Every business has to decide where to store its old documents and files, and how long to keep them. You should have several options from which to choose, depending on how much security, safety and access you require. Choosing the right storage solution becomes easier when you consider these important factors.

Disaster Protection

Your first priority should be keeping your records safe from disasters. Not every storage provider offers comprehensive protection from fires, floods and natural disasters.

In a warehouse or self storage facility, for example, your boxes are either stored on pallets or directly on the floor in an unimproved environment. Your confidential records may be stacked directly beside combustible or flammable materials. Additionally, the storage facility (and your records) may be damaged by natural or man-made disasters.

These risks are eliminated when you store your documents in a commercial records centre. Records centres are built specifically and exclusively for the protection of paper records.

Records centre facilities and their perimeters are protected by a sprinkler system. Additionally, the centre is alarmed continuously for smoke, heat, and fire detection. It stores your boxes on industrial-grade racking systems, which have been designed specifically to preserve your paper documents in optimal conditions.


Every business is vulnerable to identity theft and the risk of fraud. It is impossible to prevent unauthorized access to your documents unless your inventory is monitored at all times. Look for a records storage facility that offers the following features:

  • Video surveillance
  • Motion detection technology
  • Access control systems

Don’t trust a storage provider that offers public access to its facility. Instead, look for a records centre with strict security standards that permits access to only screened, authorized employees.


A records storage solution should improve access to your information, not make it more difficult. Unfortunately for many businesses, file accessibility is an afterthought when storing records.

For example, packing a self storage unit full of file cartons may free up office space, but you probably can’t access your records easily. Furthermore, travel to and from the facility takes time away from activities that generate revenue for your company. Then there’s the stress and expense of going through boxes and boxes to find the files you need.

A professional records centre, on the other hand, not only keeps your information safe and secure, it also ensures your information is always easily accessible.

A bar code system that is both unique and intelligent tracks your information the moment it’s transferred to the records centre. As your cartons are placed into storage, records management professionals use scanners to match each carton with its storage location. A state-of-the-art inventory management database then tracks the specific location of every container for future retrieval.

Requests for cartons or individual files can be made by phone or online any time. The records centre retrieves your documents, and either hand delivers them directly to you, or sends them electronically with a Scan on Demand solution.

Retention Management

Disaster protection, security, and accessibility are all key factors in a document storage strategy. Retention management is equally important; you must know what to store and for how long. It’s neither practical nor cost-effective to store every document indefinitely. Additionally, you may break privacy storage laws if you store confidential information for too long.

Retention requirements vary from business to business based on industry type, provincial and federal statutory requirements, and industry standards. It helps to have a written retention policy that guides how long each type of record needs to be stored. Your lawyer, accountant and records consultant can provide expert guidance about your company’s specific retention obligations. Using a professional records storage service to store your documents will ensure your retention inventory is professionally managed.

When you compare document storage options, a professional record storage service offers unparalleled security, accessibility and organization for your information.

Calgary Archives offers record storage solutions to businesses in the City of Calgary and throughout the Province of Alberta. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.


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