Although the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) focus has mostly been on online data, storing documents on paper must also follow some rules, it is crucial that businesses pay attention on how to store it and where to store it.
When confidential information is on paper there are some aspects that needs to be considered, firstly, as soon as it’s no longer essential to keep it you should shred it properly, secondly, the records that you are required to keep must be stored in a relevant filing system.
“Relevant filing system means any set of information relating to individuals to the extent that, although the information is not processed by means of equipment operating automatically in response to instructions given for that purpose, the set is structured, either by reference to individuals or by reference to criteria relating to individuals, in such a way that specific information relating to a particular individual is readily accessible (Source)”
For example, the Revenue establishes that business should keep financial records for six years. The length you should keep the documents will vary according to the information it contains, but it can be up to seven years. This guideline explains how to store the information properly, but where to keep it is also important to consider, below are some guidelines to help you buying the right storage system for your business:
Quality and Practicality
Paper records are susceptible to water or fire damage, misplacement, ink fading or even an issue with paper bugs, therefore it is important to invest in a good quality filing cabinet that will keep the records safe while making it easy to retrieve this information whenever you need it.
Buying a superior quality three drawer pedestal, for example, will ensure it stays sturdy even when full and that the wood won’t split after a short period of use.
It also needs to be practical and offer ways to store the files organized with easy access, this will prevent wasting of time and loss of data.
When it comes to safety the first concern is defining if the information stored should only be accessed by authorized personal, in this case, it is necessary choosing a lockable filling cabinet. A combination filing solution is a great option if only part of the documents is confidential.
If you match the cabinet to the rest of the office furniture design, it won’t be obvious where the sensitive information is kept to someone just entering the room, this will also contribute to a higher level of security.
Some storage solutions will offer extra protection against fire and water damage, but these normally holds a lesser number of documents.
Since office design has an impact on productivity, it is important to make a conscious decision about the furniture you choose for the office.
Office interiors design has evolved greatly to match the demand for nicer and modern looking workplace, storage solutions has followed this path and you can find a wide variety of filing cabinets available.
It is important to evaluate the space you have available for the storage unit against the amount of storage you will need.
It is common for some business to struggle for space so a smart solution that combine two types of storage or goes under the desk can make the most of the space and help keeping the office tide and free of cluster.
Think ahead, it is also a good idea to consider what might be the business’ needs some time from now, if the need for storage is likely to increase it is interesting to invest in it now to avoid having the cost of replacing it shortly down the road.
Despite the evolution of digital storage, paper is still a daily necessity in the office environment, storing it safely, tidily and with easy access will facilitate your routine and improve productivity.
Consider these five aspects when choosing your filing system and it will be easier to find the best storage option for your office.