Is Paper File Storage Secure? Storage Tips for Boston Businesses
As a business owner, you are responsible for keeping track of a lot of paperwork. Some documents, like contracts and invoices, you might refer to frequently. Others, like taxes and stock certificates, you may only need once in a while. Having an organized system for keeping and safeguarding your paper files is essential to your business.
Of course, as your business continues to grow, so do your paper files. At some point, you’ll want to consider offsite document storage in Boston, but you may wonder, is it secure to store paper files away from your office? Check out these helpful paper file storage ideas.
Paper File Storage at Your Office
There are some documents businesses should keep close at hand. This may be different for each industry depending on specific regulations, like medical and banking institutions for example. Here is a general list of documents most businesses should store onsite.
You may not need them regularly, but you’ll want to know exactly where your business formation documents are, like Articles of Incorporation, EIN confirmation, and business plan documents. As opposed to secure off-site paper file storage, placing these items together in a binder or drawer in your office and clearly labeling them will make them easy to find when you need them.
Financial statements, receipts, and payroll forms that are supporting documents to your tax returns should be kept for a minimum of three years. The IRS typically performs audits going back three years, but in cases where there have been filing issues, prior audits, or missed filings, you may want to push the tax document retention period a bit longer.
Store tax documents, which may include confidential information like social security numbers, in a locked cabinet or room to keep files secure.
Leases and Contracts
Active equipment or office leases, vendor contracts, and other legally binding documents should be kept onsite in your office. Binders and filing cabinets are great for organizing these types of paper files. For contracts and leases that have recently ended, offsite storage works well.
Human resource documents like applications, test results, medical and retirement plans are very sensitive documents and should be locked in a room or cabinet with limited access inside of your office. You’ll want them close at hand as you may need them for verification as well as tax purposes.
Paper File Storage Offsite
If your Boston office is bursting at the seams with paper, it’s time to consider offsite storage for your paper files. You’ll want to pay close attention to any industry regulations with regards to document storage offsite, but here are some general guidelines for secure paper file storage.
Most businesses adopt a seven-year document storage policy. Depending on the size and age of your business, keeping documents for this long can be cumbersome and take up valuable room in your office. Secure self-storage is the clear choice for offsite document keeping.
Is Self-Storage Better for Business Documents?
More often than not, storing business documents offsite at a secure storage facility is more secure than having them in a cabinet in your office within reach of your employees and visitors.
Secure offsite paper file storage allows you to assign access to only those on your team that should have access to your documents. Keeping a log of those with keys, gate codes, passwords, and a document/box check-out system will help you maintain control of file access.
Offsite Paper File Organization
The nice thing about offsite paper file storage is the opportunity to keep all of your files in one place with a clearly labeled and documented system. Metal racks that allow for proper stacking and labeling will make for easier trips to your unit when you need to access a document.
Climate Control Storage for Paper Files
We recommend climate controlled storage for paper records and photo storage. Paper is sensitive to temperatures that are too hot or too cold and humidity levels that fluctuate. Climate controlled self-storage units are kept at a consistent temperature and humidity level throughout the year despite the weather outside.
EZ Storage in Boston can help you choose the right unit for your business storage needs. Contact one of our three Boston locations in Framingham, Natick, or Newton for more information. We also offer receiving services for businesses that need help with accepting deliveries to their storage units.*
*Features vary by location