Securing Your Valuable Documents

Every business needs a back up system for its documents and data.  In recent years, the move has been to back up everything to the cloud, but I think it's safe to say that many companies still have important documents on site.  The question then becomes:  Are those documents protected?  What happens to them if the building burns down?

The solution is simple:  fire-resistant cabinets and safes.  Sentry Safe and FireKing are the two big names in this area.  They both offer a variety of products and price points.  If you have just a few small items, you might choose a fire and waterproof chest like this:

Have a few more items?  Perhaps you need to move up to a fire-resistant safe.  

Still more files to protect?  Consider a fire-resistant vertical file cabinet.

Start by choosing the correct capacity for what you need to protect.  Then choose how much protection you want.  All fire and waterproof items have ratings that indicate the length of time the protection lasts.  For instance, a safe may be rated at 1 hour/1700 degrees for its fire rating, up to 12" of water for 72 hours for its water rating and 15 feet for its drop test.  A different safe may be rated 2 hour fire and water safe.  You get the idea - you simply choose the ratings that fit your needs and budget.  

Items with manual locks (keys, combination locks) will be less expensive than their counterparts with electronic locks and alarms.    If you've already clicked on some of the links above, there may be someone administering CPR to you right now.  The chests and safes aren't too bad price-wise, but the vertical files are not cheap.  Having said that, you need to consider the impact that loss of these documents would have on your company.  How much time (time is money) would it take you to replace them?  Would you be able to recreate them?  Would you be able to get a replacement from the appropriate authority?  If the answer to those questions is no, then you should seriously consider getting protection for those items.  The larger items like the safes and the vertical files could either be deducted from your taxes as an expense or as a depreciable asset, so you get two benefits from it instead of just one.

I have a fireproof safe in my basement at home.  It's got birth certificates, passports, deeds, etc. in it.  I know I shouldn't have those in my house, but I called four different branches of my bank and they all said they didn't have any safe deposit boxes available, so I have no choice as to where to keep them.  I do have a choice how to protect them.

Think about it.