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. 

July 12, 2019

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