In the fast-paced business world, information flows in many directions at lightning speed. This reality has made data security increasingly important, requiring a sea change in the way companies handle their documents. At Armstrong Archives, we’re here to help you navigate the transition into the digital age while still maintaining your essential paper files. We have decades of experience in the safe storage, scanning, and shredding of our clients’ important documents. 

Many organizations find it a challenge to differentiate between documents to keep or shred, to know when to shred documents, etc. If your company is among them, you know how frustrating this can be.  But don’t worry, Armstrong Archives can help. 

Often, our clients come to us with two concerns:

Traditional vs. digital: Even in the digital age, physical documents remain. This creates the challenge of how to bridge the gap between paper and digital records and what this transition should look like.

What paperwork do I need to keep: How do you know which documents to keep or shred? The decisions you make have financial, operational, and security implications. When you work with Armstrong Archives, you have a partner to help you with these decisions.

At Armstrong Archives, we know the complexities of document management, and that’s why our services extend well beyond traditional document storage. We are a premier provider of complete records management services. Keep reading to learn more about document management, when to shred documents, and the cost implications of scanning and shredding important documents versus storing them.  

Evaluating Your Needs for Document Management

Effective document management is a critical component of any business.  If you’ve got a bunch of old documents that you never reference, how do you know what paperwork to keep?  

The Importance of Secure Document Storage

There are many important reasons why businesses need to retain old records, documents, and files. Here are some examples:

Ensure Business continuity: Proper document storage ensures that important records are accessible when needed. These might include legal documents, financial records, or client information. The long-term sustainability of your business can suffer if you are not prepared in this area.

Prevent Data breaches: Cyber attacks are becoming more commonplace and not adequately protecting sensitive information can result in data breaches. This can seriously harm your company’s reputation and lead to financial losses.

Stop Physical Damage: Physical documents are also prone to loss or damage due to factors like natural disasters, accidents, or negligence. Losing important documents and records can be a crippling blow to any organization. 

Block unauthorized access to paper documents: If your company doesn’t keep tabs on its documents, they can fall into the wrong hands. Sensitive data leaks can lead to identity theft, fraud, or corporate espionage.

Prevent Compliance Failures:  Every industry is different, and so are the specific regulations mandating document retention. If your company doesn’t meet compliance requirements, your business may be at risk of lawsuits, fines, or both.  

Industry-Specific Records Regulations

Various industries have rules concerning the handling, protection, and destruction of certain records. Many have strict document retention policies in place as well. Here are a few examples:

Aviation industry: Passenger safety is paramount in aviation and to maintain high standards, frequent, detailed inspections are required. Aircraft maintenance and inspection reports are often done on paper, therefore this sector is heavily reliant on physical document storage to ensure compliance. The FAA mandates the retention of aircraft maintenance records, often in paper format for at least one year. 

Financial services: Institutions in the financial industry also have to abide by strict regulations, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Section 802 of the act details which records must be retained for a minimum of seven years.

Healthcare: The handling and retention of patient records by entities in the healthcare industry is heavily regulated by state and federal regulations such as HIPAA.  Many medical offices have switched to electronic records but some still use paper records.

State-Specific Regulations

Depending on where you live in the U.S. and your type of business, state-specific regulations can influence your document management decisions. For example, Texas Administrative Code requires that patient medical records be retained for a period of at least seven years from the last date of treatment.

Here are some additional sources for Texas records retention regulations:

Texas Attorney General – Records Retention for State Agencies, Local Governments and Public Universities 

Texas Administrative Code – Records Retention Rules

Texas Workforce Commission – General Recordkeeping Requirements for employers 

Armstrong Archives: Specialized Document Storage Solutions

At Armstrong Archives, we offer specialized document storage solutions to meet the diverse needs of businesses and organizations like yours. Our stringent access management ensures that your records remain confidential and secure. You’ll never have to worry about certain documents falling into the wrong hands or being seen by the wrong eyes. When you need them, just call us and we will have your files ready for you to use in our comfortable viewing room. Or if you prefer, we can deliver them to your workplace within just a few hours.  

But what if you can’t wait a few hours, and you don’t want to come to us?  No worries.  We have a solution for that.  Keep reading to learn more about document scanning and our scan-on-demand solution

Benefits of Scanning Documents

Electronic document storage is now much more than just a trend; it’s a strategic move. Armstrong Archives offers comprehensive document scanning services that can revolutionize the way you manage your records. 

The rise and growth of e-operations have changed industries across the spectrum. It doesn’t matter if you’re in healthcare, finance, legal, or any other field; the benefits of professional document scanning are tough to ignore.

Streamlined access: Going digital gives you instant access to your documents, regardless of where you’re located. Say goodbye to rifling through stacks of paper; your files will be just a few clicks away.

Increased security: You can protect your digital documents with encryption and access controls. This lowers your chances of any unauthorized access and data breaches from cybercriminals.

Higher efficiency: Indexing and searching for documents is a chore no one likes to do. You’ll never have to worry about spending minutes or hours to find a document again.

Reduced environmental footprint: Going paperless also means you’ll be saving trees and reducing the energy and water consumption that’s related to paper production. It’s an eco-friendly solution that aligns with sustainable business practices.

Space optimization: One of the best things about digital files is that they take up virtually no physical space. You can take back control of your office real estate that’s been plagued by storing paper and put it to more productive use.

