Records Storage & Retrieval
It is critical that your company’s accounting, finance, and associated records are managed properly, have appropriate retention periods, and that the retention process is managed appropriately and transparently. Advantage Document Scanning and Storage Solutions is uniquely positioned to consult, plan, and execute a comprehensive records management and retention program to satisfy your Eastern Iowa company’s records management policies.
Advantage maintains a full-service records management center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, giving organizations across Eastern Iowa a true “advantage” when it comes to solutions for managing records, files, boxes of documents, and other sensitive media such as microfilm, backup tapes, or x-ray, in a highly secure environment, while maintaining ease of access. We offer a secure, organized, and efficient system for storing and accessing important records and information.
Our 80,000 square foot secure records management facility is purpose-built for document management and is equipped with motion detectors, magnetic locks, smoke and heat detectors, glass break detectors, a high-density fire suppression system, and surveillance cameras. In addition to box storage, pallet storage, and open-shelf file storage for paper records, our facility also features a climate stable, ANSI/AIIM compliant microform storage vault, as well as an ultra-secure Firelock Fireproof Modular for the ultimate protection of your most critical information.
AdvantageDS3 utilizes the latest technology, including bar-coding, RFID, and web-based services, to give you and your business a clear advantage when accessing and requesting services/issuing work orders related to your critical documents.
Advantage maintains complete control of our web-based services in our Cedar Rapids facility, giving you the advantage of real-time information regarding your documents in our secure facility. You can be assured that your records are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, even under the most severe of circumstances.
When it comes to your records storage and records retention strategies, we will work closely with the designated and authorized individuals in your organization to maintain retention schedules that are set up by the clients to maintain compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, FACTA, PIPEDA, and other regulatory requirements.
All Advantage Document Scanning and Storage employees are insured and bonded, having completed a background check and screening at the time of employment. All personnel are randomly drug tested and must assent to a confidentiality agreement. Our employees wear an Advantage logo on their ID badge, shirt, or jacket, and all visitors at all facilities are required to sign in, issued a visitors pass, and escorted throughout the premises.
We take these precautions, so you don’t have to. We understand our responsibility in the security and confidentiality of the information you have entrusted to our care. We are diligent in our process and practices and will provide your organization with the quality of service your organization demands and deserves.
What Our Records Center Offers Your Organization
- Secure Storage
- Document Retrieval & Delivery
- Indexing & Cataloging
- Records Organization & Management
- Records Destruction
- Digital Conversion
Advantage DS3’s secure storage facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa is designed to protect physical records from damage, theft, or unauthorized access. The storage facility is equipped with security measures, including access controls, surveillance systems, fire suppression systems, and climate-controlled options to ensure the integrity and longevity of the stored records.
Document Retrieval & Delivery
We provide convenient access to stored documents whenever they are needed, and our timely and responsive retrieval services save our Eastern Iowa clients the hassle of maintaining an on-site filing system and allows them to free up valuable office space.
Indexing & Cataloging
To ensure efficient retrieval, Advantage offers indexing and cataloging services or consultation. We will work with you to create detailed inventories or databases of the stored records, including relevant information such as file names, dates, and categories. This makes it easier to locate and request specific documents when needed.
Records Organization & Management
Advantage can assist your organization in organizing and managing the lifecycle of your records. We offer professional services such as file sorting, file labeling, retention schedule management, and destruction services for expired or redundant records. By implementing effective records management practices, we help you maintain compliance with regulatory requirements and optimize your information management processes.
When records reach the end of their retention period or are no longer needed, Advantage DS3 can facilitate secure and compliant destruction. We ensure that confidential information is properly disposed of through methods such as shredding, pulverizing, or incineration, depending on the client’s requirements and regulatory guidelines.
We also offer services for digitizing physical records. We can convert paper documents, microforms, books, and photographic materials into digital formats that will enhance accessibility to your information, and allow you to manage records electronically, dramatically improving your efficiency while reducing the reliance on physical storage.
Overall, Advantage provides a comprehensive solution for businesses in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Corridor, Waterloo, Dubuque, the Quad Cities, and organizations across Eastern Iowa seeking secure, organized, and efficient management of their physical records. When you choose Advantage Document Scanning and Storage Solutions as your partner, you can focus on your core operations while ensuring the confidentiality, availability, compliance of your organization’s records and documents in accordance with your organization’s document retention policies.
What is a Document Retention Policy?
A document retention policy is a set of guidelines and procedures that outline how long different types of documents should be retained, how they should be stored, and when they should be disposed of. The policy helps your organization manage your documents throughout their lifecycle, from creation to final disposition. It ensures compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, reduces legal risks, and facilitates efficient document management.
The policy should identify different categories or types of documents and records within the organization. Examples may include financial records, contracts, human resources files, customer records, legal documents, and operational documents. Your policy should specify the length of time that each category of document should be retained.
