Walk into any office, and you’ll most likely see file cabinets lining hallways and boxes filling offices. Finding enough space to store business records is a concern for any budget minded organization. As a result, “inexpensive” public or “mini-storage” options have become a default option for many small businesses. Knowing the risks associated with storing your business records in a self-storage unit can help you make an informed decision about what’s best for your retention needs.
Water damage and mold are common to many self-storage facilities. Improper drainage, leaky roofs and condensation are the most frequent contributors. These factors can contribute to permanent loss of the data contained within critical business records. Even if your business is not bound by specific regulatory requirements, improper protection of archival records can result in legal headaches that may prove costly to your business.
Another problem with storing your business records in a self-storage unit is the lack of security protocols and processes. One never knows the risks associated with the unit next to yours. Most self-storage units can be accessed at any hour with no identification. It’s no wonder that illegal activity and robbery have become commonplace at these businesses.
Fortunately, by choosing a respected Records and Information Management Company like Safeguard Records Management, you can avoid these risks. As a company that specializes in document storage we have a stake in protecting your information. As a result, a combination of document protection and preservation equipment, comprehensive security systems and expert staff ensures that your documents and files are safeguarded throughout their retention period. In addition, Safeguard can deliver your files right to your office, saving you the time and expense of having to send someone to locate and retrieve your records. In almost all cases, we can save you over 50% in the monthly storage cost alone. Coupled with the convenience and added security measures, the cost savings are immeasurable.
Being just over two years away from celebrating 20 years in the document shredding and storage business, as a small business whose job is nothing but small, we felt like it was about time we started the celebration. We might be a little early, but hey, we're excited. We're excited because we've successfully been able to capture the trust of thousands of customers over the years who are in need of secure shredding or records management and who put their faith in us to keep their personal information safe. The reason for our success, we believe, along with many other things, is because we do things the right way. What is the right way, you ask? Well, there's only one when it comes to this business and we're doing it. There are a lot of ways to be doing it the "wrong" way and thankfully, we know that that's just not how to do business.
Although is may be a simple question, we get it a lot; "What do you do with my documents once you take them?" Since we are asked this so frequently, we figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to lay it all out and give you the inside look at how things are done (the right way!).
You can get all the facts in two minutes by watching our video, and then the nitty gritty (but really important stuff!) layed out below
Certified & Secure
Document Storage &
1. Your boxes of documents are picked up by our insured and bonded staff (loaded into our securely locked box truck designated spiecifically for destruction pick-up only). 2. The number of boxes picked up are signed off by you as well as the retrieval driver. This is to ensure that you will be billed for only the number of boxes you and the retrieval team member agree upon. We do this since there are so many different sizedboxes to hold your documents these days,some larger than others, and may need tobe counted as two. 3. Once the box number is agreed upon, yourboxes are transported in our locked destructionretrieval truck to our secure facility where thetruck has loading dock access and unloadsyour documents directly onto the shredder. That means that your documents are destroyedthe same day that they are retrieved. 4. All of the shreds from our shredder are baled and brought to a paper recycling plant to be repurposed. 5. Once payment has been recieved, you will besent a Certificate of Destruction for proof that youtook the secure measures required by law to safeguard sensitive information.
1. From the start, document storageand management takes a bit more time andplanning than document shredding. When you'reready to put your documents in a secure, climate controlled environment, we'llwalk you through each step and even cometo your office or place of business to assess your current situation and helpto tailor a storage plan to fit your needs. 2. Once you're plan is made and you're readyto finally free up all that space your boxesare taking up (and if you don't have boxes,we can supply you with some, free of charge), we'll schedule a time for your storage retrievaltruck to come and retrieve your boxes for storage. 3. When the storage retrieval team arrives, they will perform a box level inventory and barcode each of your boxes. The inventory is made in anexcel spreadsheet and matches the descriptionof the box with the barcode number. The barcodesare scanned as each box is put on the truck to beginthe chain of custody. From here on, eveytime a boxis moved, it's barcode is scanned. These barcodes are also used to track the locationof your boxes in storage in case you need to retrieve either a box or a file from a box, all youneed to do is look at the inventory, see which filesare in which box, and send us the barcode numberfor the box that the files are in. 4. At the time the boxes are barcoded, you willreceive additional barcodes to put on any boxes thatyou comecome across in the future that will need tobe put into storage. You can either add this box to your inventory spreadsheet or we can do it for you! 5. For your convenience, we have RSWeb, an webapplication that you can log into and request that filesbe delivered to you, request to come and access fileshere, or request that certain boxes be destroyed oncetheir retention time is up.
