Despite the modern day emphasis on digitization and environmental consciousness, most companies still have a need to utilise paper documents on a daily basis, resulting in piles of old documents and receipts accumulating in the office. The biggest problem, however, is that these documents must not be casually handled or dismissed, as one careless mistake can lead to a major company loss. Let’s allow Boxful, an expert in storage affairs, help you understand the importance of proper file storage and some tips on file management.
Here’s a simple truth: company documents often contain large amounts of company information, private customer information and even commercial secrets. If these documents are not properly handled, data leakage could potentially occur, seriously damaging company interest and its public reputation.
The Australian government once left nearly two hundred confidential files in two old file cabinets, then donated them to a second-hand furniture store. These thousands of pages were accidentally exposed to the public eye, of which relayed internal operationational secrets regarding various world governments. These included highly classified knowledge such as national security briefings, national defense schemes, military plans … it’s safe to say that this incident was considered one of the most problematic data leaks to ever occur.
While governments must obviously be especially careful in handling their files, companies should also take note of the importance of document management. Leakage of company secrets via paper documents to the public from ex-employees have occurred in the business world from time to time. Therefore, the management of company information must not be taken lightly; instead, it is a subject that companies should be actively learning more about, from how to secure company information, how to systematically organize files, and how to effectively save documents for later reference.
Tip #1: Enact Paper Document Security Measures
Business information is crucial to a company’s wellbeing and operations. As electronic documents gradually begin to replace physical ones, many companies have solely focused on safeguarding computer security, with little regard for paper documents. In reality, there are many types of documents that cannot be fully replaced with electronic versions, such as accounting records, account books, and original/copied contracts. As paper documents are incapable of being fully tracked or restricted from outside access, they risk higher chances of infiltration and theft.
The most effective way to ensure security for your documents is to hand them over to a professional document storage company for safekeeping. In doing so, the entry and exit of these documents from the storage facility can be carefully recorded, preventing employees or visitors from leaking confidential information and therefore properly protecting business secrets. This can also help save a significant amount of office storage space.
Tip #2: Acknowledge the Retention Period of Company Documents
Aside from the revealing of business secrets, fines can also prove to incur substantial losses for companies. Many types of company data must be stored and kept for future reference; otherwise, they may stand in violation of relevant laws. On the other hand, some data cannot be kept for too long and have specified retention periods; if the data is kept for too long, it could potentially be illegal to possess them.
In Section 51C of the Inland Revenue Ordinance of Hong Kong, it states that it is a requirement for every person operating in a certain industry, profession or business in Hong Kong must keep sufficient records of their income and expenses in Chinese and English so that their assessable profits can be readily determined. These relevant records must be kept for at least 7 years. Failure to comply with such regulations without a reasonable excuse could incur fines of up to 100,000 HKD. According to the “Code of Practice on Human Resources Management” under the “Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance”, employers can retain the personal data of former employees for no more than 7 years after the day the said employee exits the company. Employers are also not allowed to keep the personal data of unsuccessful job applicants for more than 2 years from the date of said application. After this date, relevant data must be destroyed. As seen from the aforementioned regulations, companies must handle and deal with expired documents regularly so as to avoid violating the relevant laws that apply to them, as well as to free up much-needed storage space.
Tip #3: Take Advantage of File Storage
Oftentimes, companies will end up with cartons full of paper documents in storage rooms due to improper handling and organization. Whenever one of these documents needs to be accessed, whether it be a contract or certificate for an audit, trying to find it is truly headache-inducing. However, if such documents are managed by a professional storage company, the file management system it provides will conveniently label and number each file for easy reference and access at any time. This eradicates the need to waste time and manpower in scrounging for lost documents.
Making File Storage Easier For You
Boxful provides a safe, convenient, cost-effective and one-stop document and storage management service for all sorts of companies. An easy-to-use web interface guarantees a simple way to make appointments to retrieve documents whenever needed, alongside a monthly fee model that is flexible according to your specific needs. All you need to do is pay a corresponding fee for your amount of file storage in order to keep your files safe, free up office space, and increase organizational efficiency – say goodbye to the heaping pile of files in the storage room! For more details, feel free to contact our corporate storage representative.
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