worst happened – you were broken into and that file was taken?  What would be the legal stance for you, or your company in terms of GDPR?

What if you leave important documents on the kitchen counter and coffee was spilled on them – those ones being the only copy to work from – what do you do?

What if you have an important video call with a colleague or a client and private documents are on display?

A clean desk policy will help you organise your work space – reducing your stress and giving you that peace of mind you need.  With some simple organisation, you can save time finding important documents and know that when you don’t need them, they’re safe and GDPR compliant.

With Flexible Storage Solutions we can offer you Business Document Storage, Financial Document Storage, Legal Document Storage and Medical Document Storage.  We’re fully compliant with GDPR data protection regulations, so you’re in the safest possible hands.  With our online file management service, we can index all of your business documents to make it easy for you to track and retrieve any of your files in storage, allowing you to have your space back at home and adhere to your clean desk policy…..and if the mood takes you, you can give your own workspace a quick wipe down!

The dreaded return to work

So working from home was your dream – no more early starts, the freedom to work in your pyjamas and avoiding the dreaded commute!!

Then lockdown began to ease…

In light of the current situation surrounding Covid-19, it is now more important than ever for those companies who are already open, or beginning to reopen, to implement a clean desk policy, not only for the security of documents but for your own staffs health and safety.

At Flexible Storage Solutions we can help you with the hire of our confidential waste disposal bins.  You can ensure maximum hygiene standards are maintained at all times in the office. A simple slot in the top of the bin allows you to simply drop the documents in, leaving yourself and the bin virus free.  No more office shredders, being operated by multiple people all day. 

We’ll ensure contactless deliveries and collections and replace the waste disposal bags when it’s convenient for you.  GDPR compliance is adhered to at every level; drivers and staff are vetted and DBS checked and your confidential waste has a certificate of destruction for every batch!

The New Normal For Legal Staff

For years now, the push for businesses to implement ‘’work from home policies’’ and practices has been a conversation piece that’s never really taken off. The legal profession is typically slow to change, but being forced into the situation by the global pandemic, it has become clear that legal work can be done effectively and efficiently whilst working from a home office, or the kitchen table.

Due to coronavirus, working from home has rapidly become the chosen way of doing business for many industries, including the law. According to a new study involving legal staff, nearly two thirds  of those who took part want to continue working from home after the lockdown restrictions are lifted. A third stating that not having to commute to the office was the top motivator, followed by not having to sit through so many meetings and a fifth cited the cost saving of not having to travel in daily.

What Happens Post-Lockdown?

Through talking to individuals within the legal profession, it has become clear that work from home policies are indeed going to outlast the pandemic, with many offices remaining empty and even closing, saving on rent, cleaning, parking and more. With this in mind, there are certain aspects of the working from home situation that requires a lot of care around handling confidential documents and the storing of these files.

Having access to a cloud based documentation is great and is very secure, however having physical copies of documentation around the house can cause its own problems. From family having access to the workspace where you complete your work, to the prying eyes and hands of children that can easily misplace something that they may have knocked off your desk or kitchen counter. Storing these documents at home can be overwhelming and can lead to your home office feeling cluttered and disorganised. Admin at home can be a large task too, with the cataloguing and managing of the legal records that you have started to accrue, this can be very time consuming, not to mention frustrating.

Adhering To GDPR Regulations

Legal documents should be securely stored but easily accessible, as some files such as wills will have to be retrieved at an indeterminate point in the future. The introduction of GDPR regulations in 2018 have made it more important than ever to ensure all of your legal documents, files, contracts and records are appropriately stored and easily retrieved.

At Flexible Storage Solutions, we collect, index and store all of your documents and legal records in our specialist archiving centre. Our storage services can be tailored to your specific needs and range from will storage to long-term ‘deep storage’ to an online file management service that gives you full access to manage and retrieve documents via the Flexible Storage Solutions website.

Legal Document Destruction And Confidential Waste

Legal documents and records can build up very quickly. Any files that are no longer useful or have exceeded their retention period will need to be securely destroyed. Do you have a confidential waste bin? Or are some legal documents ending up in a see through recycling bag that goes outside on a certain day of the week? Having a confidential waste bin located in your home office is a great way to ensure that the most sensitive of information and documentation is dealt with in the correct manner. Our team can arrange collection of the bins on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis dependent on your needs

At Flexible Storage Solutions, we can ensure that your confidential documents are professionally shredded with our fully licensed partner company, certification will be issued after every destruction.

By taking advantage of our legal document storage services, you can securely store, track, dispose of and manage all of your legal files without worrying about finding the space in your home office to keep them.

