What are the retention periods for legal documents?

Having a good records management strategy is essential for Law firms owing to the vast number of sensitive documents that they handle, which may include various forms of agreements, instructions, and case notes, among other things.

The general consensus is that the minimum legal document retention time for most types of records should be at least six years, as this is the primary limitation period under the Limitation Act of 1980. Other legal documents, on the other hand, must be retained for a period of at least 15 years or more.

Some businesses will keep all of their records in order to be prepared for any potential problems in the future. However, this strategy can take up a lot of physical space, and it can be time-consuming and expensive to properly sort and preserve documents. This is where having a working grasp of more specific legal records keeping laws can be extremely beneficial.

This short guide will emphasise some of the most important aspects of legal document preservation that you should be aware of, and it should serve as a reminder of the kind of papers that you should maintain.

Legal records that must be retained for a period of at least six years

As previously stated, many legal documents should be kept for a period of six years, as this is the principal limitation period under the 1980 Limitation Act. This includes records pertaining to the following:

  • Crime
  • Immigration
  • Litigation in County Court
  • Debt collection

Legal records that must be retained for a period of at least fifteen years

Certain files should be kept for a period of 15 years, in accordance with the long-stop provision of section 14B of the Limitation Act of 1980. These documents are pertinent in circumstances where claims may be asserted outside the principal limitation period. This includes records pertaining to the following:

  • Children and family matters
  • Commercial transactions
  • Financial Services
  • Matrimonial matters
  • Commercial property
  • Property sales
  • Residential property purchases
  • Probate
  • Sales of leasehold properties
  • Employment
  • Personal injury

Legal records that must be retained for longer than 15 years

Other more critical files should be retained for a longer period of time than 15 years – ideally, they will not be discarded at all. These records include the following:

  • Change of name
  • Company formation
  • Court of Protection
  • Declaration of trust
  • Patents/intellectual property matters
  • Pension schemes
  • Lasting power of attorney and enduring power of attorney
  • Wills

Deeds and Wills storage

Only original wills and deeds are legally binding, which is why it is critical to have the originals safely stored. Wills are subject to modification and updating over time, but the most recent version will be used in court to divide an estate. Additionally, original deeds may contain other information that may be beneficial in the event of a dispute, such as legal borders and the prior owner.

Different law firms will have varying practises on how long they retain an original will or deed, with some holding it permanently while others retain it for a finite period (30 years from creation, for example). Whatever the rule, it is critical that it is communicated clearly to the customer and organised in such a way that records retrieval is made simple when necessary.

Possession of legal files

Prior to destroying a legal document, it is necessary to ascertain who owns the document’s contents. The majority of records will contain documents that are yours and those that belong to the client or third parties. Documents in your custody on behalf of a customer or a third party must be handled precisely according to their instructions – not yours.

Safe storage

Working with a dedicated document storage specialist such as Flexible Storage Solutions third-party document storage provider can assume the responsibility for document retention on your behalf, ensuring that you are compliant with all applicable rules and have access to your papers at any time. To learn more about our services, visit our website. If you wish to learn more about storage solutions and related topics, visit our blog.

Why choose Flexible Storage Solutions

There are so many storage companies on the market. So why should you choose us over hundreds of other companies? As you are aware, selecting organisations with whom you can establish a long-term connection and rely on can be a challenging task. Here are some of the reasons why choosing us is a good decision for your business.

Our ethos

We consider our work to be more than simply a job; we take great pride in the solutions we offer for our customers. We endeavour to provide services to a high level of excellence to ensure client satisfaction. At Flexible Storage Solutions we strive to reach the highest standards of quality.

Our experience

Flexible storage was established in 2005. Since then, a lot has happened. We have served hundreds of clients at our state-of-the-art storage facilities. The level of service we offer has resulted in us building a great reputation and a strong client base. We have learnt a lot along the way which helps us provide you with the best possible services every day.

Friendly advice and assistance

We want your storage experience to be as stress-free and flexible as possible, which is why we’re always available to make sure you’re satisfied with your unit and that you’re getting the most out of your new storage facility. Our friendly customer service team are available to resolve any issues you face whilst utilising our self-storage, archive storage or confidential waste services. Issues are unlikely but if they do arise, we will solve them as soon as we possibly can.