Have you made sure your data is safe? If not, there is a chance it will cost you financially. It could ruin your reputation as well.
In a recent news story, MetLife, headquartered in New York City, whose revenues topped $50 million in 2008, felt the effect of laws involving data storage security. Because they failed to use records management as risk management, they were fined $70,000. Apparently, when they moved from one location to the next, they discarded a lot of trash in the dumpsters outside the office. In it were sensitive records containing social security numbers, addresses and financial account information of people who were current and former clients of MetLife. The hard copy files remained in dumpsters outside the building for well over three days. During this time, anyone could have acquired the information and used it for identity theft.
In North Carolina, a news article from 2010 about Prompt Med spoke of a $50,000 fine, from the urgent care unit having thrown into a dumpster sensitive information including financial accounts and identification numbers of over 700 patients. Records management as risk management would have clearly helped here.
The Carolina Center for Development and Rehabilitation was highlighted in this article for having illegally disposed of the financial information of nearly two thousand patients in 2011. The fine for this was $40,000. The senior officers had plenty of warning about records management as risk management from the above previous incidents, but did not learn from it.
More and more information these days must be secured and companies are having to treat records management as risk management. With the advent of identity theft, any written, electronic, or printed records must be protected if they include personal information about a client. And if the records are to be discarded for any reason, they must be destroyed in a proper fashion, so that the information contained within is kept safe. From this was born the idea of records management as risk management.
Risk management rpocedures are extremely important to implement to prevent Identity theft. Identity theft is any person's personal information being used by another to illegally remove money from bank accounts, acquire loans and passports and commit other crimes. Identity theft is now also known as identity fraud.
There are state and federal laws in place across the country to ensure that the destruction of certain files is done so properly, in order to prevent Identity theft. If proper measures are not take, then the company responsible for not following the precautions can be given some fairly big fines.
In Massachusetts, the laws that aid in the prevention of identity theft are called the General Law 93H and 93I, and are applicable to all companies in the state of Massachusetts secure all data that include personal information, such as bank account numbers, credit and debit card numbers, and the like that have the ability to create identity theft opportunities.
In addition, each company must have safeguards, by the employment of valid identification systems, in order to keep non-authorized personnel from gaining access through computers, or in hard copy files. The company must also keep all locations safe from outside the company. On a regular basis, companies shall be audited to ensure they within compliance. According to the 93I, a company must document the policy of their destruction procedures.
The fines for non-compliance of 93H requires for the company to pay five thousand dollars for each record that was not kept safe. For 93I, the fine is one hundred dollars for each record, with a cap of fifty thousand dollars. These ordinances came into law in 2005.
In addition to state laws, The Federal FACTA Disposal Rule maintains any person or business using consumer reports must make sure all the information within those reports remain completely secure when discarded.
In summary,the risks that someone takes for improper document disposal are inexplicable. Primarily, risks cannot be taken anymore because it is the law to practice safe and secure document disposal, but secondly when there are a multitude of risk management strategies available through document shredding and management companies, how can someone not take advantage of a simple way to reduce risk?
Need to start managing your risk? Or change your strategy? We can help... click on any of the buttons below to be on your way to a risk management solution!
