> From: Nolene Sherman <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Saturday, February 4, 2012 9:52 PM
> Subject: [RM] Offsite Records Storage
> Our newly minted records management policy requires that inactive records are stored with dedicated records management vendors. The intent behind this was to prohibit the use of public storage units, basements, Joe-who-has-extra-office-space-down-the-street, and other non-secure storage locations.
One thing you could do to be smarter than 90% of the companies out there, demand that the contract end at the term you set in the contract. Require that at the end of the contract that you can request your boxes be returned to you without an onerous Permanent Out Fee. Set a reasonable fee that is equivalent to the normal pulling of a box. Companies that are unethical are out there offering really competitive prices for that first year or first three years. But at the end of the contract term, they have a Permanent Out fee that is $10.00 to $30.00 per box.
So when you get a bill one month for re-boxing 500 boxes at $9.00 per box ($4,500.00) and this eats away the whole discount over your Number 2 bid provider (And you feel like a fool for choosing this company!) And you decide enough of this and so you end the contract at the end of the year.Then you are told that your boxes will only be released when you pay the onerous permanent removal fee. (Nolene I know, you know this, but for general knowledge on contracts.)
Also if there is any media in your mix, check to make sure their media vault is NFPA 232 compliant. That means the vault must be able to protect computer media, ask for their Certification or UL Label to be able to provide Class 125 Fire Protection. Also, will the vault provide the proper ISO requirements for the media with regard to temperature and humidity control. Microfilm, Xrays, computer tape, audio recordings and so on require specific temperature and humidity control. If they only provide a chart recorder on temperature, but no humidistat recorder, then you can be pretty sure they don't control humidity. Proper environmental control increases lifespan by a factor of three. Also check that all of the vault walls are independent of the warehouse or building structure as required by code.
And this is new, some companies are trying to enforce a Permanent Removal on computer media. Since this is rotational media and vital for back up, holding it hostage could crash your company. I just heard of a $1 million attempt at a hostage fee.
A Service Level Agreement should be part of your contract and if the vendor is failing to meet the delivery terms, then that is pre-defined as breach of contract and all removal fees are waived if they fail to honor their prescribed terms. An example of this, the vendor over time had moved the clients records around to six different warehouse in three states (for the storage companies logistics convenience) but when the records were needed for an audit, it took weeks to bring all the records back. So a clause stipulating what warehouses you allow your records to be stored in could be important.
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