Safety

At flexible storage solutions, we take safety very seriously. This why we have put in place many security protocols to make sure that our clients, our employees, and everything that we store are always safe. Our storage premises are fireproof, waterproof, and monitored by CCTV 24/7. But our security processes don’t stop there! We also care about your data. We are fully GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliant and make it our mission to be the securest option for all your needs. You may rest easy knowing that your belongings are in good hands thanks to our top-notch security.

Trust

Over the years we have created many strong relationships with clients in all sorts of industries. From healthcare to law firms to global freight, we have been chosen by the best professionals out there. When you sign up with Flexible Storage Solutions, you are in good hands.

Transparency

No hidden costs or charges. We believe in being upfront with fees and costs which is why we will always inform you of any changes to your account. You are in total control, always.

Simplicity

We are easy to work with. No fuss and no nonsense, we focus on providing you with exactly what you need. We are dedicated to delivering exceptional service. If you would like to find out more about how we could support your business, please contact our team.

Why should I use a confidential waste disposal service for my business?

Confidential Waste Disposal Service For My Business

As the UK slowly moves towards a new normal and many begin their gradual return to the office, it may be time to consider how you dispose of your confidential waste and whether there is a more efficient way to do so. This blog will outline the reasons why a confidential waste disposal service could be the right solution for your business.

Our business has decided to introduce hotdesking, how can we implement a clean desk policy?

Although restrictions in the UK have started to lift, many businesses are still choosing to limit the occupancy of their office to allow for social distancing and to minimise contact. Many staff members are now working to rota systems and hotdesking with the rest of their team. Hotdesking comes with many benefits as well as some flaws, one of those being the need for clean desk policies. Gone are the days of leaving your files on your desk or in your desk drawers, this is where a confidential waste disposal service can help.

Flexible Storage Solutions’ confidential waste disposal service includes collection of confidential waste. Your confidential documents will be collected by a member of our vetted team in one of our GPS tracked vehicles, for complete peace of mind that your documents are being transported securely. Confidential documents will then be sent to our licensed waste management partner for secure shredding. 

As an added bonus, your documents will be recycled and turned into toilet paper that is used across the UK. So not only will our service help implement your clean desk policy, but it also helps your business comply with any environmental and Corporate Social Responsibility policies you may have.

Once your documents have been securely disposed of, you will receive certification of destruction.

Can you assure me that my documents are in safe hands?

We understand how important it is to know that your confidential documents are being handled correctly. That’s why all of our staff are fully vetted, and DBS checked, our vehicles are GPS tracked, and we implement a number of policies to ensure confidential waste is dealt with securely.

Our processes are fully GDPR-compliant, and Flexible Storage Solutions is both ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 accredited. You can find out more about the ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 accreditations in our blog, read it here.

How often can my confidential document waste be collected?

At Flexible Storage Solutions, we know things don’t always go to plan, so offer both a monthly and ad-hoc confidential waste collection service. By offering both monthly and ad-hoc collections, we can tailor a confidential waste collection service that suits your business’s needs. We also supply confidential waste bins, so you won’t need to interact with any other company apart from the team at Flexible Storage Solutions.

If you would like to discuss how our confidential waste disposal service can support your business, please contact our team on 0800 652 1117 or complete our online contact form and our team will be in touch. 

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.

Fire at Twinwoods Business Park Provides Another Self Storage Wakeup Call

Companies at Twinwoods Business Park are currently assessing the damage done by a devastating fire that broke out during the afternoon of November 1st.

The blaze started in a polystyrene factory on the Milton Ernest business estate and took over 60 fire-fighters from four counties to get the flames under control. 

The fire rapidly spread to two nearby buildings, sending huge plumes of thick, black smoke into the Bedford sky that could be seen for miles around. The fire even forced workers in the area to flee the business park and local roads were closed.

While the exact cause of the fire is still unknown, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue have since played down the likelihood of foul play:

“We do not believe the fire has been started deliberately and will now be carrying out further investigations, working both with the insurers and the companies affected,” commented Andy Draper, group commander at Bedford fire service.

