Traditional Self Storage: Is it the Right Choice for Your Business?

Space is tight in California’s urban centers—with occupancy costs at a jaw-dropping $113.84 per square foot in San Francisco. If given the choice, you might think about putting some of your business stuff in a traditional self storage unit and leasing out some of that extra space in your office formerly taken up by all those boxes of documents you’re required to keep for, well . . . ever. Maybe you think you’ll save a little money by going the traditional self storage route. But there’s a world of difference between traditional self storage and records management. Let’s talk about some of the updates in traditional self storage, and whether they’re sufficient for your business needs.

Valet Storage

One recent trend in the self storage space, according to real estate investor Hunter Thompson, is valet storage. The storage company handles all the hassle of moving stuff, while you get to relax. When you need your stuff back, they bring it wherever you want.

the business challenge

What businesses need to remember about valet storage, though, is that at the end of the day your stuff is still ending up in a regular storage unit, rather than in a secure facility devoted solely to record management. Even with valet storage, you’re vulnerable to some of the same hazards as with traditional self storage: improperly stacked boxes, break-ins, and environmental hazards.

Security? There’s an App for that

“Security” no longer means a sturdy padlock and some wrought-iron gates. Some companies are starting to offer HD cameras hooked up to DVRs, cloud-based monitoring, and keypad locks—all features you control with an app. “The ability to monitor and control your site remotely is a powerful management tool,” British Columbia security expert Bryan Sweeney told Inside Self Storage recently. “It provides peace of mind and reduces unnecessary trips to the site.”

the business challenge

However, this kind of basic, app-controlled, security doesn’t meet the needs of a business that needs a robust records management system. When Sweeney talks about management, he isn’t talking about managing your business records. Self storage facilities aren’t able to provide an audit trail, restricted, tracked employee access, GPS delivery vehicle tracking, or any of the other layers of security required for true peace of mind.

The More-Than-Store Mentality

All of these updates we’ve discussed are fine—for Mom and Dad moving from a house to a condo in Palm Beach. Businesses need more than just a place to put their boxes full of records—what you might think of as a “more-than-store” mentality. If your business needs to store records that are considered sensitive (i.e. records that include employee or medical patient information), you need to look at a company that’s an expert in record management. That means compliance, and not just with internal regulations. The European Union’s sweeping GDPR standards mean that if your company has an online presence and markets products overseas, you likely need to be GDPR compliant. California recently passed the California Consumer Privacy Act, which is being heralded as a near-equivalent of the EU’s GDPR. These regulations apply not just to digital records, but to physical records as well.

When you need more than just a place to store.

Corodata has specialized in record storage for more than seven decades. Your records are vital to your business—they deserve the best security and most cutting-edge techniques in record management, not just a storage unit. yes, i’m ready
Which brings us to the physical world. California, in particular, is facing severe environmental challenges. Given the record-shattering fires that have swept over the state in the last two years alone, the need for facilities that can withstand these challenges, and for the backing up of physical records, is paramount. Once physical records have been digitized, they, too, need extra layers of protection. Big data breaches will only increase as cybercriminals hone their craft, and no company wants to suffer the same consequences that have plagued companies like Yahoo and Equifax.

Before you Store

While thinking about your storage and records management options, here are some questions to consider:
  • Will any of these documents need to be destroyed according to a retention schedule?
  • What kind of access—including speed of access—will you need for these documents?
  • Is using a traditional self storage unit for your business documents compliant with California law?


San Francisco Office Investment Activity Picks Up In Q2 | Bisnow Using Security Technology to Enhance the Self Storage Customer Experience | Inside Self Storage What You Need to Know About California’s New Data Privacy Law | Harvard Business Review