What Are The Benefits Of Document Storage Over Self Storage?

There is a lot to be said about self-storage and the ability to utilise off-site space for your business. When it comes to documentation storage though, on most occasions, you will be better off with a dedicated document storage facility.

Any business, no matter what size, will accumulate all types of paperwork that is subject to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws. Managing large amounts of paperwork can become very time consuming and not very cost effective. A dedicated document storage service can help significantly with operations and assist in you remaining compliant. Let’s talk about some of the benefits of our dedicated document storage services.

1: Cost

It is a common misconception that document storage is far more expensive than self-storage services.

This is far from the truth.

Not only are the costs cheaper but there are also added financial benefits to outsourcing your storage and filing systems to a dedicated company. One of the main ones being that you do not have to employ or use existing staff to retrieve the documents. This saves on travel, staff hourly costs and training for the storage systems in place. Our team can have your documentation delivered to you from a simple phone call.

2: Barcoded and tracked boxes

Gone are the days of physical filing systems used to store location data about products and items. Using barcoded and tracked boxes we can efficiently access the location of all your important documents. This is the most effective way to keep track of your documentation. It means that within minutes your documentation can be located and sent for without any confusion or time wastage. Having an effective retrieval process can make the entire process of your important documentation retrieval seamless and hassle free.

3: Water and fire-proof storage

Fire and water damage are a very real risk for any stored items including important documentation. Although with normal items there are insurances and financial reimbursements, this will not cover the loss of the data within your documents. This is a very important factor for any type of document storage.

4: GDPR compliant

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR ) has become a huge part of modern day life within business. It is a term that covers a wide variety of data protection aspects within the industry. All GDPR conditions are met with our secure document storage services.

With data security being at the forefront of information storage we make sure that every aspect of your documentation storage is GDPR compliant. This means you can relax with the knowledge that there will be no data breaches or concerns while you use our premium service.

5: Your boxes and files retrieved as and when you need them

The last thing you want when you need access to important data is a bottleneck in the retrieval process. This is one of the main reasons to use a dedicated documentation storage service. Whatever you need is only a phone call or an email away. Using our top of the line inventory systems means we can retrieve any documentation you require quickly and efficiently in a timely manner. This means that if you have time critical documents that you need to get hold of you will not need to worry about things our end.

6: Up to date inventories

As with any form of data management, quick and hassle free access is a must. We have systems in place to allow for any requisition of data to be prompt and stress free.

We can produce up to date inventories of all your documentation whenever you need them. This service comes with the package and is useful for staying up to date with all your stored documents.

If you have anymore questions regarding storage of your important documentation then contact us today.

How Much Paper Gets Wasted In The UK Each Year?

In the UK, we use about 12.5 million tons of paper each year. The trees needed to produce this amount would cover about 21,000 square km – roughly the size of Wales. Comprising 20% of all waste in the UK, the amount of paper we throw away is substantial. If we recycled just 10% more paper each year, we’d save approximately 5 million trees. Given the scale of the issue in the UK it’s worth asking – who are the main offenders, and how can they reduce their paper waste? Let’s take a look. 


Abandoned sheets in the photocopier, printed emails, and notebook scraps. Offices have long been known to be serial paper wasters. The average UK office worker uses approximately 10,000 sheets a year, and 75% of this ends up in the waste paper bin. Although sometimes it’s necessary to use paper – for example with legal and official documents – a lot of the time it’s not. A more considered use of paper in the office would do wonders to help reduce the UK’s overall paper wastage. 

How to reduce paper in the office 

  • Use cloud-based applications – It’s easier than ever to securely share information with colleagues and clients using the internet. Cloud-based applications provide an instant way to transfer information and often facilitate collaboration. Consider Google Docs for working on documents as a team, DropBox to share files, or Evernote to take notes during a meeting. Transferring common office functions like these to cloud-based applications will end up saving you reams of wasted paper. 
  • Be print aware – You can keep track of how much you’re printing by using print audit software and setting departmental printing budgets. Train staff on when to use the printer and perhaps incentivize limited use – a prize for the team that’s printed the least this month?
  • Invest in hardware –Consider doubling-up on computer monitors. Having two monitors reduces the need to print documents just for the sake of reference. 


British schools churn through a lot of paper each year. Whether it’s down to exercise books, report cards, or papier-mache creations, schools account for masses of wasted paper. Each year, the average primary school student produces about 45kg of waste (split for the most part between food and paper waste), and each secondary school student is responsible for about 22kg. Even without considering the mounds of paper involved in school administration, this is a significant amount of rubbish. While a lot of tips for reducing office paper waste can be applied to schools, there are also some more specific actions that you can take. 