Fire protection lessons to be learned 

While it’s fortunate that nobody was hurt during the inferno, the total cost of damage to property and goods is yet to be realised.

One group of people that will be assessing their losses will be customers of Storing.com whose storage facility was one of the other two buildings to succumb to the flames at Twinwoods Business Park.

In a situation reminiscent of the colossal fire at Shurgard’s Croydon storage depot that saw hundreds of stored belongings go up in smoke, this Storing.com blaze highlights the importance of using a storage facility that truly prioritises the safety of its customer’s stored items.

How can you protect your storage items from fire damage?

  •     Avoid warehouse-style storage facilities – the lack of partitions and strong airflow means that fires can spread much easier in open-plan buildings. While most storage facilities prohibit dangerous substances such as flammable liquids, there’s no way to comprehensively check every single item. As such, just one customer’s dangerous or flammable storage item may result in the destruction of all goods in the facility, as they’re all essentially stored in the same room.   
  •     Choose a storage facility that uses fireproof storage containers – steel containers will protect their contents from an external fire whilst also ‘containing’ any fires that may start within them. While storage containers do not guarantee complete protection, they significantly slow down the spread of a fire and give emergency services the precious time they need to get the blaze under control.
  •     Get self storage insurance – while there are some key precautions that you can take to minimise the risk of fire, it’s impossible to reduce the risk completely. It’s therefore very advisable to cover your stored goods with self storage insurance. The vast majority of household insurance policies will not cover your storage items so you’ll need to opt for storage-specific cover. This will protect your belongings from fire, water or any other damage. (Get a self storage insurance quote for your items today.)

A self storage facility you can trust

At Flexible Storage, we store all of our customers’ items in individual 2mm thick steel storage containers that are both water and fireproof. From fireproof file storage to 24 hour CCTV surveillance, we put the safety of your belongings first. Get in touch with one of our team today to discuss your secure storage options further and even receive a tailored quote.

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. 

London Area Tradespeople: Keep Your Tools Safe With Self Storage

Keeping your tools safe and secure when not in use is something that almost every tradesperson worries about. Investing in a large van that can accommodate all of your equipment might seem like the most straightforward solution but it can often be far from the most secure. Storing your tools in a work van around the clock puts your expensive equipment at serious risk of theft. It’s a classic case of putting all of your eggs in one basket and tool thieves are very much aware of the easy pickings to be had.

With tool thefts on the rise, choosing to use a self-storage unit is a more effective way to protect your tools and and your trade. In fact, according to the Self Storage Association, more than 70% of those who use the facilities own a business with ten employees or less, proving how useful they have become for tradespeople, sole traders and small businesses.

Rising Crime

Van tool security is a major concern for tradespeople in London. A report by Simply Business claimed that 98% of those working in a trade were worried about the potential for theft from their unattended vans. It was estimated that in 2016 alone, tool thefts cost UK workmen a total of £94,521,600 – money that most honest, hard-working traders can’t afford to lose.

The staggering figure was discovered by Trade Direct Insurance, who claimed that tool theft was more of an issue for the self-employed than late payments and tax rises. They also estimated that around 215 tradespeople were a victim of theft each day in the UK.

Alternative Solutions to Van Tool Security

Self-storage units – such as the ones provided by Flexible Storage – are the most secure solution. With security features including CCTV surveillance, industrial strength locks and access-controlled gates, our service offers excellent peace of mind for those workers who require maximum protection for their expensive equipment.

They also have some other great business benefits too…

London’s New Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

For example, from 8 April 2019 April, vans in London emissions zones will be subject to even tighter restrictions in the city than have previously been enforced. If you don’t have to use your van to store your entire tool catalogue, you should consider downsizing your work vehicle to one that meets the new emission standards, so that you won’t have to pay a daily charge to travel between jobs in the City.

Smaller businesses may even be able to take part in the Mayor of London’s new scrappage scheme, which has funding in place to enable those workers who regularly drive vans in London emissions zones to switch their heavily polluting vehicles for electric cars. In the new ULEZ rules that are attempting to reduce the pollution levels in the heart of the city, vans with high pollution emissions will have to pay £12.50 a day. This poses a significant potential financial hit for many tradespeople who spend the majority of their time in London. However, if successful, the new scrappage scheme will benefit both London’s tradespeople and the wider environment, which can only be a good thing.

