An immeasurable amount of data is kept on magnetic media storage devices. The days of rummaging through stacks of paper are over; hard drives, tapes, and even film have revolutionized the way we work and store data. They save space, are easy to navigate, and are always readily accessible. Yet, they often need to be replaced, and it’s not always so easy to wipe sensitive information from them. Clicking ‘delete’ and emptying the recycling bin from your desktop won’t do the trick.
Rapid technological advances will cause new hardware to turn obsolete more quickly. Upgrading to a new system, deleting information in compliance with federal privacy laws, or clearing out some space are all reasons to take precautions. Even your personal computer’s hard drive can contain credit card numbers, banking information, social security numbers, and website login information. Whatever the reason, you need to transfer, wipe and destroy the data from the old system.
Highly impressive feats of data recovery are not unheard of -- it’s a big market, actually. Recovery services can extract data from physically damaged hard drives, drives that experience software or hardware issues. What you may think is a defunct piece of hardware could be someone else’s key to your privacy. Properly disposing of these things can take a lot of time and effort, especially for companies that store a lot of data. Overwriting, degaussing or even shredding the equipment takes professional help. That’s where we come in.
We are data experts in every sense of the word. Equipped to deal with any type of media, be it hard drives, film, disks, even x-rays, we guarantee your sensitive materials are protected and secure from pickup to destruction. We’ll work with you to prepare a customized destruction schedule that’s right for you.
As concerns over the environment have increased over the past few years, businesses and residential communities have started more “going green” recycling campaigns to do their part. Just separate the paper from the plastics from the metals and throw them in a bin on the curb. We often think recycling paper is the easiest way to save the planet, since it has a 60% recycling rate. However, where regular paper is fairly simple, shredded paper is complex. That’s right, if you take that sheet of looseleaf and tear it into bits, it suddenly becomes a hassle and even non-recyclable in many places. Many recycling services refuse to accept shredded paper, since it’s highly ineffective at being turned into new paper. It can also clog up recycling machinery at sorting plants. Evidently, the only real way to separate shredded paper from everything else is by hand -- arduous, tedious, and in the end, costly.
So this begs the question: how do you actually go about recycling your shredded paper? You presumably don’t want your identity stolen by a dumpster diver and your credit card statements are nobody’s business but your own. Well, the answer is fairly simple, but not completely obvious:
Of course, if you don’t want to have to worry about saving the planet, we’ll do it for you. We offer confidential, secure document destruction and disposal services. We do it for an array of different media types: tapes, disks, cartridges, x-rays, HDDs, monitors, film, and of course, paper. We provide you with options that best suit your needs and we’ll make sure your confidential statements have vanished without a trace. Check out our Destruction Services page and give us a call for more information.
School is just around the corner. It is out with the old and in with the new. That means new lesson plans, student reports, registration forms, parent newsletters, student and teacher projects and papers, etc. With an abundance of documentation that piles up every year, it is essential to implement a document management system so that the focus can be on learning rather than on paperwork. Below are tips on how you could benefit from adding a document management system to your school’s initiative this year.
Collaboration. A lot of the learning process happens between peers. Hosting a platform for students and teachers to collaborate allows for efficiency and ease during the educational process, whether individuals work in the same location or remotely.
Editorial Process. No paper or project is “A” material right away. When working on a project or paper, it is likely that you will have research, outlines, and drafts before you make it to the final draft. Additionally, your administrative department probably has budgets and rosters they use from year-to-year. A management system allows anyone to easily find the latest copy of a document and reference old material when necessary.
Security. A student’s personal information must stay confidential and only be available to authorized individuals. To ensure the highest level of security, measures should be in place within the document management system that secures sensitive information. Also, your documents are saved from a disaster, whether that be a flood, fire, or data breach. When a document management system is in place, you’re guaranteeing your documents are always secure and available.
Efficiency. Education has many structures and moving parts. Compiling the data in one place allows for ease and efficiency when working on student recommendations, grants, scholarships, communicating with parents, and any other task requiring paperwork.
Have you ever walked into your office or a storage room at your company and been overtaken by old documents, company memorabilia, or business critical documents? At one time, storing these possessions in an extra space, out of sight, was probably doable, but as time goes by and the company grows, you’ve probably added more and more data to this pile. Now imagine walking into this cluttered room after a fire or flood, everything is destroyed. If this is a picture that scares you, moving your critical data to an offsite facility can safeguard your documents and possessions.
Finding an offsite facility for your data should not be a tiresome task, but should be one that much consideration is put into. You want to ensure that your documents are safe, secure, and accessible. What would be the point in storing your documents offsite if the information that you need cannot be accessed when you need it?
R4 Services has been providing document management and vault services to large and small businesses in Chicago and the surrounding area since 1993. Since our start, we have made it a point to understand our clients’ needs. Being reliable, resourceful, responsive, and reasonable has allowed our business to thrive, as well as businesses across the Chicagoland area.
If you’re interested in touring our facility to ensure it is the right choice for you and your company, please contact us today.
For a big business, a record management system should be a no brainer. With the amount of data being produced, it’s not easy to keep track of everything that is going on, so a record management program can only be beneficial to the firm. But for small and home businesses, who often have a lower budget, putting a system in place often gets put on the backburner. Unfortunately, though, many don’t see the importance of record management until after a disaster strikes.
Whatever sets your business apart in the industry that you’re in, whether it be retail, technology, education or hospitality, you have a major asset. While your trademark asset is essential to your business, records are also a vital asset that are often overlooked. You are who you are because of the invoices, applications, tax invoices, and other documentations you have acquired in the formation and running of your business. As a smaller entity, you most likely have a limited amount of data and onsite space. While keeping your documents elsewhere is a means of security, it also provides you with the opportunity to free up hardware as well as physical space. Offsite storage at R4’s state of the art facility allows you 24/7 access to records while being secure from disaster.
