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Benefits of Document Scanning Overcome the Risks of Self-Storage

3 min read

Jerry Rozek

The advantages of electronic record keeping are many

The benefits of document scanning are substantial, particularly when you consider the risks of self-storage of your archive records. What to do with old archive records that require lengthy retention is a common concern for businesses. Boxes of documents begin to pile up and soon storage areas are filled beyond capacity. Moving such records to a self-storage facility may seem like a logical low-cost solution. But not having records in a tightly controlled environment exposes your business to considerable risk.

Risks of storing archive records illustrate the advantages of electronic record keeping

Let’s look at four key issues that should be considered before placing records into a storage unit.


In general terms, most self-storage units do not have high levels of security to protect private information. Most units are only secured with a padlock, and inside walls are often basic sheets of plywood. A criminal with bad intentions can gain access with very little effort. According to the FBI Crime Data Explorer, there were 817 reported burglaries in storage units located in Wisconsin in the two-year period of 2018-2019, an average of just over one security breach each day. This clearly shows a benefit of document scanning, but there's more. Read on.


A self-storage unit that does not have climate control means that paper records can be damaged as a result of moisture absorption and become moldy. The potential damage from rodents and/or insects also needs to be considered. But there is also the unknown risk associated with what may be stored in adjacent units. Any items with engines (boats, motorcycles, mopeds), or campers with attached propane tanks greatly increase the risk of fire. A basic sheet of plywood may be the only thing separating your documents from these dangerous items. And while a storage unit may have fire suppression systems, your records are open to water or chemical damage if the system is activated.


When storing records in an offsite location, you must physically go to the location each time you need something. Being in the upper Midwest and doing this in the winter months is definitely not comfortable or convenient. Additionally, you will most likely need to move and replace boxes just to get to the one that you need. And if you are a business that purges records on a regular basis, it means that you are likely handling every box in storage while going through each of them to remove your oldest records.


If the records you are storing in a self-storage unit include protected health information (PHI), your organization may have sole responsibility if there is a security breach. Your storage company may be considered a contractor and not a business associate (BA). By definition, a BA is an outside organization that creates, receives, maintains, or transmits protected health information (PHI). A storage company typically does not maintain your organization’s records in this way. If the storage company does not pickup, transport, or store PHI in a way where their employees have access to it, they are a contractor and not a BA. Therefore, the storage company would not be bound by HIPAA privacy, security, or breach notification rules.

The alternative: discover the benefits of document scanning

The alternative to offsite storage is to experience the many benefits of document scanning. EO Johnson can help. Digitizing records allows you to access information or to purge old information right from your PC without having to travel to a storage facility. Regular data backups provide disaster recovery and protection, and by managing digital data within a secure network environment, you maintain control of who can access the information. More, scanning records is a one-time cost compared to ongoing monthly costs to store and retrieve records from a storage unit.

EO Johnson Document Scanning can work with your business to develop a strategy to digitize your records to not only fit your budget but to minimize your exposure to risk. Contact us to learn more about our document scanning services.  The benefits of document scanning are within your reach, and you'll soon enjoy the advantages of electronic record keeping.




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