As records management experts, every week we are asked many questions about document storage. Naturally, some questions are asked more than others. Here are answers to five of the most frequently asked document storage questions:
Where is the safest place to store my documents?
Customers who store confidential patient records, financial files and other sensitive documents want to know their information is safe. Records centers are a better option for document storage than warehouses, self-storage facilities and even your own office for several reasons. First, a records center is designed exclusively for the protection and preservation of documents. Solidly constructed with concrete floors, walls and ceilings, it’s built to withstand extreme weather and natural disasters. Second, inside the facility, climate-controlled systems ensure temperature and humidity levels are constant. Advanced fire detection and prevention technology eliminates fire hazards. And third, a records center is continuously monitored 24/7 to prevent unauthorized access. Only screened and uniformed records management professionals are allowed inside.
When I store my documents offsite how quickly can I access them?
Quick access to your documents depends on where you store them. If you have your records stored in a self-storage facility, you need to drive to the facility and search through boxes. If your records are stored in your office in file cabinets, it may be a bit faster to retrieve them—if you can find what you’re looking for. In either scenario, you have to put other tasks on hold while you find a document.
Storing your documents in a records center allows you to pinpoint your documents quickly and with minimal disruption to your day. Secure online access allows you to request files anytime from anywhere. With just a few clicks, you can request delivery of your documents within a few hours or in just a few minutes with a Scan on Demand service.
How are my documents managed in a records center?
It’s one thing to store your records, but managing them effectively is a another thing altogether. When you store your documents in a records center, each file or carton is barcoded. Record management professionals index your files to your meet your compliance, governance and retention needs. Specialized software tracks each inventory item. Records management systems are designed to have a 100% find and retrieval rate so you always know exactly where your information is located and can access it easily.
How cost effective is a records storage service?
Unlike a self-storage facility, where you pay a monthly fee for a storage unit, at a records center you only pay for the amount of storage space you use. And because the rate per cubic foot is less costly than your office space, a record storage service is cheaper than storing your documents in-house too!
Do all of my boxes have to be the same size to store them in a records center?
Just because building plans, legal files and medical records aren’t 8 ½” x 11” in size, that doesn’t mean you can’t store them in a records center. Specialized shelving and storage compartment configurations handle every conceivable shape and size of records—from those that must lay flat, to the ones that are best stored upright. Whether your records are stored in containers that are square, rectangular, triangular or round, you can rest assured they will be protected and managed the same as documents stored in a traditional sized storage box.
Do you have a question that isn’t one of our top five? Give us a call; we love answering questions!
DeVries Business Services proudly serves businesses in Spokane, Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.
Paper shredding is a broad topic, including everything from privacy protection to document recycling to regulatory compliance. It’s no wonder we receive three or more paper shredding questions each week! To help you understand the topic better, we’ve provided answers to your most frequently asked paper shredding questions.
How are shredded documents recycled?
After your documents are shredded, they are baled and turned into paper pulp to produce a wide variety of business and consumer products. However, not all document shredding providers bale their own paper fiber; some ship it overseas to a third party. To keep your costs low and information safe, choose a shredding partner with a bailing operation.
What does NAID AAA certification mean?
National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) AAA certification is proof that your shredding provider meets the highest industry standards for the onsite destruction of confidential documents. In order to achieve NAID AAA certification, a shredding company must pass unannounced, ongoing audits that assess many aspects of operation, including these:
- Employee screening processes
- Insurance requirements
- Written security policies and procedures
- Certified proof of shredding processes
Using a NAID AAA certified shredding provider ensures unrivaled privacy protection for your information.
How does onsite mobile shredding work?
Onsite mobile shredding begins with the delivery of secure collection containers to your business, at no charge to you. When your containers are full, a screened and uniformed shredding technician collects the contents and immediately destroys the documents at your business location with a mobile shredding vehicle. You are then given a Certificate of Destruction noting the date and time of destruction.
How is outsourced shredding different from in-house shredding?
Outsourced shredding is more efficient and reliable than in-house shredding. Mobile shredding trucks can destroy hundreds of pounds of documents in minutes. The same amount would take several hours with an office paper shredder. Plus, with outsourced shredding you never have to worry about paper jams and other time-consuming maintenance issues.
Outsourced shredding by a trusted and qualified partner is also more secure than in-house shredding. Where an office shredder might only shred documents into strips, outsourced shredding uses Pierce & Tear and Hammermill technologies to reduce documents to miniscule particles so they are impossible to recognize.
