On Feb 1, 2008 8:57 AM, Seibolt, Robert <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Good Morning. I have been asked by a records manager not on the listserv
> to pose the question of what is the avg. ballpark figure people are
> currently using to justify storing records offsite in a commercial
> records center vs. onsite in an office space. This manager works for a
> company with offices in all 50 states and includes space they own
> outright and space they lease.
"Cost" can be defined by many variables, it's not just the bottom line.
To properly assess this, an organization needs to analyze not only the
volume of records in storage, but the frequency of access, the criticality
of having access to the information in a timely manner, the risks associated
with 3rd party management of information assets, the cost to prepare for
transfer and ingestion into another indexing system, and other factors.
The benefits may be equally as complex to assess, because it's not just the
avoidance of direct labor and space costs (which typically are not offset by
the new monthly charges for storage and service).
There's a culture change to doing business in this manner, and larger
question that should be asked is "are we doing an effective job of managing
our information assets now?" To simply box everything and send it off
without determining if you're retaining information you can legitimately
dispose of, or that serves no business need to retain beyond required time
frames makes little if any sense.
One suggestion I would make is purchasing a copy of the ARMA Guideline for
Evaluating Offsite Storage Facilities
includes an extensive checklist to use for how records are currently stored
and determining what vendor/s are able to provide services in facilities
constructed to meet existing Standards, such as NFPA232. Knowingly moving
your records from an office space that provides adequate protection
(security, access controls, fire safety, environment, etc) to storing them
in one that may not offer the same protections isn't always a good "bottom
A caveat here: I am the Chair of the ARMA Standards Development Committee
and was one of the Project Managers responsible for the content in this
Guideline, and I'm also a Principal Member of the NFPA232 Technical
Committee, responsible for the care, feeding and development of the
"Standard for the Protection of Records".
RIM Professional since 1972
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