5 Reasons You Need Fireproof Filing Cabinets

While filing cabinets probably won’t be the most glamorous thing you’ve ever shopped for, they can be the most important for protecting valuable company records, especially if you decide to invest in fireproof filing cabinets.

While the digital age and its promises of paperless offices might make buying a filing cabinet seem old-fashioned and unnecessary, ensuring your business can keep running in spite of everything from fires and natural disasters to server crashes and hackers will never go out of style.

Not convinced you should file old style? Here are five reasons you need fireproof filing cabinets:

Cloud servers are still untested when it comes to security and reliability.

Cloud servers are still untested when it comes to security and reliability.

1. The cloud is vulnerable. For all its buzz helping enterprises both store vital information and making it easier for approved users to access that information, a cloud server’s ability to protect your most important documents is, well, a little misty. “There is no Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval that says this vendor does good, secure cloud computing. A company or an individual looking to move to the cloud is going to have to make a huge leap of faith that their data is being protected,” Thomas Parenty, managing director of Parenty Consulting, a Hong Kong-based information security consulting firm, told CNN.com. Records are vulnerable to server crashes and if you don’t have hard copies of those documents, they could be lost forever. What’s more, hackers have been able to gain access to sensitive documents companies store online; anything from financial records to personnel information to company secrets. You can protect your records from computer crashes and thieves by storing them in a locked fireproof filing cabinet.

Plan to digitize all of your records? You'll need one of these and a whole lotta time.

Plan to digitize all of your records? You’ll need one of these and a whole lotta time.

2. Going digital is expensive. If you’re a long-running enterprise, chances are you have years, maybe even decades, worth of paper records in storage. Creating digital copies of all of those files is not only time consuming, it’s also expensive (consider the prospecting of either scanning paperwork or having someone spend hours and hours on data entry. Not to mention the cost of paying a cloud storage enterprise to store them). Instead of investing time and money into a digitizing endless paperwork, improve the storage itself. Even if you do go digital for parts of your enterprise, you’ll want to keep hard copies of your most important documents for backup in the event of a server crash.

Losing your company's most critical files in a fire could prove to be the end of your business.

Losing your company’s most critical files in a fire could prove to be the end of your business.

3. Protecting business records is critical. Losing vital documents in a fire or other emergency can be a disaster within a disaster for company operations. Eighty percent of companies that suffer a catastrophic fire go out of business within two years of the blaze in part because of the loss of irreplaceable records, according to FireKing. Safeguarding them with a fireproof file cabinet will make it easier to rebuild your business in the event of a disaster. BusinessInsider.com recently created a list of documents that should be saved forever.
These include:
Permits
Tax records
Bylaws
Leases
Board minutes
Formation documents
Stock certificates
Mortgages
Other important records include:
Contracts and agreements that prove ownership
Personnel and payroll records
Client files
Standard operating procedures
Account histories and shipping records
Tax records

Inexpensive metal file cabinets might be cost effective, but they won't do much to protect paper in the event of a fire.

Inexpensive metal file cabinets might be cost effective, but they won’t do much to protect paper in the event of a fire.

4. Standard file cabinets won’t cut it. Think your paper is safe in a standard metal file cabinet? Think again. Paper burns at 400 degrees and most structure fires are much hotter than that; a standard metal file cabinet is not equipped to protect paper at high temperatures. (Want proof? Check out this video from FireKing). High-quality fireproof filing cabinets come with a rating from the Underwriter’s Laboratory, a nonprofit, independent testing organization, which specifies what temperatures the cabinet can withstand and for how long. For instance, the internal temperature of a Class 350, one hour-rated cabinet will not reach over 350 degrees when exposed to external temperatures of 1700 degrees for one hour.

Everything from a neglected coffee pot to old wiring can spark a fire in an office building.

Everything from a neglected coffee pot to old wiring can spark a fire in an office building.

5. Fires are more common than you think. According to the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, each year in the U.S. fires kill more than 3,000 people die, injure more than 18,000 and cause $18 billion in property damage. For businesses, the causes might surprise you. “You hear a lot about electrical fires and while wires do short on occasion, most of the time people at the end of a work day or week forget to shut off a microwave, a coffee pot or a computer,” George Capko, vice president and engineering hazards manager with FM Global told FacilitiesNet.com. Everything from faulty wiring to arson to employee oversight can cause a fire, but you can help lessen the impact by using fireproof file cabinets to protect documents. Not only will they ensure your records aren’t destroyed by fire, many are at least somewhat waterproof (for when those sprinklers go off) and impact-tested in the event a building collapses. Because of these factors, in addition to fires, these cabinets can also be useful in the event of flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes and other weather-related threats.

Start shopping for your fireproof filing cabinet on Arnolds.com.

Photos courtesy of FutUndBeidl/Flickr Kai Hendry/Flickr, Matthew Cornell/Flickr, David Carroll/Flickr and Kiran Foster/Flickr

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