According to a document management study that was commissioned by Iron Mountain, UK firms are more likely to trust others with the task of records management than German and French firms. Interestingly, most firms decide to keep active records stored on-site. Is our information safe?Exactly 300 firms were included in the report. It paints a decent picture of how companies go about handling records management -- 100 firms in the UK, 100 firms in France and 100 firms in Germany were interviewed. This research was conducted in May 2007.

Crunching the Numbers

Of the studied firms in the UK, 42% store documents off-site. That is relatively high, when compared to the French and German firms that respectively store 29% and 11% of records off-site. Interestingly, the active records statistics tell a different story: * 80% of UK respondents keep active records on-site. * 92% of UK respondents believe ease and speed access is the primary reason for keeping records on-site. * 83% of German firms prefer to keep records on-site. * 80% of documents kept on site by UK entities are classed as "active." Why the difference between all records and active records? Well, of the firms interviewed, there is a fairly common belief that on-site record storage offers easier access, more control and better availability. Financial and consulting companies also express concern over the price of outsourcing record management.

Question of Security

One of the highest concerns though, to the relief of many, is security. Most importantly, 89% of firms believe that providing a high level of security for these records is the number one priority. In comparison, less than 50% of the firms believe that lowering costs is one of the highest priorities. These European firms all seem to agree on one thing: they want to ship the task of document management and storage off to other companies in the future. It can't be determined if this is a smart move. It depends entirely on the companies that are managing the records. However, an added level of complexity might not be the best thing for the future. Who is to blame if the outsourced information is lost? Who is suing who? What happens to the people whose information was lost? It begs the question of whether people would actually want to know who is handling their information. Does it bring confidence to customers to know that their information is being handed off to another company that holds the responsibility? It is a mess, and these problems are going to escalate in the future. It seems like every day brings a new story about how an organization's systems were compromised by hackers. How long is it before it affects you? Those who are interested in viewing the report (in PDF) can read it in its entirety.