As the memories of our New Year's celebrations begin to fade, all too often so do our memories of our New Year's resolutions. However, no matter how easy it is to slide back into old habits, the New Year is an excellent time to work on making yourself better. The same goes for records management. Now is the perfect time to create a set of resolutions for proper record storage, retrieval, and document shredding. In that spirit, here are our suggestions:
Resolution 1 – We Will Assume All Paper Has Potentially Private Information
No matter how hard you train your employees on NPI procedures, mistakes happen. A document gets mis-filed, or a worker jots down a social security number on scrap paper because their computer locked up. And, document shredding is cheap. If you shred everything when it's no longer needed, you can't risk an NPI violation, and it reduces your storage and retrieval costs too. An added perk is that most reputable shredding companies recycle all of the paper they shred!
Resolution 2 – We Will Remember That Electronic Records Need Management Too
Yes, having everything computerized makes record storage and retrieval easier, but computers also enable poor records management too. Without physical paper around, filing and destruction deadlines can pass unnoticed. Make sure that your electronic records are policed as carefully as your paper documents.
Resolution 3 – We Will Properly Organize and Barcode Everything We Store
A proper barcoding system does wonders for record storage and document retrieval. It makes final retrieval easier, and allows for a simple way to establish the chain of custody for any set of records. When tied to database software, this also allows for automated tracking of when document shredding time has come around for a particular set of records. Most of the time, if you elect to utilize the help and expertise of a records management company, they will usually either aid in, or perform, the barcoding and organization process for you.
Resolution 4 – We Will Start A Review of Our Records Management Today!
There's no time like the present. Even if you're certain that your business is current on its record storage, document shredding, and data retrieval policies, there's no harm in giving a thorough review of your policies to make sure they're being followed but most importantly, make sure that the policies you have in place are not out of date. Older procedures are not optimized to save time or money because they don’t take advantage of the services that have become more available and more attainable over the years. If you're behind on your record-keeping or you think your policies and procedures could use a tune up, now is definitely the time to start!
And if you need help, don't hesitate to contact us here at Safeguard Records Management Co. With over fifteen years of experience in record storage and retrieval, and multiple options for secure document shredding, we can help you become fully organized no matter what field you're in.
As 2011 comes to a close, businesses and offices are wrapping up their yearly doings, taking time to enjoy the holidays with colleagues, and getting ready for the start of the new year. Safeguard is too! Safeguard Records Management has decided to bring TWO exciting new offerings to the table in order better serve our destruction and archive customers.
Our first new offering will allow prospective and current ongoing destruction customers to have choices when it comes to their ongoing destruction bin. We are offering a new, duraflex destruction console in addition to the two convenient sized 35- and 65- gallon bins.This Console has many benefits over our shredding bins for offices looking for a more aesthetically pleasing ongoing destruction solution.
The sleek, clean console with a slit top and locking door allows for the security of a locking bin with the added benefit of looking more like it "belongs". Also, the console stays in place with only the interior insert being emptied rather getting a different bin during every rotation.
If your interested in receiving a shredding console, or switching our your bin for a console, contact Sean Kelly via contact form, phone, or e-mail.
Watch this video in order to get a general idea of what the Compliance Training can do for your office
Our second, most exciting offering that Safeguard has decided to take on and provide to our customers in the healthcare industry is the Doctor's Office Compliance Training Program. This exciting program has been developed by NAID, the National Association for Information Destruction and is applicable to healthcare and dental offices. And the best part... it's free! Yes, FREE! The way NAID gets this compliance training program out to healthcare offices is through certified NAID document destruction providers like Safeguard Records Management.
The program can easily be summarized with the 3 following steps:
Receive the video
Watch & Learn
That's it! Simple and quick and you're compliant, just like that! So what are the benefits of your office completing this compliance training you ask?
The best part about completing the HIPAA compliance training is, primarily, that you are at less risk of a breach of patient information (and yes, there is a but) BUT everyone knows that anything can happen these days and breaches can happen even in the most compliant and secure offices so here is where the training program really gives you a HUGE benefit... even if there is a breach of data or information, YOU ARE NOT HELD FULLY LIABLE BECAUSE YOU TOOK THE NECESSARY STEPS (i.e. the training) IN ORDER TO BE COMPLIANT!
