5 Pros of Outsourced Records Management

5 Pros of Outsourced Records Management

We’ve been operating North Carolina’s premium offsite records management facility for more than twenty (20) years, and we’ve had thousands of conversations about why corporations store records offsite versus onsite.

In this post, we share the five (5) main reasons why firms prefer Outsourced Records Management store records offsite, which relate to cost-saving, accessibility, compliance, security, and improved workflow. The reader will learn the benefits of moving business records offsite to a professional firm dedicated to storing and managing (picking up, retrieving, delivering, and securely destroying upon request) those records.

Storing records in the Carolinas does not have to be a headache; in fact, storing records offsite may be the smartest, quickest way to improve a business’ operation.

Space | Costs – real and opportunity

Real, expensive, costs: By far the most common reason why efficient managers choose to store offsite is to enhance the bottom line: either to reduce their expenses or raise their revenues, and the number one way to do this is to use corporate space more efficiently. Medical office space can cost more than $200 per square foot; law offices – in central business districts commanding huge rents – devote vast floor space to records, which don’t actually generate any revenue like lawyers do. 
Firms who store records in ‘mini storage’ facilities are surprised to find out that their cost for their records volumes are substantially higher than they would be in an offsite records archive designed for high-volume, dense, efficient storage.

Opportunity for revenue: We have found that most professional firms consider it a ‘no-brainer’ to devote more space to revenue-generating staff and equipment than to records, which can be retrieved very quickly and precisely from an offsite records storage provider when needed. This ‘opportunity cost’ is frequently large.

Ignorance about amount: But we don’t assume that most managers even know what their ACTUAL space cost is! We’ve been surprised too many times to count when we discover than many financially astute managers have no idea of the costs they have associated with their records: Large corporations may not even explicitly charge for space allocated to a given department, keeping the costs hidden to all concerned (no one thinks about the cost of air conditioning boxes of paper!).


The cost of delay: What happens when you need something fast? Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the most common concerns voiced by records management professionals and those that employ them is the urgent need to get ahold of a record in a timely fashion. If the staff who takes the request, retrieves the record, and delivers the record are all on hand to make it happen, then the request may be satisfied in a timely fashion. However, more often than not, records retrieval is not the highest priority of internal staff, even though it may be critical to the attorney or pathologist who is requesting the item. A firm that is dedicated solely to the timely retrieval and delivery of the record solves this problem.

Guaranteed turnaround times: The best organizations keenly understand the cost of delay. Typically – particularly if it a a professional firm in question, with client demands waiting – they will outsource the handling of the records to an offsite records management firm with a service level agreement in place that guarantees turnaround times on delivery requests.


There are many legislative ‘tripwires’:  From HIPAA to Sarbanes-Oxley, and PCI to SOCS, there is an endless stream of legislation that applies to business records, and compliance with regulation that governs records compels many firms to look for professional records management firms. Many of these laws require third-party auditors to conduct periodic assessments of a firm’s compliance – a firm must then dedicate staff time to assisting these audits. 

How third parties can help: One of the main advantages of outsourcing records management is the ability to send the auditors to the records archive site and have their (knowledgeable) staff assist the audit, rather than tying up critical internal staff time. Furthermore, such third parties understand audits and rapid retrieval for them – they are set up for this work.

National or generic legislation isn’t the only related compliance concern: Many industries have promulgated records retention schedules for their members to follow (a decent introduction to the subject may be found here); having a dedicated staff to follow these guidelines can be invaluable – records management firms maintain such retention schedules routinely. In 2005, accounting firm Andersen was vindicated in a lawsuit by the US Supreme Court because they followed a retention schedule when they destroyed documents)


Questionable status-quo: How safe are your physical records right now? Do you have a business continuity plan in place that addresses the possibility of diminished access (due to force majeure, etc) to business-critical records? What about digital information security? In the age of ubiquitous data and hacking, information security concerns cannot be overstated. Firms may find offputting the investment in security systems necessary to keep physical records safe – ranging from access controls (eg. biometrics, mantraps) to cameras, special-purpose vaults to special policies – many firms even maintain a clean desk policy solely for the purpose of minimizing opportunities for the information to be unnecessarily exposed. 

Professional offsite records firms undergo routine checks: Removing records offsite to a professional records management archive can be an important step towards making a firm airtight with respect to information leaks, as most of these sites must receive certifications as physical specifications, security systems, and even personnel training.


Time is money. If physical records remain part of a firm’s workflow, then the firm needs focus on the movement of those records: Does information appear when needed and disappear to a secure location when it isn’t? Process optimization can be a competitive advantage in any business, and keeping records offsite with a professional records archive can contribute to smoother operations.

Many business process outsourcing plans incorporate offsite archives; a small staff that is laser-focused on records management and retention – as opposed to generalists who have many responsibilities – can be responsive and cost less in the long run. Moreover, improved speed – in turnaround times and records access (see above)- is frequently the result.


Records are generally out of sight and out of mind – until they are needed. When a manager or an outside auditor requires the information, records transform into a crucial asset, and speed to retrieve it matters.

Offsite records management firms can reduce space-related costs and optimize operations; they can keep firms in compliance with applicable laws and keep processes running smoothly – for those with the insight to move them offsite.

Photo: Jan Antonin Kolar