The preservation of files is vital in keeping you matters safe and secure over their entire life cycle (normally 7 years) to ensure information remains authentic, reliable, discoverable, and accessible.
Data is generally stored in either physical or digital format however both methods need to be managed appropriately to reduce the risk of degradation, deterioration, data corruption or data loss.
Here are some storage tips to help keep your physical files safe and minimise any potential risk:
- Storage areas should be clean and clutter free and fitted with alarms, heat and smoke detectors and away from any natural and manmade hazards (flood plains, bushfire prone areas, airports, fuel depots, heavy industrial areas, loading docks),
- Storage areas have sufficient floor loading capacity,
- Files should be packed in protective containers,
- Boxes should be 15cm high off the floor to prevent damage, dust or dampness,
- Proper control of temperature and humidity is critical for long-term preservation,
- Keep files away from ceiling lights and fire sprinklers,
- Lighting used in storage areas should have zero or very low UV output,
- Monitor areas regularly for rodent outbreaks and ensure ongoing safety.
For the safe keeping of digitised files there are many ways files can be stored and it is important to consider the risk factors associated with each storage method and its storage requirements.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when storing digitised files:
- Removal media (tapes, CD’s, DVD’s, flash drives, USB) generally have short life spans and can become unreliable with constant use,
- Computer hardware and storage media can become obsolete quickly,
- File formats may require conversion/software updates for accessibility (e.g. Microsoft doc format replaced by Microsoft docx),
- Environmental conditions are just as important for digital storage devices as they are vulnerable to dust and variations in humidity and temperature.
Often, the deterioration of media devices or data corruption does not become obvious until the point of data loss, which is then too late to recover or retrieve records.
The best way to preserve your closed matters over long retention periods is to have a good back-up solution with multiple copies of information in both digital and physical form.
If you’re looking for a hassle-free solution with secure storage for physical and digital files, contact us today!