Can it get any better than that? For minimal time and ZERO cost to you, your office can get trained on compliance with the HIPAA regulations for safeguarding healthcare information. With the maximum HIPAA fine going up 6,000% from $25,000 to $1,500,00 you have to ask yourself, can you really afford not to complete this zero cost training? (Click for more information on HIPAA)
2012 is gearing up to be a great year for Safeguard Records Management as we look to expand and improve our services in order to meet and exceed the growing needs of our customers. If you'd like to have Sean Kelly get in touch with you regarding anything you have read, please fill out a Contact Us form and he will respond to your inquiry within a couple of hours. In the mean time, be on the lookout for more information on our shredding consoles and the Doctor's Office Compliance Training Program so you can take advantage of it as soon as the new year rolls in!
Happy Holiday's and Happy New Year from everyone at Safeguard!
Simply put, yes, yes, and YES! Records management might seem more like something a larger company should be concerned about, but even small to mid-sized businesses need to take caution in making sure their records are safe and organized.
Records management for small businesses can range in price and available services, but, if you find a reputable records management company, they can likely give you a customized quote based on the needs and budget of a small business or office. Here are some things to consider first and why records management is so important for all businesses.
Physical or paperless? Record keeping has seen many changes throughout the years and now businesses have the option of going paperless. The term “paperless” is misleading though, because paperless offices will likely still have important physical documents that need to be stored and retained for a certain period of time, some for the life of the business. For what is paperless (i.e.- hard drives, media tapes, etc.), a records management company can keep your digital information safe and secure.
While physical record keeping will likely always be necessary, record keeping without organization can lead to wasted time and money. This is where a reputable records management company can really do wonders for your small (or large!) business.
Organization and archiving It might sound a little cheesy, but; an organized office is a happy office. There is less frustration and stress because everything is where it needs to be and can be found easily--a records management system does just that, even for a smaller business.
Businesses who cannot rely on dozens of employees to keep them organized need to rely on a system that can keep them constantly updated and archive their important records and information. Sometimes, smaller businesses have a bad habit of archiving and saving everything. While a good precaution, this can turn chaotic.
A records management company can help any business make sure all important documents are properly archived and organized and that unnecessary documents are shredded at the end of their retention time. And all this can be done on just about any budget.
Protection and prevention An added benefit of having a records management company is that your documents likely be better protected from naturally occurring disasters, security compromises, and other bad scenarios. A records management company can help protect records from:
Fire, flood, earthquake, or other natural disasters at your office location
Physical Security breaches
Security breaches from an online attack
Even small businesses are liable for the damage that can be done from disaster and security breaches. Every company, whether it is three employees or three thousand, needs to take steps to ensure all information secure and protected.
Final notes All in all, records management isn't just for the big guys in business. Smaller businesses can benefit from companies like Safeguard Records Management because of the specialization it affords to them.
Here's a recap:
Implementing records management means small businesses will save money in the long run.
Everything will be properly archived and easily accessible, saving time and money.
Offsite services can protect and organize your records, letting you manage your business hassle-free.
More work can be done in the time saved and there will be better efficiency in day-to-day tasks.
Don't fall behind simply because of improper record keeping. All types of businesses benefit from properly managed records and having it done properly by professionals, no matter how large or small.
Consider it a requirement for all businesses to run smoothly and provide the best service they can to their customers without worrying about their files being where it they need to be. That only reflects poorly on the business, and no business should look unprofessional because of something that can be simply (and cheaply) fixed.
If it's the end of the year/fiscal year for your office or business or you have been trying to get your paper documents organized for the past couple of year and you still have a backlog of documents and files that require cataloguing or destruction, we might be able to give you that boost of help to get your on your way to completing your records management project.
Having all of your important documents organized is essential to keeping your firm or office on-track and efficient, but the actual organization process can be tedious and painstaking. Still, it is important to keep an accurate record of your documents and to find out which documents you can safely dispose of.
An easy way to approach your end-of-the year document organization is to label your files and documents in 1 of 3 ways;
For “Off-Site Storage”
For “In-House Storage”
Having documents, records, patient files, and financial information organized and accounted for boosts an offices productivity and capacity. You know you need to tackle the issue, but how can you do it efficiently and at a minimal cost?