Easily Accessible for Tradespeople in London

Another great advantage of self-storage is that it gives you an accessible place to pick-up your tools at any time of the day or night. Coded access gates allow customers to access their tools 24/7 while water and fireproof units keep them protected from the elements, which is essential in order to keep them in the best working order. From electricians and plumbers to builders and decorators, most tradespeople do not require all of their tools on every job they do. As such, tradespeople require quick and easy access to their equipment while also knowing that any tools in storage are safe and maintained in the best possible condition.

When you do need to grab your tools for a job or store them away for the night, you can drive your vehicle right up to your unit and load it up, making the transition easy and fuss-free.

A Cost-Effective Tool Storage Solution

While it is impossible to put a price on the safety of your livelihood, renting a storage unit might not be as expensive as you think. Most contracts are flexible, so that you can upgrade and downsize your unit as necessary, depending on the seasonal demand or the growth of your business.

You might even choose to team up with another tradesperson, hiring a unit together in order to keep costs down. Cheaper than building your own version of Fort Knox in your back garden and safer than keeping tools in your van, contact the Flexible Storage team today to receive a quote for your tools.

Moving Office? Here’s What You Need to Consider to Save Time and Money

Moving office is never an easy task. Whether you are moving to a new unit in the same building or a complete relocation across the country, the logistics involved in moving equipment, files and people are fairly complicated. That’s why it’s so important that you make the move as easy and straightforward as possible. It’s crucial that all of your belongings are organised so that everything is accounted for once you have moved into your shiny new office and all confidential documents are always protected.

With that in mind, we have put together some useful moving office advice to help make your relocation go off without a hitch.

Clear out the Clutter

There is never a better time to have a clear out than when you are already having to go through your office drawers, cabinets and desks in order to pack them away for moving. Have a bin and shredder nearby, so that you can throw away anything that is clearly rubbish and shred any documents containing data that has served its purpose (not sure what to shred? Check out our blog post on what business documents need secure shredding). Since the introduction of GDPR in 2018, it’s imperative that you stay on top of any out-dated paperwork that has accumulated. These files will likely contain sensitive information and pose a security risk if managed incorrectly. By going through all documentation in the office, you can pack your belongings, de-clutter your workspace and destroy sensitive data all at the same time!

Downsize Your Storage

The vast majority of businesses accumulate a significant amount of sensitive data, much of which you will need to keep. One of the best pieces of moving office advice that we can offer is to use this time to scan as much of your paper information as possible to computer files. You will then be able to securely destroy more unnecessary paperwork and have less to move to your new office. With copies of your documents saved online, there’s less chance of the odd piece of paper being left behind or falling out of a folder during the move, and therefore less chance of confidential information falling into the wrong hands. Of course, while the truly “paperless office” is yet to become a reality, you will still need to retain physical copies of most of your documents. Scanning and storing your important files online provides you with a backup should anything happen to the originals.

Another benefit of this is that you will have less to unpack in your new office, helping you to make better use of your space and preventing a fresh build-up of clutter.

Take Advantage of Document Storage

Why not go one step further than scanning your documents and take full advantage of a professional document storage service? Once you have packed up your files and securely shredded all unnecessary paperwork, you can let a storage facility take your confidential documents off your hands. Properly indexed, securely stored and easily retrieved with an online file management service, storage facilities keep your files safe and your office clutter-free. However, make sure you only store your files with a professional and fully GDPR compliant facility (such as Flexible Storage).  

Make a Floor Plan of your new Office

The chances are that your new office will not be identical to your old one, especially if you have downsized your storage. Now is a good time to look at the condition of your current chairs and desks, in order to identify any items that are past their best. If you have a floor plan drawn up, you can see exactly what you need and where it will go, so that your furniture can be put straight into place when unloading. Any surplus furniture can be donated, recycled or sold and any new furniture you might need can be ordered for delivery on or before moving day.

Plan Internet and Phoneline Relocation in Advance

It’s easy to forget about telecommunications until the very last minute – usually when you have unpacked at the other side, but if you think ahead, you can discuss your needs with your Internet and phone providers, helping to ensure there is no downtime in service. You want to be able to unpack and set-up as quickly as possible in your new office, in order to keep your business ticking over and your customers happy.

