While much progress has been made in the push to create a paperless business environment, there is still quite a distance to cover and many challenges to overcome before we can completely remove the need to create, manage, store, and dispose of paper documents in the business world.
That means that you, as a business owner, will eventually face the question of where and how to safely store the paperwork generated by your business and how to dispose of paper documents that you no longer need.
In general, secure document shredding is the most effective and efficient method for managing business paperwork. There are several key reasons for shredding your business documents. We will review some of the most important issues and discuss the benefits of using a professional document shredding and storage service for your business document storage and disposal needs.
Protect Sensitive Customer Data
From invoices to client contact sheets, your business will likely accumulate a large amount of paperwork containing sensitive client or customer data. As a business owner, you are responsible for keeping your customer's sensitive information safe from bad actors, prying eyes, or unauthorized use. Earning and maintaining the trust of your business clients and customers is crucial to your business's present and future success. Just one leak or data breach that exposes customer data and causes financial or reputational damage to your customers could easily wind up causing significant losses for your business in terms of lost customers, poor reviews, and lawsuits.
Professional document shredding and storage is well worth the nominal cost compared to the scope of losses that are possible should documents containing sensitive customer data fall into the wrong hands.
Protect Employee Information
The recruiting, hiring, onboarding, management, and termination of employees and staff produce massive amounts of physical paperwork containing sensitive information that could be damaging to the individual employee or the company if it were to fall into the wrong hands.
As an employer, you are obligated to take adequate measures to safeguard your employee's sensitive data, from the address and background data contained in their application and employee file to the results of testing, individual compensation, or disciplinary reports.
If leaked or viewed by unauthorized users, the sensitive data in employee files and employment documents can result in financial, personal, and reputational damage for the individual and financial and operational costs for the business itself.
By using a third-party document shredding and storage service, you can ensure that employee data remains private and is not inadvertently, purposefully viewed, or misused by unauthorized staff members or bad actors.
Protect Business Secrets
Regardless of the size and scope of your business, you are bound to generate physical documents that contain proprietary information, trade secrets, and other private business operational and financial information, which could be damaging to your company's reputation, market dominance, or profits if it were to fall into the hands of competitors.
In today's highly competitive business market environment, there is a large appetite and, therefore, a bustling underground market for sensitive business information that could allow a competitor to seize an advantage in the industry.
Ensure Compliance With Security Regulations
With the ever-increasing rise of data breaches, cyber security attacks, fraud, and identity theft causing total losses in the millions, and in some cases even billions of dollars, both local and Federal government agencies have popped up with an ever-evolving list of rules and regulations in an attempt to protect consumer data privacy and security.
As a business owner, you are both ethically and often legally obligated to take all measures possible to protect the sensitive data of your customers and your staff. This means that you could be fined or face even greater consequences should your customers or staff suffer a significant loss due to your lack of adequate security protocols.
The storage and disposal of paper documents often present one of the greatest compliance risks for business owners, as it can be incredibly difficult to control access to sensitive data in paper form when a wide variety of employees and staff must consistently view and handle paper documents during such routine work as filing, storing, and disseminating, and disposing of stored paperwork.
Employing a third-party document shredding and storage service will help to ensure that your business is able to maintain compliance with even the strictest local and Federal data privacy regulations. A professional document shredding and storage company, like ALFA, takes the hassle of compliance and the risk of liability off of your hands by providing ultra-secure data storage centers and document shredding services by professional staff at an offsite shredding facility. This helps to limit the number of unauthorized personnel at your facility who are required to access and handle secure documents. Most professional document shredding services will be happy to provide you with an official Certificate of Disposal for added peace of mind.
Improve Employee Productivity
When your staff is spending their valuable time sorting through stored documents and shredding outdated or expired paperwork, they are not operating at their most productive. By employing a third-party document shredding and storage company, you free up your staff to perform the truly productive tasks that help to grow your business and improve your bottom line. Additionally, when staff is able to perform the high-level challenging tasks that better match their unique skill sets, rather than being relegated to being human paper shredders, the end result is happier team members and less staff turnover for your business.
Provide A Safe & Healthy Work Environment
When it comes to the storage and disposal of paperwork, people often fail to consider the health and safety risks posed by storing large amounts of paper documents.
For starters, paper is a major dust collector. When dust builds up and becomes trapped in paper files and cardboard boxes, it can cause allergic responses and health problems for sensitive individuals. Even those without dust allergies can develop respiratory issues if exposed to a dusty environment for long periods of time.
On the flip side of that coin, when paper products are stored in a damp or humid climate, they are prone to developing mold and mildew. Mold spores and mildew can be even more problematic than dust when it comes to health problems. People who are exposed to mold or mildew may develop respiratory problems, headaches, and even neurological problems after just a short period of exposure. Worse yet, these symptoms become worse the longer the exposure continues and can become life-threatening in time.
If the risk of illness is not enough, any time that you are storing massive amounts of paper and cardboard in one place, you are increasing your risk of a fire. Paper products are the perfect fuel for a fire, and having stored paper documents in cardboard boxes provides the perfect environment for even a small spark to turn into a large blaze.
Finally, there is the mental health component. People generally report feeling more stressed and anxious in cluttered or crowded environments than in clean, tidy areas. Since we already know that happy employees are productive employees, it makes sense to try to keep the clutter to a minimum.