Below are four tips that can make your end-of-year document organization easier to deal with. These four tips can be done with the cooperation of a certified document shredding and storage company, allowing your firm, business, or office (and your life!) to operate as efficiently as possible with minimum interruptions.
Carefully classify and index documents. Before you can relocate or destroy documents, you’ll have to know what you’re dealing with. Indexing documents into the above three categories not only helps you find out exactly what documents your firm or office has but also lets you determine which documents you can safely destroy, which ones need to go into off-site storage, and which ones need to be kept on-site. Document indexing and classification also helps save you time in the future by allowing you to find the documents you need quickly and without struggle. You will also be putting in place a system that can easily be followed for years to come.
Digitize physical documents. Document digitization for use in a computer repository helps improve access and availability to important documents. Not only does this make it quicker to find what you need for legal and auditing purposes, you may be able to reduce the amount of physical paperwork you need to keep in the office and move the hard-copy records to an off-site storage facility or even have them securely destroyed if they are not needed.
Package documents for off-site storage. Off-site storage with a Records Management company frees up extra space for in-house document storage of frequently used and referred to documents and it saves you money and time when compared to self-storage where you often pay for unused space.Once you’ve segregated documents for off-site storage from sensitive material that requires destruction and materials that should be kept in the office, be sure to carefully pack and clearly label these items for future reference. Labeling is important for quickly locating stored documents for when you need to access your documents. It also aids in prompt file retrieval by your records management companies’ warehouse staff. A simple alphabetical labeling system on numbered boxes can greatly reduce the time it takes to find any document you may need and makes adding additional files to your storage boxes in the future quick and easy.
Securely shred and destroy sensitive documents. Now that you’ve gotten your necessary documents stored away, you can focus on having the rest destroyed. It is highly recommended to call on the services of a certified document shredding company to destroy sensitive and private documents. Doing so will prevent instances of confidentiality violations and industrial espionage.
Once you are able to implement an efficient system for your records management, any future managing will simply become easier and easier.
Click on any of the following to get a jump start on your end-of-year organization and be provided with a complete and economical solution for all of your document organization needs
Records management may be the most important business service that you've never heard of. In an era of increasing identify theft and more stringent regulations, however, it's time to get the facts on this important industry.
If your company handles or stores customer information like names, addresses, medical records, Social Security or bank account numbers, then finding a safe, secure way to both manage and dispose your office's paperwork isn't optional—it's mandated by law. Depending on your industry, your business may be subject to federal laws like HIPAA or the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, but state regulations often also apply. Some regs, like Massachusetts General Laws 93H and 93I, require companies to have written procedures that outline how paper and electronic files are secured on a day-to-day basis, as well as how they will be destroyed once they are no longer needed. When companies fail to meet these basic standards, they can be subject to prosecution and end up paying significant fines—sometimes per record.
Here's where a Records Management System (RMS) comes in. These services come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but their purpose is essentially the same: to help companies manage their paper and electronic records in such a way that sensitive information is secured and properly stored, and remains accessible if needed in the future. A typical Records Management vendor will offer some (if not all) of the following services:
Site analysis and compliance documentation
Secure, off-site record storage for paper files
Online access to storage inventory
Scheduled document destruction services, one-time or ongoing
Document imaging for digital storage and retrieval
Disaster recovery planning
Of course, not all Records Management vendors are created equal. There are any number of companies to choose from—not all of whom can handle the job successfully. Take the time to evaluate each vendor carefully, and consider the following:
NAID Certification The National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) offers training and certification for Records Management professionals. Records Management vendors with this credential have completed extensive training and have pledged to follow the standards and ethical practices of the NAID organization.
Compliance A reputable Records Management vendor should know immediately what procedures your business needs to follow to be in compliance with federal and state laws. Educate yourself ahead of time regarding your particular industry so that you know whether their recommendations are on-target.
Security Issues Learn how the vendor you are considering secures its own facilities. Ask what safeguards are in place for physical files, as well as digitally stored information. Be sure that the company has a definite policy regarding employee background checks. Every employee, but especially those with direct contact with sensitive information, should be thoroughly checked before gaining access to your company's files.
