Why Should I Look for a NARA-Approved Records Storage Facility?

Why Should I Look for a NARA-Approved Records Storage Facility?

NARA (the National Archives and Records Administration) creates stringent protocols for the security of records in certain industries. Companies who need to keep records stored under strict guidelines turn to storage facilities approved by NARA in order to ensure they’re in compliance with these guidelines.

Without NARA approval, a facility doesn’t offer the same level of security and protection, and that could put a company’s sensitive information at risk

What are NARA-Approved Records Storage Facilities?

Storage facilities that are NARA-approved have been vetted and accepted as meeting NARA standards for the storage of sensitive documents. NARA works with the US government as an independent agency, with a focus on preserving the National Archive. This archive is a collection of government and historic records.

NARA already has a network of storage facilities, but it also allows governmental agencies to work with commercial storage facilities of their own choosing, provided those facilities meet specific guidelines. The records management of government agencies and certain industries must be handled more carefully than other records storage.

There are strict specifications that have to be met for a storage facility to earn NARA approval and compliance. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Following all regional building codes for protection against natural disasters.
  • Using non-combustible materials for all building elements (except roofs that have compliant styles of sprinkler systems and membranes).
  • Floor load limits established by a licensed structural engineer.
  • Unrestricted access to roads, parking areas, and fire lanes must be available for emergency vehicles.

If an agency requires NARA-approved storage for its records, and wants to use a different facility, that facility must be willing to undergo the approval process and make any necessary changes. Otherwise, the agency will be required to choose another facility to remain in compliance with proper records storage procedures.

Benefits of Using NARA-Approved Records Storage Facilities

A NARA-approved facility is the best choice for ensuring the safety and security of records and archives. These facilities have multiple advantages over traditional storage options

Whether a company is required to store its records in compliance with NARA or it would just prefer the added security that offers, these facilities have benefits including security-cleared personnel, an auditable chain of custody, and comprehensive systems for fire and water protection, as well as other security measures.

By using a NARA-approved storage facility for document management and preservation, agencies and companies can have peace of mind. The records stored in these facilities are highly protected from fire, water, and other types of damage, including issues stemming from natural disasters. 

Additionally, the facilities that are approved by NARA are careful about their personnel, so agencies can feel secure in knowing that access to the records is being protected and handled correctly. 

Choosing a NARA-Approved Records Storage Facility

When choosing a NARA-approved facility for secure storage, it’s important to consider location, size, and access control, along with any upgrades or other security measures that are offered. NARA requirements have to be met for a facility to be approved, but some facilities go above and beyond the minimums. 

Asking questions about the approval process, how records are handled, who has access, and how employees are vetted can help make agencies more comfortable with choosing a storage facility. 

It’s also important to make sure the facility has the right features for a company’s or agency’s needs, including access options and the size of storage spaces, both now and for the future, when additional records are added.

Common Questions About NARA-Approved Records Storage Facilities

What is a NARA-approved records storage facility?

A NARA-approved records storage facility is one that has been vetted and accepted by the National Archives and Records Administration, and is considered a secure place for companies and government agencies to store records and documents for the National Archives.

Why is NARA approval important for records storage?

NARA approval is important for records storage because the records being stored at these facilities are part of the National Archives, and need to be preserved for historic or governmental significance.

What types of records and archives can be stored in NARA-approved facilities?

Any kind of records could technically be stored at a NARA-approved facility, but governmental agencies that have sensitive information in their records are typically the entities that use these facilities for their storage needs. Companies can also store sensitive records in NARA-approved facilities.

How do NARA-approved facilities ensure the safety and security of records and archives?

Records are protected in NARA-approved facilities through structural integrity and design, building codes and strength, trackable chains of custody, controlled access, and the security clearances of the facility’s employees.

What are the benefits of using a NARA-approved facility for document management and preservation?

The biggest benefits of using a NARA-approved facility for document preservation and management include security, protection, and peace of mind. Documents stored in this way are protected from the elements and secure when it comes to who can view them.

What factors should be considered when choosing a NARA-approved records storage facility?

When choosing a NARA-approved records facility, consider its location, its size, and the specifics of how records are handled there. NARA protocols have to be followed by all approved facilities, but beyond that some places may have additional security or other options.

What questions should be asked when evaluating a potential storage provider?

If your company or agency needs a NARA-approved location for document storage, that’s the first question to ask a potential storage provider. Beyond that, consider asking about access control and timing, security and protection systems, and the facility’s ability to handle the number of documents based  on its size and availability.

What services and features should be looked for in a NARA-approved facility?

Most agencies will want to look for controlled access, an auditable chain of custody, proper fire and water protections, vetted and security-cleared employees, and the size availability of the location to handle the number of documents needing storage. 

What are the most frequently asked questions about NARA-approved records storage facilities?

The most frequently asked questions about these storage facilities include what it means to have NARA approval, what kinds of access control the facility offers, and specifics of how the records are stored and handled, as well as space and cost information.

What resources are available for more information on NARA-approved facilities?

To get more information on NARA-approved facilities, companies and agencies can visit the National Archives for a list of records storage options by state.

Work With a NARA-Approved Records Storage Facility Today

If your agency or company needs NARA-approved records storage you can count on and the peace of mind that comes with it, contact Archive Corp today. You can store your records safely and securely, so you can focus on other areas that need your attention and know that your important and sensitive records are protected.

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