Get Staff involved

Make sure your team is giving you plenty of help moving office, so that you can also take the opportunity to inform them of fire exits, new procedures and security processes for the new premises. Let them know where they should report on moving day and the exact location of the new offices, as well as establish a seating plan ahead of time. While this may seem like obvious advice, doing most of this in advance will ensure your move is quick and easy and that everyone is comfortable with their new working home. You’d be surprised how many things are overlooked in the hustle and bustle of an office move!

There are so many things to consider when moving office locations and it can all seem rather overwhelming at times. By taking things one step at a time, planning in advance and taking advantage of professional services, you can keep a clear head on moving day, helping to get your business back up and running as quickly as possible.

Contact the Flexible Storage team today to find out how our secure, professional storage services can benefit your office move, saving you valuable time, energy and money.

Using GDPR to Benefit Your Business

The new guidelines surrounding the treatment of data in business have now been law for almost a whole year. Since compliance of the new rules is an essential requirement, it makes sense for businesses to look at the benefits of GDPR, using it to improve and streamline their administrative processes.

The General Data Protection Regulation became law throughout Europe in May 2018. Regardless of the outcome of Brexit, the UK has elected to adopt the same principles when we leave the EU. One thing that the politicians have agreed on is that the GDPR benefits are well worth implementing in our own businesses, especially as any trade deals with European companies will need to comply with the various points within the regulation. Here we outline five of the positive effects that GDPR could have on your business.

GDPR Benefits Number 1: Security

Keeping data safe and secure for clients is one of the most important benefits of GDPR. The majority of security breaches have been caused as a result of human error, making them difficult to defend in case of compliance fees, brand reputation and angry customers. Having a clear and concise policy in place, with strict rules as to how data should be handled, reduces the risk of employees accidentally revealing information they shouldn’t, while also helping to minimise the cost should a breach occur.

One of the stipulations of GDPR is that anyone dealing with data can now be prosecuted in the event of unlawful disclosure, so that full responsibility is not placed solely on the person in charge of the data. This makes external document storage a far safer option, using a company like Flexible Storage Solutions, so long as the company can prove GDPR compliance.

GDPR Benefits Number 2: Transparency and Organisation

GDPR guidelines insist that data is organised in a way that ensures it is easy to access sensitive information quickly. The GDPR business benefits of this stipulation are obvious, with a neat and tidy system that means that client requests for data are always easy to comply with, preventing employees wasting time searching for information and also reducing the chances of that data becoming ‘lost’ in the system.

Even if a company has gone through several structural changes, with mergers and takeovers that have meant the accumulation of data from several sources, GDPR indexing suggestions should ensure important information is always to hand.

GDPR Benefits Number 3: Customer Confidence

Advertising your compliance with GDPR is sure to increase customer confidence in your brand, since they will know that their data is being handled in a way that is reliable and responsible. With GDPR principles in place, data breaches will become few and far between, so that company reputation is kept in place and customer loyalty is rewarded with safe and secure data.

GDPR Benefits Number 4: Cost-Effective Storage

One of the rules that businesses must abide by is that all personal data held must be relevant and up-to-date. This encourages companies to have a clear-out of all old records, enabling them to improve the efficiency of daily operations. This helps reduce maintenance costs, especially if your business rents additional space on your work premises. Time is money and as documents become easier to access and manage, employee time will be better spent on their core activities, rather than searching through piles of unnecessary paperwork.

GDPR Benefits Number 5: Efficient Use of Data

When making decisions in business, companies are now required to ensure human intervention helps to streamline the process. Removing the automated part of the decision-making procedure means that there is less room for error, so that data is used in a more effective and efficient way. The fact that documents are better consolidated and easier to access with an online file management system means that the decision-making process is far less daunting for an employee.

There are many benefits of GDPR and since it is now a mandatory requirement for all businesses within Europe, as well as those that intend to deal with European companies, it makes sense for businesses to embrace these new rules and use them to their advantage.