Customer Service The Records Management vendor you choose should provide evidence of their commitment to customer service. Consider how responsive and flexible the vendor has been during the sales process: Were they easy to reach? Able to offer scalable solutions to your particular company? Was their pricing competitive? Next, ask for references and determine whether or not existing customers are satisfied with their level of service. Finally, determine what procedures are in place to ensure that the vendor is accessible when needed. 24/7 online access to your records is an absolute requirement.
A reputable, service-oriented Records Management vendor will lower your company's risk exposure, reduce document storage costs and allow you to focus on growing your business. Take the time to evaluate your current and future records management needs—and then find the vendor who is right for the job.
It's that time of year again. Time for carving pumpkins, getting out your spookiest decorations and stocking up on candy for the hoards of kids who will soon be roaming the neighborhood.
Halloween has changed a lot over the years. Although it's hard to imagine these days, Halloween or All Hallow's Eve, was not a popular holiday among the early Protestants living in the New England Colonies. It was considered too connected to the religious trappings of the Old World to garner much interest or support. Over time, however, as more and more immigrants brought their All Hallow's Eve traditions with them to their new homeland, the lure of parties, games and costumes proved irresistible, even to our stoic New England ancestors. The holiday we know as Halloween eventually took hold and prospered.
Just as holiday traditions change, so do the rules of how we conduct business. In Massachusetts, companies are subject to a variety of both state and federal laws that mandate how customer information is handled. While business records management used to be something left to the discretion of the individual company, serious concerns about data security and the rise in identify theft have necessitated a more formal approach. It's no longer sufficient, wise or even legal to leave sensitive customer documents lying around the office. It's now a requirement to have a clear, systematic process in place to maintain and manage this type of information.
While federal laws like FACTA, HIPAA and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act pertain to specific industries, Massachusetts General Laws 93H and 93I apply to companies across the board. Under 93H, any business in Massachusetts that retains an individual's name, Social Security number, driver's license number or financial account number (such as a debit or credit card) must have a written plan outlining their data/document security procedures and conduct regular audits to ensure that the procedures are being followed. 93I requires that both documents and electronic files containing sensitive information be destroyed according to a set plan and schedule. Failure to comply with either regulation can cost companies thousands of dollars—per mismanaged record.
Overwhelmed yet? Don't be. At Safeguard Records Management, we've created a business records management system that will ensure that your company stays in compliance with all federal and state laws requirements. We use the latest technology to maintain, track and secure your sensitive files, and will work with you to develop a customized solution for your unique set of data security needs. We offer a range of services to help businesses manage not only the daily record-keeping process, but the storage and destruction of old company files as well.
Safeguard Records Management prides itself on its comprehensive business records management system and its ongoing commitment to customer service. Contact us today to learn more about how we can provide your company with a safe, reliable, and economical solution to your data security and storage needs.
Massachusetts General Law 93H 93H requires all businesses in Massachusetts to take serious measures to prevent identity theft. Any business holding the name of a Massachusetts resident and their Social Security Number, Driver’s License Number, or financial account number (including credit or debit card numbers) is subject to this new Massachusetts data protection law.
What are you required to do?
Among the compliance standards for this new data protection law include the following:
A written comprehensive information security program (CISP).
Controls on employees’ access of sensitive information, including physical security safeguards, computer user access levels and user authentication protocols.
Security measures on computer information systems, including data encryption, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and firewalls.
Periodic review of audit trails and monitoring of systems for unauthorized access. Proper disposal of sensitive information, as outlined in new Massachusetts data protection laws. Massachusetts General Law 93I.
93I requires the shredding or destruction of any paper files containing sensitive information and the erasure or destruction of any electronic files or data storage devices containing personal information of employees or customers.
93I also requires a written policy regarding the disposal of sensitive information.
What are the penalties?
A violation of 93H levies fines of up to $5000 per record compromised.
A violation of 93I levies fines of up to $100 per record compromised with a maximum of $50,000.
This does not take into consideration the loss of your company’s hard-earned reputation and the potential loss of credit.