Retention periods may be determined based on legal requirements, industry standards, contractual obligations, or internal business needs. For instance, financial records may need to be retained for a certain number of years for tax purposes.
Your organization’s document retention policy should outline the appropriate storage and security measures for different types of documents. It may specify requirements for physical document storage, such as secure vaulting, or off-site storage, as well as digital document storage, such as encryption, access controls, and backup procedures. It should also describe the methods and procedures for document disposal and destruction. This may include guidelines for shredding physical documents, deleting or purging digital files, or utilizing secure document destruction services. It should address the process of ensuring that sensitive information is properly destroyed and cannot be reconstructed or accessed by unauthorized individuals.
To ensure legal and regulatory compliance your organization’s policy should consider applicable laws, regulations, and industry-specific requirements related to document retention and disposal. It should ensure that the organization adheres to these legal obligations, such as data protection, privacy, financial, and recordkeeping requirements.
A well-designed document retention policy helps organizations maintain control over their information assets, promotes efficient document management, and mitigates legal and security risks associated with document retention and disposal.
When you choose Advantage Document Scanning and Storage Solutions as your provider, you can leverage our expertise and resources to develop and maintain a robust document retention policy that meets legal requirements, enhances operational efficiency, and safeguards your sensitive information throughout its lifecycle. AdvantageDS3 can help you establish procedures for monitoring and periodic review of the document retention practices ensuring ongoing compliance and effectiveness, develop a blueprint as to how we can help you manage to your policy, and offer suggestions as to how to improve, or if needed, amended it to reflect changes in laws, regulations, or business requirements. We will securely store physical documents in our locally owned and operated facility and provide efficient retrieval services when needed, ensuring that your documents are properly managed and easily accessible during their retention period. At the end of the document’s defined lifecycle, as set forth in the policy and when authorized by you to do so, AdvantageDS3 will dispose of the physical documents securely and in compliance with privacy and data protection regulations to ensure that sensitive information is irreversibly destroyed and provide you with certificates of destruction for audit purposes.
What to Look For When Selecting an Offsite Records Storage Provider
Choosing a reliable and trustworthy records management company is essential for the secure and efficient storage of your documents and choosing a reputable and reliable company to store your paper records and documents is crucial to ensure compliance with document management policies and regulations, and security of your organization’s records. You must perform adequate due diligence to ensure the vendor you select is both qualified and capable of meeting your organization’s needs. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a company for offsite document and records storage:
- Compliance & Certifications
- Security Measures
- Storage Facilities
- Document Handling & Organization
- Document Destruction & Disposal
- Insurance & Liability
- Scalability & Flexibility
- Pricing & Contracts
- Client Support & Customer Service
- Experience & Reputation
Compliance & Certifications
Ensure that the company follows industry standards and holds relevant certifications. Look for certifications such the NAID AAA certification for information destruction, or alignment with standards for storage by governing bodies like NARA, or ANSI/AIIM. For more secure storage needs, you may want to look for more specific requirements for facilities and equipment. For instance, Advantage’s FireLock vault is certified and rated by Omega Point Laboratories to meet the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) standards for the storage of magnetic and electronic media. Depending on your industry, your documents may be subject to specific legal or regulatory requirements. Ensure that the records management company understands and complies with these requirements to avoid any compliance issues.
Evaluate the security measures implemented by the company to protect your documents. This may include physical security features like access controls, surveillance systems, and secure storage facilities. Additionally, inquire about data security measures, such as encryption and restricted access to digital records. Advantage Document Scanning and Storage Solutions has maintained comprehensive documentation of our policies, procedures, and practices, and would be happy to share them with you to help you establish your own evaluation criteria. The documentation outlines steps Advantage has taken to ensure all employees are insured and bonded, having completed a background check at the time of employment. It spells out specific policies like all our personnel are randomly drug tested and must assent to a confidentiality agreement as a condition of employment. It also discusses day-to-day operational procedures, like employees being required to wear an Advantage logo on their ID badge, shirt, or jacket, and all visitors at all facilities are required to sign in, issued a visitors pass, and escorted throughout the premises. The records management centers you are evaluating should have similar detailed documentation and provide it to you upon request.
Visit the company’s storage facilities if possible or request detailed information about their storage infrastructure. Assess factors such as climate control, fire protection systems, pest control measures, and disaster recovery plans. Locally owned and operated records management companies like Advantage Archives are more than happy to come to your office to discuss your needs, but we highly recommend that you tour the facilities of the records storage companies you are evaluating first hand to ensure that it meets your expectations, and are given the opportunity on the tour to ask specific questions about what you are seeing, and how they relate to your needs and requirements.