At Flexible Storage, our document storage services are fully compliant with the GDPR regulations, so you know your documents will be in the safest possible hands. Get in touch with one of our professional storage consultants here to get a quote!

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Paperless Office?

For many businesses, the paperless office seems to be one of those concepts promised in the 80s that has never really come to fruition, along with hover-boards and 8-minute abs.

In theory the paperless office sounds great – no need for any more paper files, cumbersome filing cabinets or bursting storage cupboards. All documents are digitised, floating in the cloud and instantly accessible – anytime, anywhere.

In practice though, things aren’t quite that simple. Today, business practices and legal compliance make it necessary to store documents for long periods of time. There are also serious questions being raised around the security of online systems, and many businesses do not have the time, budget or ability to transfer their entire document archive into digital form.

To help clear the air, we have listed the main advantages and disadvantages of a paperless office so that you can decide how realistic it is for your business.

Advantages of a paperless office

Saves storage space

It’s pretty simple – less documents means less space needed to store them. While many of us deal with online documents on a daily basis, paper files still play a crucial role in our day-to-day working lives. If 100% of these files were online, there would be no more need for physical storage space. In crowded cities such as London, space saving is an advantage that can’t be underestimated.

Easily accessible

No need to go rummaging through the office paper mountain to find that one business record. With a paperless office, all files are accessible with just a few clicks of your mouse. As long as you have Internet connection and the files have been correctly stored, a digitised document system will improve efficiency and save a great deal of time searching.

Environmentally friendly

As the name suggests, a paperless office should produce no paper waste. This is great news for trees and the environment as a whole. Nothing will need to be printed so printers are redundant, saving even more energy. These all contribute to reducing your office’s carbon footprint.

Disadvantages of a paperless office

Security risks and viruses

Probably the number one concern around a paperless office is the security risks associated with transferring the entire document trail of your business into digital form. Cyber security software is constantly playing catch-up with online fraudsters. Paperless offices share data via online networks that are increasingly susceptible to hacking and damaging viruses. Much of the data and files stored online by businesses – especially those in the medical, legal and financial industries – contains highly sensitive information that could be incredibly damaging if they fell into the wrong hands.

Installing security software that properly encrypts data can be complicated and very costly. Most data security platforms charge by the month with prices that increase with the amount of data storage you use. These costs can quickly add up and there’s no guarantee that they’re secure from all cyber attacks.

Dependence on technology

A paperless office requires all of your files and data to be stored on hard drives and increasingly in online cloud storage. This works as long as your electronics do. If there is a problem with your online system, Internet connection or even power supply, then you will not be able to access any of your documents. Backing up your important files is always advisable but many businesses either forgot to do it or lack the capability.

Environmentally friendly?

Even though most businesses around the world have taken paper-reducing measures over recent years, global paper usage is not actually reducing at any great rate, according to Andrew Morrison, managing director at Xerox UK and Ireland. This is by no means a call for office-based UK businesses to abandon paper-saving efforts but suggests that other sectors of the economy should be carrying their fair share too.

While paper waste may be significantly reduced, a paperless office will still need to dispose of its electronic equipment from time to time. These items contain dangerous chemicals and are often made of unrecyclable plastics. Improper disposal of such equipment can have very damaging effects on the environment so make sure you dispose of your electronics responsibly.

The verdict

The reality is that a “paperless office” is currently just a buzzword. For the foreseeable future, there will always be a practical need to handle paper in the vast majority of modern businesses. Legal documents still need to be signed, wills and deeds have to be retained and even items as small as receipts will have to be collected. All of these documents will need to be stored somewhere where they are systemised, secure and accessible.

So, how can Flexible Storage help?

  • Storing your documents at our archiving centre will free up space in your office as well as ensure they are always protected and stored in compliance with GDPR and data protection laws.
  • Our online file management service makes it easy for you to retrieve and manage your indexed files, so accessibility need not be a problem.
  • Once you no longer need your documents we can have them professionally shredded where 100% of paper waste is recycled. Alternatively, you can rent our confidential waste consoles to collect all of your paper waste. They’ll keep your sensitive documents secure until they can be collected for complete, confidential destruction.

Get in touch with our friendly team today to see how our document storage services can keep your paperwork safe while saving your business space, time and money.