What is drop-off shredding?
Drop-off shredding is a document destruction solution that allows home and small business owners to protect themselves and their personal information from identity theft and fraud. At their convenience, they can drop off confidential documents to an approved drop-off shredding location for secure destruction.
Can non-paper items be shredded?
Yes. In fact, information security experts recommend that businesses destroy any expired digital media that contains sensitive data. Physical destruction of outdated hard drives, back up tapes and mobile devices is the only way to ensure data cannot be compromised.
Is shredding of business information required by law?
Yes. Several well-known federal regulations, including HIPAA, FACTA, SOX, and GLB, require businesses to securely dispose of client, financial and protected health information. Failure to comply with these laws can result in stiff fines and penalties.
Now that you’ve learned all about paper shredding, we hope you have a better understanding of how it’s done and why it’s important. If you have a question we haven’t answered here, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.
DeVries Business Services proudly serves businesses in Spokane, Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.
Many organizations find it daunting to prepare for an office move. Moving employees, systems and equipment is risky, as so many things can go wrong. The following strategies will help you put your mind at ease so you are well prepared for your office move.
A successful office move benefits from solid planning; don’t wait until the last minute to start. If you want to schedule a move during the summer, keep in mind it’s the busiest time of year for move services providers. As a result, you may need to schedule your office move several months in advance.
Appoint a Move Coordinator
Whether it’s you or a key staff member, someone in your organization needs to serve as an internal move coordinator. That person will need to prioritize tasks, assemble supporting vendors and serve as the primary contact person for your company during the move. As a result, they should be organized, and have excellent communication and decision making skills.
Create a Budget
It’s vital to have a clear account of your office move costs. Create a budget that includes your relocation expenses. The costs to consider include:
- Moving company expenses
- Existing office cleaning and repairs
- Lease termination penalties
- Increased staff hours
- Technology upgrades
Also, be sure to set aside money to cover any unexpected expenses.
Hire a Mover
Since there are many pieces to a successful office move, you’ll want to hire an experienced moving company that can ensure your business relocates quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively. A qualified provider will offer a thorough analysis of your relocation needs and offer a full range of move services.
You want your office move to go as smoothly as possible. Although moving on a weekend offers the advantage of minimizing employee and customer disruption, key managers may not be available to monitor the relocation process. As a result, it may work best to schedule your move on a weekday. The actual day(s) of your move will depend on your specific business needs.
Only move the items that absolutely must go to your new office location. Before your move starts, use a one-time shredding service to purge out-of-date documents and files. Secure collection containers are brought to your office at no charge. When filled, they are collected by screened shredding professionals and destroyed onsite while you watch.
Naturally, you want to optimize productivity and profitability at your new office. After you’ve purged your unwanted files, keep clutter under control by using a records storage service to store your inactive business records offsite. Your archival inventory is barcoded and securely stored in a records center. You can then request your files online and have them hand delivered or sent electronically to your new office at any time.
Before your furniture is unloaded, disconnect phone, internet and utility services at your old office location and transfer them to your new one. Also, notify your customers, vendors and suppliers of your move.
As you can see, an office move involves much more than moving desks from point A to point B. Follow these tips to make your relocation as smooth as possible.
DeVries Business Services proudly serves businesses in Spokane, Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. To learn more about our office relocation and records and information management services, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.
If time and money are dissuading you from going paperless, don’t worry, you have another option for achieving your goals. A professional document scanning service eliminates the cost and inefficiency of a do-it-yourself approach to imaging your files. Here’s how a scanning service can help you go paperless in several easy steps.
If you’ve ever started a scanning project in-house, you might not have made it past the document preparation phase, which is a time-consuming and laborious process. Fortunately, with a scanning service, trained technicians do all document preparation for you. First, they organize and prepare your documents for imaging. During this phase all staples and paperclips are removed, and any torn or tattered edges are repaired. A barcode is placed with each file, creating a verifiable record of which box it came from and linking it to a database for the indexing stage. Then, each page is straightened and aligned for imaging.
Next, each document is imaged with a high-speed scanner and converted to an electronic file. You can choose which file format best suits your needs:
The images are inspected as they are scanned to ensure accuracy and readability.