Document Handling & Organization
Inquire about the company’s processes for document handling, tracking, and organization. They should have well-defined procedures for indexing, cataloging, and retrieval to ensure efficient access to your records when needed. Make note of additional steps taken to offer additional protection to your records by the record management companies you are evaluating. For instance, at Advantage, we require that only authorized employees of Advantage handle pickups and deliveries, we do not allow or employ 3rd party couriers or contractors. The actual loading and unloading of vehicles for daily pickups and deliveries are performed inside of our facility. Only vehicles owned and insured by Advantage are used for picking up and delivery of our client’s records and are driven inside our facility for security as well as protection from the various elements of the weather. Each records management company offers their own processes and procedures, so compare what is offered, and decide if they meet or exceed your organization’s needs. Consider the ease and speed of document retrieval when required. The company should provide efficient retrieval services, whether it involves physical delivery or digital access, and have protocols in place to meet your specific retrieval needs.
Document Destruction & Disposal
If document disposal is part of your records management requirements, evaluate the company’s document destruction processes. They should follow secure and compliant procedures to ensure proper disposal of sensitive information and maintain a NAID AAA Certification that verifies secure data destruction compliance with all known data protection laws through scheduled and surprise audits by trained, accredited security professionals, fulfilling customers’ regulatory due diligence obligations.
Insurance & Liability
Inquire about the company’s insurance coverage and liability policies. They should have appropriate insurance to cover any potential loss or damage to your records while in their custody. Verify that they, like Advantage, are insured and bonded by several agencies that perform their own audits and reviews of their facility. Request documentation that their employees are insured and bonded, and that disaster and recovery plan carries language that references their role and responsibility in the case of loss and or damage.
Scalability & Flexibility
Consider your future needs and growth potential. Ensure that the records management company can accommodate your changing requirements, whether it’s additional storage space, document digitization, or customized services. Some records centers, like Advantage’s, offer a wide range of additional document related solutions that go above and beyond the standard storage services. Look for a vendor that can manage the complete lifecycle of your document, and any foreseeable use cases related to them. This may include active file management, long term-off site storage, digital transformation, data archiving, secure document destruction, archival microfilming, or secure vault storage.
Pricing & Contracts
Obtain detailed pricing information and review the contract terms carefully. Ensure that the pricing structure is transparent, and there are no hidden costs. Understand the terms of the contract, including termination or “permanent out” clauses and potential additional penalties that might be incurred during the contract period. It is important to note that pricing structures and packages may differ between records management companies. Some companies offer pricing based on a fee per square or cubic foot as their “per unit” price, while others like Advantage charge per box so there is no “surprise” when the invoice comes. A standard records box is generally 1.2 cubic feet, so when comparing pricing, make sure you are comparing “apples-to-apples”. Also look closely at the cost per each service. There is usually a charge each time the box is handled, on top of the service fee. These are often referred to as Retrieval and Refile fees (taking a box off of the shelf, and putting the box back on the shelf), and can add up if priced too aggressively. Also make sure you understand the cost of setup or onboarding, and any indexing or cataloging fees, To obtain accurate pricing information, it is recommended to reach out to several records management centers, provide details about your needs, and request a comprehensive quote. This will allow you to compare costs and services to make an informed decision based on your budget and requirements.
Client Support & Customer Service
Assess the level of customer support and responsiveness provided by the company. Prompt and effective communication, as well as a dedicated account manager or customer service representative, can greatly enhance your experience.
Experience & Reputation
Look for a company with a solid track record and extensive experience in records management. Consider their reputation, years in operation, and client testimonials or references. Make note of the vendor’s relationships with respected businesses, organizations, and agencies that are like your own. If you are in the healthcare industry, references from the University of Iowa Health or UnityPoint might be of particular interest. Those in the agricultural sector may benefit from speaking with a major manufacturer like John Deere, or even a local co-op. Utility companies like Alliant Energy can also provide valuable insights. Corporations like ACT or Pearson’s that are focused on providing services to education sector make fantastic references for colleges, K-12 schools, and educators, as they themselves have strict selection criteria and process requirements and have likely done significant due diligence of their own. Also pay attention which vendors are trusted by locally respected community institutions like newspaper publishers, funeral homes, public libraries, museums, historical societies, or non-profits. A good offsite storage company should be able to provide you with a long list of recognizable names.
Confidentiality is crucial for document storage. Ensure that the company has strict policies and procedures in place to protect the privacy of your information, including confidentiality agreements with their employees. Many records management companies have taken steps to minimize any risk through internal policies that address project security, however some like Advantage Document Scanning and Storage Solutions take additional steps to thoroughly screen candidates before they are employed. A reputable records management company will take steps to ensure a standard for their employees with access to your records. Requiring a completed background check at the time of employment and an assent to a confidentiality agreement prior to hiring an employee are the bare minimum requirements you should find acceptable.
By considering these factors and conducting thorough research, you can select a records management company that aligns with your specific needs, provides reliable and secure document storage, and offers excellent customer support. We are confident that you will discover that Advantage Document Scanning and Storage Solutions is the most qualified records management center in Eastern Iowa for offsite records management and storage.