How to reduce school paper waste 

  • Paperless resources – Teachers can take advantage of resources that don’t involve paper. Integrating videos, music, or interactive games into a lesson makes it more engaging and avoids creating unnecessary waste. 
  • Email communications – Rather than sending out paper newsletters and reports, schools can simply share any information they want with parents and students by email. Not only does it reduce paper use, but they can actually track engagement with whoever they’re communicating with. 
  • Fewer exercise and textbooks –  We fully appreciate that not every school will have the funds to fully utilise tech in the classroom, but where possible, consider substituting exercise and textbooks with laptops and tablets. The tech provides a wealth of teaching opportunities whilst removing the need to throw out stacks of note-filled books every year. 


Another area that contributes significantly to the UK’s paper waste is healthcare. The administrative burdens placed on health professionals in the NHS, for example, are often in the headlines. GPs want to spend more time diagnosing and treating patients, and less sifting through door-stop wedges of folders to find records. Added to this are paper prescriptions and a dizzying array of information leaflets, many of which are never actually read. The result of this flood of paper is not just a reduction in the efficiency of our health service, but an increase in costs – the NHS estimates that each trust spends on average between £500,000 – £1,000,000 a year on storing physical documents. To tackle this problem, in 2005 it launched the Paperless 2020 program – an initiative aimed at reducing the use of paper in the healthcare system through better use of technology. 

How to reduce hospital paper waste 

  • Digital medical records – With medical records stored on a secure server, health professionals can access and update across different hospitals and departments – leading to a faster, more efficient service. 
  • Digital prescriptions – Rather than distributing prescriptions in a paper slip, hospitals, and health centres would benefit from the use of digital prescriptions, sent via email or text. Whilst reducing paper waste, it could decrease the chances of dangerous prescription errors. 
  • Cloud-based administration – Various routine hospital tasks can be transferred to a cloud-based application. Ward inspections, for example, could benefit from the use of apps such as Perfect Ward – removing the need to fill out time-consuming paperwork. 

How to dispose of confidential documents 

Despite efforts to minimise paper waste, it’s almost impossible to completely eliminate the need for physical documents. This is especially true for documents that contain sensitive, confidential information – certificates, legal communications, and financial statements, for example. In order to safely dispose of these, the best option is to use the services of a licensed paper shredding company. 

At Flexible Storage, we offer a professional shredding service via our partner company. Working in full compliance with GDPR, we destroy sensitive documents securely and issue you with a certificate of destruction to prove it. 100% of the paperwork we dispose of is recycled – ideal for companies that want to ensure airtight data protection whilst remaining environmentally-conscious. 

We can also supply confidential waste disposal bins to ensure all sensitive paperwork is securely stored before disposal. These lockable consoles are perfect for any environment, from schools to hospitals to any corporate office. We’ll collect them on an agreed regular basis or whenever it’s almost full – just let us know and we’ll be there. As with our shredding service, all documents are recycled at UK paper mills with zero percent of our paper waste sent to landfill. For every tonne of paper waste recycled, approximately 17 trees are saved. Secure and sustainable paper disposal – what more could you want?

Get in touch with our team today for more information about our shredding services and even receive a quote. 

What are the costs involved in offsite document storage?

When it comes to the business benefits of offsite document storage, there’s no shortage of reasons to employ a professional storage facility. 

From space saving to streamlined organisation to guaranteed GDPR compliance, the majority of UK businesses could improve their working practices with the help of a certified document storage company.

However, document storage services aren’t free. And while they may result in massive savings in admin time and company resources, they still represent a cost to your business. 

So how much does document storage cost? 

The costs of offsite document storage will depend on several factors:

  •     The document storage company you choose
  •     The quantity of documents you wish to store
  •     How much access you’ll need to your documents while they’re in storage

Document storage costs will also depend on whether you require additional document management services, such as document scanning or destruction.

Document storage costs based on quantity

The vast majority of document storage companies charge by the box, which means the main factor determining your document storage costs will be the number of documents, and therefore boxes, that require storage.

While some companies will only charge for document storage on a yearly basis, most will quote for monthly storage. This gives organisations more flexibility, as they are not tied in to lengthy annual contracts, even though many documents are stored for a number of years.

Monthly storage costs can vary from as little as 20p to over £1 per box per month.

As with any business purchase, it’s never a bad idea to shop around and compare prices from a handful of prospective storage companies.

Document storage costs based on accessibility

While monthly rolling contracts are standard in the offsite document storage industry, most facilities will also give you the option of storing your files for a specified number of years if you will not need regular access to them.