Immediately after scanning, each image is indexed. The barcodes used during the document preparation phase are used to earmark, group and categorize your information to your exact specifications.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
During this phase of scanning, a software application is applied, making the text searchable in your scanned and indexed files. In essence, OCR lets you pinpoint information within your digital files by typing keywords and phrases.
After OCR, your newly-created digital files are ready for delivery. At this point you have several options: your files can be electronically merged into your preferred document management or electronic content management (ECM) system or saved to a DVD or portable hard drive. Your original files can be delivered back to your facility or shredded. Make sure your scanning provider has been NAID AAA Certified for paper shredding to keep your information secure.
Last, but certainly not least, is the quality control phase. Quality control happens during every phase of a professional document scanning process. During scanning, technicians monitor images as they are created. Random checks ensure image integrity. Any scan that doesn’t meet quality benchmarks is re-scanned and inspected again. In short, quality control is the thread that holds the entire scanning project together.
As you can see, with a professional scanning service, going paperless is easier than you think!
DeVries Business Services proudly serves businesses in Spokane, Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. To learn more about our scan services, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.
As 2016 draws to a close, it’s time to look forward to the new year. As a business owner, you may have already laid the groundwork for 2017. If not, it isn’t too late to include document security and compliance in your plan. Here we share tips and best practices you can implement.
Clear Out the Old
Over the course of the year, you’ve likely accumulated a pile of unwanted paper receipts, statements and correspondence. Disposing of these paper records allows you to make room for new documents in 2017 and ensures you meet state, federal and industry-specific privacy standards. Use a NAID AAA certified shredding service to eliminate old, expired and unwanted files safely and quickly. Locked collection containers are delivered to your office at no charge and professionally shredded onsite when they are full. You are provided with a Certificate of Destruction as proof of your compliance with the regulations that affect your business.
Make Room for the New
Even after clearing out the old, you’ll still have some business records that must be kept indefinitely, including:
- Contracts and agreements
- Employee and personnel files
- Tax records
- Financial documents
These should be properly organized and stored in a secure location. A commercial records center offers a cost effective and secure document storage and management solution. Your documents are stored in a facility that adheres to the strictest compliance and security protocols. Solidly constructed with concrete floors and equipped with state-of-the-art fire protection and intrusion systems, they protect and preserve your archival and vital records for the long term. Box and file level indexing services are offered to keep your retention inventory organized. Advanced records technology collates all indexed information and tracks your documents with bar codes so you can order files any time with secure online access.
Go Forward in the Digital Age
In many industries, document scanning is now recognized as a requirement to meet compliance with state, federal and industry regulations. An experienced and trusted document scan services provider can help you control the cost of converting your active business records to easily accessible electronic documents. Specially trained imaging technicians use high-speed scanning equipment to digitize your hard copy files quickly and to your exact specifications. Any information you need to keep for compliance purposes can be now be accessed and shared digitally, and stored safely away.
With an integrated destruction, storage and scanning solution, you can move forward into 2017 with confidence!
DeVries Business Services proudly serves businesses in Spokane, Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. To learn more about our records and information management services, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.
Emotions run high at Sandia Associates when a simple suggestion to improve data security is misunderstood. Avoid the conflict and keep your confidential information secure by hiring a NAID-certified vendor today!
Local News – Local – July 19, 2012
Transaction included accounts for 100 clients, one mobile shred truck
By Chey Scott
Of the Journal of Business
Spokane-based DeVries Business Services has bought the assets of a Pasco-based
mobile document destruction company called Green Shred LLC.
DeVries’ President and CEO Patrick DeVries says the transaction was completed on
June 30, but he declines to disclose the terms of the sale. He says the owner of Green
Shred had been looking to sell the company so he could pursue other interests.
As part of the transaction, DeVries has acquired around 100 new customer accounts in
central Washington and northeast Oregon, as well as Green Shred’s lone documentshredding
truck. DeVries Business Services since has closed the former Green Shred
office in Pasco, but will continue to serve those clients out of its Spokane headquarters,
located at 601 E. Pacific, he says.
DeVries says that while Green Shred had one other employee in addition to its former
owner, DeVries Business Services didn’t retain that employee through the transaction,
so the company will be adding one full-time position to serve its newly acquired clients.
“The acquisition was a reasonable way for us to grow,” DeVries says. “With the
headquarters here, we have a great market area to service and can serve communities
in more outlying areas.”
He adds that the company currently is working to acquire another Inland Northwestbased
company that provides similar services, but he declines to disclose any other
information regarding that potential acquisition.
