Goodness – what an inappropriate rant in response to a perfectly reasonable question. However, not wishing to add another essay to the list, I would just point out that Anthony’s confusion of storage/logistics with information management is a fundamental error.
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I thought I had to respond to this email, as I see so many emails passing though this forum which really astonish me.
I’m sure most people on this list know that there are professional organisations who actively manage and house documents and data for companies throughout the UK. These companies are called “Records Management Companies” or “Document Storage Companies”. I have worked in many areas throughout my career in the US and Europe in PLC’s and Universities and know that ensuring your organisation is compliant and avoids fines from the ICO and other legal bodies is a huge minefield. However, the one thing I have come to understand is that if you allow a professional Records Management Company to manage your documents, this minefield becomes a walk in the park. One constraint on an organisation is budget – and this is where I really don’t see any logic at all. Why do organisations feel that by managing their information in house they are saving money? It would never happen in any other aspect of business. If you require paper for your office printers you don’t decide to build a paper manufacturing plant onsite – you go direct to a company who can supply you with the paper far cheaper than it would cost to manufacture yourself. If you require sophisticated alarms systems or fire protection, you don’t decide to design, test, manufacture and install this system yourself. You contact a professional security company who can advise you on the best methods and install a system accordingly and far cheaper than you could manufacture yourself.
So, why then, when it comes to an organisations most important asset (company data and business documents), do organisations feel that they can manage this information in house. It simply does not add up. The last company I worked with stored their documents with a UK leading records management company (before anyone says anything it was not Iron Mountain). We stored over 40,000 boxes with millions of files be actively managed. The records management company informed me that they have millions of boxes in store. The idea of contacting a box manufacture to print boxes for us with our logo on it would be a complete waste of our valuable budget. The Records Management company would be ordering such a high quantity of boxes that it would be impossible to make a saving by manufacturing our own boxes. One day I was lucky enough to visit the Data Centre where all our documents were being stored and was given a brief tour. After all the security checks and being escorted by 2 individuals, I was shown the fire suppression, the security systems, the tracking systems and a plethora of other tools to ensure all our documents were accessible 24/7. The cost of all such systems would surely have stretched into millions of pounds. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t ever remember hearing of an organisations Records Management budget being in excess of £1 million?
Only this week we have seen news of organisations, councils and universities being caught out disposing of valuable business data inappropriately and organisations poor management of data, all of which can incur a severe fine of up to £500,000 from the ICO. If any of these organisations had been smart enough to actively seek the advice and service of a professional company to manage their information/data then these breaches would have not occurred.
Sorry for the rant, but sometimes the answer is right under your nose or on the other end of a phone. If your organisation has business documents (that’s everyone) and they are not being managed professionally, your organisation is in a perilous position and just a misplaced document away from a fine from the ICO.
We are looking for a box manufacturer who can print our logo on the front of our record storage boxes. Does anyone have a reliable contact we could get in touch with?
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