Shock revelation! Santa caught on camera recycling unused presents from last years naughty boys and girls…

This week it has been revealed that even Santa is having a tough time in the current ‘triple dip’ recession.

Our reporter captured this revealing picture of Santa withdrawing presents from a secure storage facility in Somerset and he was obviously not happy to be photographed…

Is this Santa Claus operating in Bridgwater, Somerset?

Although the storage company would not give out any information about exactly what Santa was storing with them we did manage to interview one of his key staff, Ann Elf, who said that it was normal for Santa to store presents for reuse the following year.

Apparently these are presents that are not delivered to ‘naughty boys and girls’ who don’t deserve them! So it appears that there is now definite proof that if children (and adults) don’t behave during the year they get NOTHING from Father Christmas – so tell your kids!

A spokesman for the box storage company said that storage of confidential documents in secure boxes is their speciality and as they never look inside at the contents they could not comment on what was in the boxes stored with them.

He went on to say that he did think it a bit odd that they had to open up specially on the 26th December each year to receive ‘brightly wrapped boxes’ from a very inebriated colourfully dressed and cheerful chap who arrived in a sledge pulled by knackered looking reindeers!

The final words need to go to Santa…

“Merry Christmas to you all and BE GOOD!”

Accessing my documents via the Cloud is fantastic but what about my archive paper records?

Paperless key on a keyboardThe whole concept of Cloud computing is great isn’t it? To be able to access all of your data in real time via an exact replication of your desktop screen from anywhere with a wifi connection is absolutely fantastic and has changed my life.

The best system I have seen so far is by SpiderOffice ( – no I am not on commission!) It is very affordable, scaleable, easy to use and with enhanced security sign in protocols to protect against unauthorised access. Get the very charming and knowledgable Chloe Wheeler to show you the system (0117 933 0582).

I am indebted to Bill Quinn from Flexable IT for his help with the following information about cloud in general. You can read his excellent blog at He told me:

Predictions from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) are that 75% of UK businesses will be using at least one cloud service by the end of 2013 – and that they have seen a 27% increase in first time users in the last nine months.

‘Cloud’ is a generic term meaning the delivery of applications, products or services through the internet. The name comes from the use of a cloud shaped symbol as an abstraction for the complex infracstructure it contains in system diagrams.

Chances are that you are already using one or more cloud service already. If you use online banking, Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo mail then these are all cloud products. Users access cloud-based applications through a web browser, desktop application or mobile app while the business software and user’s data are stored on servers at a remote location.’

Later in this blog I list the pros & cons of accessing your data via the cloud and let’s face it most of us have read something about it.

But… regardless of how great the cloud is it will only allow you access to records and documents that have been digitally captured i.e. PDF, TIF and JPEG files plus applications and products such as Microsoft Office.

What it will NOT do is allow you to access remotely that desperately needed hard copy document which you know is on the third shelf from the right, about half way along the shelving in your archive store at the office!! (See the real life scenario below that happened to me that illustrates the point).

At SFS we can help make this scenario a thing of the past by scanning all of your archive records as PDF, TIF or JPEG files and return them to you indexed on disk for you to upload onto your cloud database. We can scan any size original from till receipt to A0 diagrams in colour or black & white. We will even security shred the originals once they are scanned and you are happy with the images.

Think about the biggest bonus of all — all that storage space currently taken up by archive storage that you can use for something profitable! If you want some help with backing up YOUR valuable paper records, without obligation, call us on 0800 008 7229.

Now for the promised pros & cons of cloud systems, bullet pointed for your perusal:

Cloud Computing – Pros

  • Work anywhere, anytime on any device
  • No hardware or software for you to update or maintain
  • Lower total cost of ownership
  • It is secure
  • Updates are automatically delivered – usually free
  • Available 99.9% of the time or greater
  • Immediate backup of your data
  • Remove hardware costs from your balance sheet and remove onsite hardware

Cloud Computing – Cons

  • Will your cloud service go down unexpectedly – leaving you without important information for hours?
  • If you decide to stop using the cloud service provider can you get your data back easily? Do you have a guarantee that your data will be destroyed once you have cancelled?
  • How much data are cloud companies collecting and how might that be used?
  • The more data you store the more you pay.
  • Breaking through the fear barrier of breaches to the security of cloud stored data (“Is my data really safe?”) – particularly with older staff or technophobes.

It seems to me that all the cons are perceived rather than actual or experienced and can be sorted out by a robust Service Level Agreement with the cloud provider but then I am a cloud supporter!

A real life, pre cloud scenario that happened to me…

There I was in my hotel the night before an important client presentation (career critical if you know what I mean!). I had had a day from hell that meant that I was running late and had not completed the presentation for the next morning but I thought “it’s okay I can do it tonight eh?”

So I settled down to write this brilliant showstopper of a presentation. I had everything I needed to except… dammit! the critical testimonial from my best customer which I knew was in their (archived) file in the office – disaster!

It was 10 o’clock at night when I realised so no-one was in the office and I had no chance of getting hold of the testimonial until the next morning. And it got worse. I know that the testimonial is not easy to find because it is in one of their 6 files. Suffice it to say that I had to make do with a faxed (awful) copy of the testimonial, the client was not impressed and nor was my boss when we did not get the deal.