DeVries says that because his company offers a full-range of document management
and destruction services, including digital information destruction from hard drives,
phones, and other devices, the new clients it gained through the purchase will have
access to those services in addition to document shredding.
DeVries Business Services also provides assistance to its customers in compliance with
privacy and nondisclosure laws, he says, as well as secure courier services, document
tracking, and professional office moves.
In addition to that, Devries says the company accepts, free of charge, old computers and
televisions as part of a partnership with the state’s E-Cycle Washington program, which
seeks to help residents properly dispose of and recycle old electronics.
DeVries Business Services was founded here in 1985 and currently employs 30 full-time
Contact Chey Scott at (509) 344-1264 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get Rid of Your Data Before You Get Rid of Your Storage Media
The advent of digital technology forever changed the landscape of information preservation– digital media storage has made it possible to store large amounts of information in a very small space compared to traditional paper storage. The biggest downside to digital data storage used to be the danger of losing your information, but advances in the ability to recover information from digital media have saved many a business from accidental catastrophic data loss.
Fortunately (and Unfortunately), Deleted Doesn’t Mean Destroyed
Unfortunately, those same advances also opened up another area of vulnerability: discarded storage media. Many companies are unaware that simply deleting the files does not remove the data from digital media—it just removes it from the media’s registry and leaves that space open to be rewritten over (if the media is rewritable).
The information is still there, and can be easily recovered by someone who knows how to look for it. That’s why discarding storage media loaded with confidential information without proper precautions leaves your firm and your customers open to attack.
Digital Times Call for Extra (Destructive) Measures
Total data destruction is the only way to protect yourself and your customers from the damage of a data breach. That means that before you discard your storage media, you need to take extra steps to ensure your data is not just deleted, but unreadable and unrecoverable.
If possible, the storage media needs to be completely destroyed by shredding or another secure method that renders it unreadable and the information it contained completely unrecoverable. If the media cannot be completely destroyed, then not only do sensitive files need to be deleted, but the media needs to be overwritten so the information it once contained no longer exists.
Total Destruction is the Only Path to Total Protection
Whether you store your critical business information on paper, microfilm or on digital storage media like hard drives or CDs, you need to make sure your information is totally destroyed before you discard the media it’s contained on. Your best resource for more information on what you need to do to protect yourself and your customers is a shredding and destruction specialist like DeVries Business Services.
A digital media destruction specialist will advise you on what additional precautions you should take and what the best ways are to prepare your digital storage media for destruction, and can also assist with the actual destruction of your media.
Whatever you do, THINK before you toss your digital storage media. Your business’ survival depends on it.
No move is easy, and there are always security risks when private information is moved from its regular, secure environment. But moving a medical office presents special security challenges because of the confidential nature of the information medical records contain:
- Protected Health Information (PHI) must be shielded from view at every step of the move, so that no unauthorized personnel, including the movers, see it
- HIPAA compliance must be strictly maintained and correctly documented throughout the move
- Movers and staff need training to know how to correctly handle protected information so it stays secure
A Good Specialist Knows What to Do to Protect You AND Your Patients
At DeVries Business Services, we specialize in moving even the most confidential information securely and in accordance with the strictest compliance requirements. We already have best security practices in place, and we’ve developed specialized security protocols designed with information security in mind:
- We use non-transparent e-crates and opaque black shrink-wrap to keep information from view, so whether it’s in a crate or on a cart, no one who shouldn’t see it can see it
- We don’t EVER leave secure information unattended, where someone could get at it
- We use security tags to ensure locked crates haven’t been tampered with, and security labels that ensure protection of information on carts
- All of our staff has been fully trained in the latest security procedures and compliance requirements, and they follow best practices throughout your move, and we’re happy to also train YOUR staff in how to handle patient records the right way
- We document everything we do so that your compliance requirements are satisfied
Moving a Medical Office Doesn’t Have to be Fraught with the Risk of Breach
Choosing a mover that is truly a partner in your protection and has the specialized knowledge required to handle things the right way is the smartest move YOU can make to ensure your medical office move goes smoothly. At DeVries Business Services, we have years of experience handling moves for medical practices and laboratories, and we’ll be glad to put our expertise to work for you!
Please contact us today to learn more about some of the specialized security procedures and HIPAA compliance practices you should be aware of, or to request a free, no-obligation quote on your medical office move. We’ll be happy to share valuable tips that will make the process easier and more secure!
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