This is commonly known as ‘deep storage’ or ‘archive storage’, and the minimal access means the price is significantly lower than other forms of document storage.

On the other hand, if you’re going to need regular access to your stored files, it’s going to be reflected in the storage costs.Needing all of your documents for tomorrow is obviously going to cost more than needing a few files next month. 

Many document storage companies offer document retrieval. This service allows you to retrieve one, some or all of your stored files from the storage facility.

This is typically done via phone call or email, but some storage facilities take care of everything via their online file management system. Your documents are barcoded, indexed and transported to the storage facility where they are securely stored. Throughout the whole process, you are able to trace, manage and retrieve all of your documents through an online system, all from the comfort of your own office.

This is the level of document storage service you can expect at Flexible Storage. Our online document management service is a FREE TO USE service, including all technical support. We offer you complete control of your stored documents, and retrieval couldn’t be easier – we can offer next day or emergency deliveries that can be with you in just a matter of hours, while our weekly deliveries are our most popular and most cost-effective service.

Choose the right offsite document storage company for your needs

Ultimately, choosing the right offsite document storage – not just the cheapest one – is really the key to ensuring you get the service you need.

Basing your decision solely on the lowest cost could put your confidential documents at risk if the storage facility, its staff or any other aspect of the document storage service is not up to scratch.

We know we said it earlier but it’s worth repeating – shop around, get as many quotes as you can and make sure you scrutinise each document storage prospect.

Does their service fulfil all of your document storage needs? What security does their facility have in place to protect your files? Are their staff fully trained and industry certified to handle sensitive data?

If they’re a storage facility worth their salt, all of this information relating to their service will be readily available on their website – just like it is with Flexible Storage’s document storage service.        

Get in touch with the Flexible Storage team today to receive a quote for your document storage needs.

GDPR Fines UK: What You Need to Know About GDPR Non-Compliance

The introduction of EU-wide GDPR legislation has ushered in a new era of stringent data security, compelling UK organisations to make data protection a distinct priority like never before.  

While we don’t want to cover old ground by stressing the importance of GDPR compliance (or even how GDPR can actually benefit your business), we want to take a look at the real-world consequences of failing to uphold data protection laws.

After all, these regulations have been put in place to protect all of our personal data, securing both individual privacy and business confidentiality. It’s in all of our interest that data protection is upheld to the full extent of the law.

Has anyone been fined for a GDPR breach? 

Yes – since GDPR was implemented in May 2018, the ICO (the UK’s independent national data protection authority) has been busy taking action against over 100 organisations in both the private and public sector.

These actions include issuing undertakings, enforcement notices and even prosecutions, but the majority of penalties include imposing monetary fines.

Notable GDPR breach fines so far:

  •     Carphone Warehouse, January 2018 – £400,000 fine after serious security failures put both customer and employee data at risk.
  •     Facebook, July 2018 – £500,000 fine (the maximum at the time) over the Cambridge Analytica scandal where the personal data of millions of Facebook users was used without their consent for political advertising.
  •     Bupa, September 2018 – £175,000 for failing to implement security measure that would effectively protect their customers’ personal information.
  •     Heathrow Airport, October 2018 – £120,000 fine for failing to secure the personal data held on its network.
  •     Uber, November 2018 – £385,000 fine for failing to protect their customers’ and drivers’ personal information during a cyber attack.
  •     British Airways, July 2019 – £183 million fine for a data breach that compromised the personal details of approximately 500,000 customers.
  •     Marriott International, July 2019 – £99 million fine for failing to protect the personal data of roughly 339 million guests.

For a full list of organisations and companies fined under GDPR please refer to the ICO’s enforcement action page.

How much is a GDPR fine?

The most annoying of all answers – it depends. While pre-May 2018 data protection legislation capped the maximum fine for a breach to £500,000 (see Facebook fine above), GDPR introduced a much stricter, two-tier fines system that related to the offending company’s revenue: 

  1.     Up to €10 million, or 2% of annual global turnover – whichever is higher; or
  2.     Up to €20 million, or 4% of annual global turnover – whichever is higher.

Maximum fine for GDPR

As shown above, the maximum fine a company can be fined for GDPR non-compliance is €20 million or 4% of that company’s annual worldwide revenue. This penalty can be applied to any failure to comply with any of GDPR’s data protection principles.

So, if we look at the case of the British Airways data breach mentioned above, the £183 million sum they faced was the result of a 1.5% fine by the ICO on their global turnover. If the ICO had chosen to enforce the maximum 4% fine, British Airways could have faced a bill of approximately £489 million!

