Here at Scan Film Store one of our main services is document storage, whether holding your physical paper records securely off-site or scanned copies in a digital format.
So we were intrigued to find out about some of the most secure storage facilities in the world. When you think about the ultimate in secure storage Fort Knox would probably be one of the first to come to mind, but in fact there are a number of more unusual places that can rival it in terms of security but it’s likely you’ve never heard of them.
Svalbard Seed Vault
How many of you have heard of the Svalbard seed vault before today? Well to tell you the truth neither had we. As the name might suggest the purpose of the vault is to store duplicates (‘back ups’) of all seed samples from the world’s crop collections.
The seeds are stored on the island of Svalbard which is located halfway between Norway and the North Pole under what is known as “black box” arrangements. This means that once the packets of seed are sent for storage they will not be opened or sent to anyone other than the original depositor in the event that they are required. No one will have access to anyone else’s seeds!
So if you want to make sure that your business records are backed up and have no possibility of being altered by anyone else then the seed vault sounds like a pretty great place. What a shame that your business records don’t come in seed format.
If someone said to you this facility could withstand a 30 megaton blast, you would probably guess it was secure but you may not realise just how impressive that is. To put that into perspective, Fat Man, the nuclear bomb which was dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 would have to explode 1429 times to equal a 30 megaton blast. You can definitely say that Cheyenne Mountain brings security to a whole new level, and it is not surprising considering that it started off as the NORAD Combat Operations Centre in 1967 and over the years has been hosts for U.S Strategic Command, U.S. Air Force Space Command and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM)
The Cheyenne Mountain Complex is now the NORAD and USNORTHCOM alternate command centre and definitely worthy of the description of one of the most secure places in the world; and would be a great business storage solution, but probably only if your business involves national or international security!
Pionen White Mountain
Located in central Stockholm beneath 100 feet of granite and the Vita Berg Park is a former nuclear bunker and command centre for the cold war (former cold war facilities definitely seem popular for security) which is now the headquarters for Bahnhof, a Swedish Internet Service Provider and the home to the infamous and highly controversial Wikileaks Servers.
We can definitely say that the Wikileaks servers are well protected in this futuristic base, which would be perfect for any Bond villain. Behind half-metre thick steel doors and with back-up generators from a submarine; this could be described as the safest place in the world for digital document storage.
With digital document storage becoming a popular choice for many businesses along with the increased risk of hacking, the home for a company which describes their service as having “bullet-proof hosting” doesn’t sound like a bad option, well as long as you don’t make enemies of any governments in the process!
The final secure location we found was Granite Mountains near Salt Lake City in Utah. In 1965 the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints built the Granite Mountain Records Vault which has now become the world’s largest collection of genealogical records. The vault protects and preserves more than 3.5 billion images on microfilm, microfiche and digital media. The facility is naturally climate controlled creating the perfect environment for storing microfilm and is protected by armed guards and a 14 tonne nuclear blast resistant door.
The records are currently in the process of being digitized so that they can be made available through websites such as familysearch.com and ancestry.com; well at least we now know how those websites get access to all of that information about our family histories.
They certainly have one of the largest storage capacities in the world along with of course the added security of being located within a mountain.
The Serious Side to Security
Whilst the above are not your normal secure storage facilities the importance of protecting your business records should not be seen as any less important.
Every business handles documents with different levels of confidentiality and importance for both themselves and for their customers. The impact of the loss of such documents can range from simple inconvenience to financial penalty and serious reputational damage to your company.
It is critical therefore that as a business you ensure your documentation is protected from damage or loss whether accidental or deliberate.
We are not going to suggest that you need to locate a war bunker or start installing bomb proof doors and armed guards as it will certainly be excessive for most businesses. The place to start is by answering a few simple questions which will help you determine a realistic solution:
- the nature of the data – is it electronic or paper based, is it highly confidential and sensitive?
- does it fall within the Data Protection Act 1998 which will have some specific requirements on how you handle it?
- how often you need to access the information?
Obviously the more sensitive the data the more secure your storage solution should be. Personal data such as addresses, phone numbers and financial data belonging to your customers or employees should always be treated carefully. The Data Protection Act 1998 defines the law which governs people’s right to privacy with respect to the processing of personal data, therefore this data whether physical or digital should be kept highly secure.
Physical records are more susceptible to loss or damage so where a lot of data is held in this format it is imperative that your business storage is up to scratch including some form of back up.
Finally, leaked or altered information can have an incredibly negative effect so controlling accessibility to the information is also a major consideration.
Once you have assessed the information you hold and the potential risks of it being lost, damaged or falling into the wrong hands then you will be able to identify the right storage solution whether that is through off-site storage, scanning and digital storage or a combination of both.
At Scan Film or Store we can help you to complete this initial assessment of your business data and then come up with a cost effective document storage solution to meet your needs.
Contact the team on 0800 008 7229 for a no obligation assessment. Don’t forget our warehouse storage facilities are alarmed, protected and monitored 24/7 and you don’t need to climb a mountain to use them!