Now my archive records are accessible via the cloud this does not happen any more but the blossoming relationship with that client could never be repaired.

I guess that the moral of this blog is enjoy the cloud, embrace its myriad of benefits, get a good, reliable cloud service provider and take away the stress of being away from the office! And if we can help with your archive scanning or storage please contact us.

Why not use Bonfire Night to burn all your confidential office waste paper?

It’s the season of mellow fruitfulness, of raking up leaves from the lawn, cutting back shrubs and roses in the garden and piling it all onto a bonfire. Mix that with the fact that if your kids are anything like mine we have been creating a huge bonfire in the garden ready for Bonfire Night… am I getting warm (excuse the pun)?

So you probably have planned on setting fire to the pile, having a few fireworks and everyone is really excited.

Then your eye falls on all the confidential waste paper in the office waiting to be shredded… why not use that on the bonfire? What a great way to get rid of it all at next to no cost! Simply get the fire going then toss it on and hey presto… a great fire and a saving on shredding costs, right?


If you throw a full archive box of paper onto even a well established (very hot) fire the best you could hope for is that the contents get singed at the edges. Compacted paper like this is very hard to burn mainly because all the air has been excluded from tightly packed boxes. And no air means very limited combustion. So you end up in this case with singed paper that is still confidential and readable but now it’s difficult and messy to handle.

It is surprisingly difficult to burn even a cardboard file of paper or even a full lever arch file. The only sure way is to take the documents out of the folder/file/box, stand close to the bonfire and feed them into the flames a few at a time… a very long and uncomfortable experience.

If you are lucky the papers will get incinerated before the hot air from the fire carries the partly burnt sheets into the sky – perhaps you end up with bits of partly burnt confidential papers all over the garden and those of your neighbours… not great eh?

At SFS Ltd we will collect your confidential waste paper in sacks or your own boxes using our own staff and vehicles and will cross shred them. This cross shredded waste is then sent to the paper mills where it is pulped and turned into tissue so there is no chance that it will ever re-appear in a readable format.

If we can help with your secure destruction give us a call today on 0800 008 7229. We can also destroy CD/DVD’s, computer hard drives, microfilm and computer tape. For more information on what types of Secure Destruction we can do click here.

I hope you have a really great Bonfire Night – handle your fireworks safely but if you want to dispose of your confidential documents leave it to the EXPERTS!

Construction starts on new site…

Work has now started on our brand new premises at Woodlands Court Business Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater. The foundations have been piled already and we are told by the builders that we will be in before Christrmas… “hopefully”!

We will be retaining premises at Guard Avenue, Yeovil in addition to these new facilities.

Here is a picture of the new site so far…

Construction of the new Scan, Film or Store Office & Document Storage Space in Bridgwater

The new processing and document storage facility extends to a footprint of nearly 4,000 square feet and increases fourfold our box storage capacity between Yeovil and Bridgwater sites. It is located next to the St. Johns Ambulance building and behind the huge new Morrisons Distribution Centre – luckily we will look out at the countryside though.

New offices, preparation, microfilming and document scanning facilities will be provided in the brand new, state of the art, Bridgwater building. Additional staff will also have to be employed for the new, larger facility and we are already recruiting from the Bridgwater area.

The new facility will help us to accommodate storage boxes and scanning projects belonging to some prestigious new customers that we are working with. As we take the confidentiality of our customers very seriously we can’t tell you exactly who they are but they include:

  • A very large engineering company in the North West
  • A South coast company specialising in precision composites
  • A local museum where we scanned irreplaceable glass photographic plates to make them more accessible online to the public.

So, if you have any boxes or files cluttering up your office then we can look after them for you! Click here for more details or call us today on 0800 008 7229.

Welcome to our new blog…

My main aim for writing this blog is to give businesses useful and relevant information from the document storage and management industry.

I know that document storage is a subject that can cause yawning and an immediate ‘switch off’ but how would you feel if you lost your whole archive of records either through natural disaster (fire, flood etc) or through malicious damage?.I guess that it would be pretty catastrophic and recovery of your lost records could take a long time. Did you know that 68% of businesses that suffer this kind of loss NEVER recover and cease trading? The protection of your vital records is our business – we can take all the hassle out of document management for you.

To kick off the blog I start at the beginning and answer the question:

How long do I have to keep my records?

The honest answer is that there are very few legislative rules that govern how long paper documents should be retained by a business. Some, such as those required by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, are strictly regulated and not being able to produce past records on demand is an offence. Good practice dictates that historical records need to be retained.

However the vast majority of all records can be retained as ELECTRONIC COPIES (scanned images). File formats for keeping electronic copies of documents can be PDF, TIFF or JPEG files.

Here are some examples of how long some common documents should be kept:

  • Accident Books – 6 years after LAST entry
  • Personnel Records – 7 years AFTER termination of employment
  • COSHH records – 40 years
  • Capital Expenditure Invoices – 10 years
  • Building Leases – 12 years after expiry
  • Sales invoices and Credit Notes – 6 years
  • Property Deeds – Retain indefinitely or until property sold

If you would like a FREE comprehensive guide to document retention please click here or contact us here for advice without obligation.

Remember we are here to help!

Mark Yates