While this example may highlight the lenience that the ICO can exercise when investigating GDPR breaches, it also stresses the very considerable and very real fines that can and are being enforced in the UK.    

Can individuals be fined under GDPR? 

Yes – the EU specifically states that GDPR legislation “regulates the processing by an individual, a company or an organisation of personal data relating to individuals in the EU.” These data protection regulations apply to any individual or organisation that uses another party’s data “outside the personal sphere, (such as) for socio-cultural or financial activities.”

There have already been dozens of individuals who have faced punitive action by the ICO as a direct result of data protection violations and GDPR non-compliance (the Data Protection Act 2018 is the UK’s implementation of GDPR). In most cases, this involved prosecution, which typically resulted in hefty fines, coverings costs and victim surcharges.

At Flexible Storage, our document storage services are fully compliant with GDPR regulations, so you know your documents will be in the safest possible hands. Get in touch with one of our professional storage consultants today to see how we can help you protect your confidential data, avoid any fines and keep your company operating at maximum potential. 

Is There Still a Demand for Secure Off-Site Document Storage?

Do people even use paper any more? This question could come from the child who’s too small to hold a tablet or that CEO who gets a buzz out of, well – buzzwords.

Yes, we know the benefits of a paperless office and cloud-based storage. But, many businesses still rely on off-site document storage to safeguard critical information. There may be rumours of industries across the board embracing all things paperless. Forgive the pun, but experts say those rumours are paper-thin. In fact, as of 2017, over 15 trillion pages are printed globally each year, according to Andrew Morrison, managing director at Xerox UK and Ireland.

Overall, the global market for document storage is growing. According to the recent Document Management Software Market 2019 Global Trend, the market is expected to be worth $960 million by the end of 2025.

Paper is necessary for many industries

The demand to ditch paper documents in favour of digital copies is growing. However, there are industries that simply must hang onto their paper documents. The first example that comes to mind is the legal sector. A large number of documents change hands every day in the legal sector. These can range from wills and birth certificates to contracts and property deeds. It goes without saying that any lawyer worth their salt won’t accept a scanned copy. These documents are incredibly valuable, so as long as the world needs solicitors there will be a demand for secure document storage.

Law is just one of many sectors that need to keep paper documents close to hand. Healthcare is another prominent example. The average hospital or surgery is teeming with documents such as test results and patient records. We’re sure we don’t need to fill you in on the sacred covenant of doctor-patient confidentiality. Anything containing sensitive information about a person’s medical history needs to be kept under lock and key. All of this important paper needs to be stored somewhere – stat.

Data protection and storage of documents

You would think that many businesses understand the importance of a cast-iron document storage policy. Countless hours can be wasted sifting through reams of paper to find a certain file. Despite this, a recent survey conducted by Cleardata revealed that many SMEs are relying on a manner of half-baked storage solutions:

  • 44% of businesses admitted to storing documents in lock-ups
  • 22% store their documents in basements or lofts
  • 17% leave their paperwork in sheds

 It turns out only 33% of businesses using a purpose-built facility for storage. This statistic is particularly worrying, considering the standards for document storage outlined in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We don’t tend to consider paper copies when we talk about data protection. This means the secure storage of paper documents is often overlooked. Nevertheless, the hefty fines (which could total as much as £20m) for GDPR non-compliance apply just as much to paper documents as they do to digital records.

 GDPR dictates that documents must not only be kept securely, they also need to be accessible. One of the key components of GDPR is the right to erasure.” Organisations must be completely transparent about the information they keep on a person. They must also comply with requests to destroy information if they do not have a legitimate reason to store it. Without a clear-cut document storage system, finding this information is sure to be a time-consuming process.

Cloud storage has security risks

GDPR was implemented in May 2018, a time of peak concern for cybersecurity. Last year saw a series of cataclysmic data breaches, affecting high-profile organisations from British Airways to T-Mobile. There are a number of reasons behind data breaches, and some are due to human error. However, the unfortunate reality is no matter how advanced security protocols become, cybercriminals are quick to adapt their techniques.

Data breaches are costly, in more ways than one. Companies fork out large sums of money in ransomware attacks. The dent to their public reputation can also have a catastrophic long-term effect. IBM estimated in 2018 that the average cost of a data breach could be as much as $3.86m, a 6% increase from the previous year.

A more secure document storage solution

At Flexible Storage, we employ a range of practices to ensure the utmost protection for important documents. Our cast-iron security includes alarms, 24-hour CCTV surveillance, access codes and hardened steel locks.

If you’re interested in finding out more about secure offsite document storage, learn more about our protection and security services. Better yet, contact Flexible Storage today and one of our consultants will get in touch to talk over your requirements.