Armstrong Archives: Your Scanning Solution

At Armstrong Archives, we offer tailored solutions to your company’s specific needs. 

We offer two scanning solutions:

  1. Service bureau solution: Our team takes care of every step in document scanning. We’ll take ownership of the entire scanning process, from collection to high-resolution scanning, metadata tagging, and OCR (Optical Character Recognition). Your vital documents will be scanned, indexed, and securely stored for easy web access. We can also provide your digitized documents on CD or DVD. You can rest assured that all of your documents will be professionally digitized, with a focus on accuracy and quality.
  1. Scan on demand solution: If you don’t need a complete conversion to digital records, we offer an alternative solution.  We can store your documents in our secure warehouse and then scan documents only as you need them. Once digitized, you can access them online or have them saved on CD, DVD, or Flash drive. Scan-on-demand offers an affordable way to enjoy the benefits of digital access without the expense of a complete conversion to digital documents.

So what happens to the documents once they have been scanned? Is scan and shred the best protocol? Any files that contain sensitive information must be securely destroyed, which often takes the form of professional document shredding. 

Why Shredding Documents is Essential

Why should you shred documents? Documents are shredded to prevent the information they contain from falling into the wrong hands. 

Because of catastrophic and costly data breaches, Federal laws including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Gramm-Leach Bliley Act, and HIPAA, require that certain categories of information be protected from unauthorized access and use.  Identity theft costs its victims tens of billions of dollars each year when bad actors steal private information and use it to open credit accounts, raid bank accounts, and commit other types of fraud. 

For these reasons, when they are no longer needed, documents that contain information such as proprietary company or client data, financial or credit card information, protected personal information, HIPAA-protected information, and the like must be shredded securely. 

Secure shredding involves cutting documents into small pieces that cannot be pieced together. Armstrong Archives provides secure document shredding and disposal as well as safe destruction of electronic and magnetic storage devices such as tapes, USB drives, hard drives, etc.

When you choose to outsource document shredding to Armstrong Archives, you can rest assured that you’re working with a company that follows a security chain of custody. You’ll get certificates of destruction for every batch of documents. At Armstrong Archives, we ensure compliance, and you can trust that your documents are in safe hands. 

The Cost Implications of Document Management

One of the biggest considerations with document management is the financial aspect. The choices you make about storing, scanning, and shredding documents can have an impact on your budget. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and potential costs associated with each service.

Storing Documents

Benefits: Storing documents gives your company a sense of security and fairly quick access.

Costs: The expense of physical storage can add up over time, and extended storage can boost the risk of collecting unnecessary records. If you have a lot of records and need immediate access, you may want to consider conversion scanning.

Scanning Documents

Benefits: Scanning offers improved accessibility, searchability, and reduces storage needs.

Costs: Purchasing your own scanning equipment is a huge expense. Outsourced scanning can be more cost effective than long term storage, depending on how many documents you have to scan and how frequently you must access them. 

Shredding Documents

Benefits: Shredding safeguards data and ensures compliance while also preventing breaches and fines.

Costs: Shredding costs are reasonable. Not shredding sensitive data can result in substantial losses due to security breaches or fines.

Making Informed Choices in Document Management

So given all these variables, how can a company with thousands of records determine which documents to keep, scan, or shred? Consider the following questions when making your decisions:

  1. Which documents are truly important to your operations, compliance, or legal requirements? These will be documents you will want to keep.
  1. How often are these documents accessed or modified? Are they actively in use on a daily basis, or are they rarely touched? Scanning is likely a good choice for documents that will be used relatively frequently. 
  1. When do these documents become obsolete? You need to identify at what point they’re no longer needed. Documents that must be retained but are infrequently (if ever) needed can be kept in storage and then shredded when no longer needed.

The good news is, when you select a highly experienced, respected document management company, you won’t have to make these decisions on your own.  An experienced records management provider will review your inventory of documents to store, discuss your usage patterns, explain storage and scanning options, and help you determine which combination of services will cost effectively meet your needs. 

At Armstrong Archives, we understand that making keep, scan or shred decisions isn’t always straightforward. That’s why our records management experts can help you determine the most cost-effective approach. We can conduct a cost/benefit analysis to find the perfect combination of services to meet your specific needs, ensuring that you save money and resources while maintaining the security and accessibility of your documents.

Selecting the Right Records Management Provider

As you’re choosing a records management vendor, keep these factors in mind:

Expertise: Your vendor should have the experience and expertise to handle all of your document types.

Security: As you’re figuring out which documents to keep or shred, verify the vendor’s security protocols to protect your sensitive information.

Technology: Ensure your vendor uses the latest scanning equipment to ensure the highest quality digital files.

Compliance: Lastly, make sure the vendor understands your industry and the regulations surrounding document scanning and retention.

Choosing the right records management partner is a necessity in today’s digital age to make the right choices for your company.  At Armstrong Archives, we know more than anyone how important it is to manage records efficiently. Our mission is to provide the Dallas-Fort Worth community with secure, compliant, and convenient solutions. With decades of experience and expertise in the industry, you can trust us as your partner in ensuring the safety and accessibility of your records.

Contact Armstrong Archives today for a solution that will improve your security, ensure your compliance, and give you greater peace of mind. Your documents deserve the best, and we’re here to bridge that gap.

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