Being a small or home based business does not mean you should compromise your record management system. A record management system will help improve and streamline your organization’s workflow and ensure that records are kept safe, secure, and up-to-date.
“One day I may need this.” We have all had that thought cross our mind as we sift through bank statements, letters, and other important documentation deciding what should stay and what should go. But what is worth saving and what is better off in the shredder? Check out our tips for work and home to keep you organized and safe from identity theft.
Save. Any physical copies of anything related to state or federal matters, including certifications, licenses, or deeds. These are important forms of identification that are typically only valid in their original form and can be a lengthy process to replace. Keeping any proof of warranty for the duration you own the warranted product is essential to insure you receive proper service if the product breaks or malfunctions. A good rule of thumb is, keep anything that would be a hassle to replace causing you to sit on the phone with customer service for hours or go to a government office.
Shred. Tax audits and receipts, home sale, purchase, lease, or improvement documentation should be shredded after 6-7 years. Pay stubs, bank statements, medical bills, and records can be shredded after one year. Everything else, go ahead and shred. To keep your identity safe and secure, shred anything with your name, phone number, address on it, social security number, or banking information on it.
Save. The same rules apply for work as they do at home, if the document is going to be hard to replace, keep it in a safe spot. There are a few extra documents you want to keep an eye out for like union agreements, procedure records, training manuals, bylaws, insurance records, accident reports, claims, legal and important correspondence, copyrights and trademarks, articles or incorporation, and actuarial reports.
Shred. It’s important that for the safety of your business and your employees that you shred employee application forms, ID badges, and records when they leave the business, financial information, branded, damaged or faulty goods, as well as supplier records or information. Some paperwork is best kept for a few years before shredding such as budgets and purchase orders. Use your best judgment.
4 Reasons Why Having Web Access to Your Records & Information Assets Can Make your Business More Efficient
Many perks come from having your records and information digitized and on the web. Not only is it a great penny saver in the long term as it reduces storage cost, it will also help your business run more efficiently.
With web records, you can access documentation remotely. If your documents live online, you can log on to access them wherever there is internet and by anyone that is deemed an approved user with a password. For businesses with multiple locations, traveling employees, or simply work that needs to be done remotely, web access to your records can be a strong asset to your company.
The system is easily navigated. No more time spent rummaging through piles of unorganized paperwork. Digital documentation has special features that will allow you to create thumbnails on documents, making your files easy to navigate and pull upon request. With a quick search, you can locate the document that you need.
The tools on web access are great for annotating. You can add text boxes, make highlights, and strike through text. All of these edits and markings can be made without altering the original image.
With your documents on the web, you are saving space. That means if your documents are stored in-house, there’s more room for you and your business to spread out and focus on important tasks.
Efficiency can make your business stand out and save you time and money. Transferring your documents over to web access has proven to help offices all over run more smoothly and more efficiently.
Sloppy record keeping can hurt your business and create a negative image for your company. While it may seem like records are not a core piece holding your business together, they are more important than first meets the eye. Whether you are a big or small business, you must have tax records, budgets, and most likely an employee payroll to take care of. Without proper record management, these three components could be forgotten and jeopardize your business as a whole.
When records are not kept accordingly, it’s easy to lose track of spending and often times a business's budget is exhausted. Things can quickly spiral out of control. Funds will not be available to pay taxes, employees, suppliers, utilities, and other fundamental necessities that keep your business running efficiently. Legal matters can arise as it is illegal not to pay your taxes and employees. As a result, you may be forced to file for bankruptcy.
This seems to be one of the worst cases scenarios. However, poor record management can cause other small hiccups that can easily be avoided. It is quite possible that your records are poorly managed and they are going by unnoticed. Signs of poor record management are: time wasted, inefficiency, poor productivity, lost files, and clutter. These issues are warning signs to a bigger, underlying problem.
Organization is key to a successful business. Maybe it’s time for someone else to take over your document management, check out our previous blog Considering Document Management? “We’re Not Ready” is the Wrong Answer.
Business today is executed digitally. Your organization is expected to do more with less. One way to accomplish this and stay in tune with business is through digital records management, and guess what? You won’t have to invest in any new technological equipment. Digital imaging creates digital files of all that paperwork floating around your office. Use these 4 easy steps and say goodbye to piles of documents that you just can’t seem to find when you need them the most.
R4 Services is just like every other company, we have clients, paperwork, and a management system intended to keep it all in check. But even as a document management company, we too at times find ourselves with too much paperwork and not enough order. In these times, we take a step back and assess our document management system.
A successful document management system is there to ease the burden of tracking down individual pieces of paper and information that needs to be kept handy and easily accessible. Even if you already have a system in place, reevaluating and doing some clean-up can keep your office running efficiently and compliant.
1. Assess The Situation: What brought you to this place? Product launch? Tax season? Influx in new hires? No matter the reason, simply start creating piles of related paperwork and media that needs to be kept together.
2. Decide What Is Being Stored Where: Once the piles are created and you have decided what is going to be stored where, space will free up. This ensures documents that need to be accessed can and those that are need for compliance and regulation are secure. Whether you decide on an on-site or off-site storage system, packing up the media and having the boxes indexed will keep everything organized and trackable.
3. Track Dates and Destroy: On-site or off-site, know when documents expire and remain compliant and secure. Keeping documents past their expiration date will lead to an abundance of paperwork that is leaving the company exposed to a potential security threat. Cut down on paper and storage needs by properly destroying of all paperwork and media that is no longer needed.
Implementing a document management system may not be the fastest way, but it is certainly the best way to ensure your business is running as efficiently as possible.
To learn about R4’s Document Management, please contact us today and keep your business running efficiently!