Free Up Valuable Real Estate
Real estate is at a premium. It is often difficult to locate an affordable property that is large enough to operate your business today and provide the space for your production to expand as your business grows in the future. It is still harder to find a space large enough to operate your business in an efficient and productive manner while carving out a space to securely and safely store all of your business documents as well.
Oftentimes, storing paper documents can mean dedicating an entire room to document storage, installing shelving, locks, and the required fire safety devices, or alternatively, renting an offsite storage unit. Regardless of the option you choose, you will be paying for valuable real estate space that will be dedicated to storing paperwork.
When you partner with a third-party document shredding and storage service, you are able to free up the floor space that would have been utilized to store paper documents and reallocate this vital real estate for a far more productive purpose. Real estate is expensive; you should be using every square foot in a way that generates more profit for your business.
Improve Your Bottom Line
One of the most vital considerations for any small business is how its existing operating procedures impact its bottom line. While it may seem that document storage and disposal are low on the list of expenses, both can result in significant direct and indirect expenses.
Take the aforementioned real estate cost as one example of the substantial financial burden incurred by storing documents long-term at your facility or an offsite storage unit. Square footage is expensive, whether it is in your facility or a rented facility. Take a moment to think about how much square footage you currently have allocated to the storage and disposal of paper documents, including cardboard storage boxes, shelving, and any access control or document disposal systems. How much could you improve your bottom line if you were to be able to rededicate this space to more productive uses like increased production or assembly space or more elbow room for staff to spread out and perform their work in a more organized way?
Speaking of staff. Let's take a moment to discuss how the cost of labor factors into your business's bottom line. Labor costs are some of the highest expenses faced by most businesses. It takes a tidy amount of money to recruit, hire, train, and retain the type of high-quality, skilled team members that are vital to helping your business grow and expand in the future. Now think about the amount of time that those highly-trained and talented team members spend lugging cardboard boxes of paperwork around your facility, shuffling through overstuffed file cabinets to locate a critical document, and simply performing the mind-numbing task of sitting or standing at a document shredder feeding in pages of documents to be destroyed. We are willing to bet that you would much rather see the dollars that you have invested in finding and retaining high-quality talent paying off in a far greater return on investment than you are getting from using your skilled labor as human document shredders. On the flip side, your staff and employees will be much happier and far more satisfied with their work environment if they are allowed to spend their days performing the sort of challenging and stimulating work that they were trained to handle. In the long run, the cost of using your valuable staff member to perform the tasks associated with document management, storage, and disposal can have a significant negative impact on your bottom line in terms of employee satisfaction and increased turnover, not to mention the lost return on investment that comes from not using your staff' expertise and talent to its fullest potential.
Document Management, Storage, And Disposal Solutions
So now we have discussed all of the issues that business owners face when it comes to managing, storing, and disposing of mountains of business paperwork; let's take a look at the solutions.
Document Management Software
While we haven't reached a fully paperless business society yet, we are well on our way. ALFA's document management software can help your business greatly reduce the volume of paperwork that it produces, creating a solution to the document storage and disposal problem right at the source. Our document management software will allow you to send, receive, track, manage and store documents in a digital format that reduces the amount of paper generated in the regular course of business.
What's more, a document management system gives you and your management team a much greater degree of control over who has access to sensitive or proprietary information as it moves through the various channels of a typical workflow scenario. This helps you ensure the greatest information security by tracking and reporting when a particular document is opened, altered, deleted, or moved and by whom. Administrators can set permissions at the file or folder level that allow them to dictate who has access to a particular file and what level of access they are able to exercise. These permissions can be adjusted at the click of a mouse, allowing you to fine-tune your document security.
Realize even greater savings when you connect your document management software to one of ALFA's smart multi-purpose printers, so you are able to automatically route print jobs to the most appropriate printer and track individual printing tasks to ensure that unnecessary duplicate printing is kept to a minimum.
Document Shredding And Storage Services
ALFA provides a full slate of secure, efficient, and cost-effective document management solutions, as well as document shredding and storage services to help you maintain, store, and dispose of your business documents and sensitive data.
ALFA can provide secure document storage containers delivered right to your facility. Simply have staff deposit documents into secure, tamper-proof containers for disposal. Set up a regular schedule for disposal, or call us for a pick-up when the document disposal container is full. We will transport the document disposal container to our secure shredding facility and provide you with an official certificate of disposal to ensure compliance with local and Federal document security and privacy regulations. We provide on-site shredding and/or secure containers to allow your staff to easily deposit your important information.
This is a massive improvement over the traditional data storage method involving over-stuffed, dusty banker boxes, file cabinets, paper shredders, and trash bags full of shredded paper to haul away. ALFA offers flexible document shredding and storage services to meet the unique needs of businesses of all types and sizes.
Contact ALFA Today!
Are you a small business owner struggling to deal with the challenges of providing secure storage and safe disposal of sensitive business documents? Contact ALFA today to learn how we can help you manage these tasks and much more. ALFA is a full-service digital marketing agency providing a wide range of small business solutions to businesses just like yours. Our team of experts is ready to help you manage and grow your business whether you need upgraded business equipment, VoIP phone services, digital marketing services, Document management software, or document shredding and storage services.
Reach out to us today, or visit us on the web to see how we can help take these tasks and more off of your to-do list so you can spend your time doing the important work of growing and expanding your business. Give us a call today! We can't wait to learn all about your business and show you what we can do for you!