Off-site digital file storage typically comes in two forms: offline and online. You may choose one over the other or a combination of both to meet your records-management needs. In order to make the most informed decision, however, there are a few considerations to keep in mind to help ensure the proper protection and preservation of your digital records.
Physical Storage (Offline)
A physical storage facility can house offline data. Off-site digital file storage can consist of removable media, such as hard drives and optical discs. Security, location, space and room conditions are important considerations when selecting a storage facility for your company records.
Security is a critical component of off-site digital file storage. Develop a list of people who have authorized access to the facility. Other security precautions can include facility alarm systems or security-code keypads to deter unauthorized access.
Additionally, make sure the facility maintains proper temperature control, particularly if you're located somewhere that typically has high humidity. According to Minnesota Historical Society, a room temperature between 60 and 69 degree Fahrenheit is ideal for storing electronic records on digital media. Further, storage rooms should have relative humidity between 35 and 45 percent.
It's important your internal policy on records management and handling aligns well with the storage service, so be sure to update your employee handbook prior to choosing a facility.
Cloud Storage (Online)
Businesses typically choose cloud-storage solutions through a third-party vendor in order to access company files online via the internet. Due diligence is necessary when deciding on a vendor to store your company data and information. Confidential or proprietary information that is vital to the success of your company requires careful consideration before storing data on the cloud.
Make sure the vendor meets government-pertinent regulations to your industry. For example, any business that deals with health care records and patient information must contend with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The vendor you choose should be HIPAA certified.
You will need to consider data access, backup procedures, records identification and inventory management when storing files offline or online. It's important to note that although an off-site solution may seem secure, mishaps can happen. To be proactive, make duplicates of your information and store it in two locations. For example, put one copy on a hard drive and one copy on the cloud.
A disaster-recovery plan is also essential. Proper training may be necessary to support certain efforts, such as backup maintenance and recovery procedures.
Overall, once you know what your business needs to protect and preserve digital files, you will be on your way to finding an off-site digital file storage solution that best meets your business's needs.
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