‘Archive’ – noun:- a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people.
In general, archives consist of records that have been selected for permanent or long-term preservation on grounds of their enduring cultural, historical, or evidentiary value. They contain primary source documents that are accumulated over the course of an individual or organisation’s lifetime, providing evidence of activities and telling us more about those individuals and institutions.
Archive storage for businesses may be kept indefinitely to retain an organisation’s history, or for a limited time as a legal requirement. Archived documents may be used to find proof, gather research data, to illustrate, illuminate or explain previous actions or procedures. Well maintained archives are, therefore, wholly important to any organisation.
Archived documents can be vitally important for a wide range of functions. For example, businesses, governments, and other institutions utilise records storage for retrospective policy analysis and for continuity in administration. Government archives document the responsibilities of government and the rights of its citizens.
Engineers may use historic plans, maps, reports and specifications for information on the location, age, and physical characteristics of an infrastructure.
Historical preservationists use archived documents such as photographs, blueprints, and drawings to guide authentic restoration by helping determine the original appearance of a building.
Medical researchers can access patient files and other records in the study of genetic and familial diseases and to trace the impact of epidemics.
Educators may use historical records to supplement textbook and lecture presentations, enriching local history courses with immediacy and allowing students to study key source materials.
Archive records are also often essential in legal matters—to document agreements, substantiate claims, and prove contentions.
In 2017, archive data was used as evidence in the prosecution of a computer hacker named Fabio Gasperini. In 2014, Gasperini was responsible for infecting more than 150,000 computers with malware he created. It then installed malware that set up a super-user account, stole system username and passwords, sent clicks to online ads, and scanned for other computers to create a botnet to be used for future denial-of-service attacks.
The prosecution found evidence against Gasperini, tracking the servers hosting the malware back to him and finding a test copy of the virus in his personal email. A key part of the evidence was that websites hosting advertisements that his malware clicked on were registered under his name, however, Gasperini was able to delete his Google email account and his Facebook account after his arrest, as well as his hard drives being erased. This is where archival evidence came into play.
The archive data used was from Archive.org’s Wayback Machine, which is a digital archive that records snapshots of websites across the internet throughout their history. Screenshots of Wayback Machine’s records of the websites that hosted Gasperini’s ads were brought forward by the prosecution. Initially, Gasperini successfully argued that evidence from the Wayback Machine’s archives could not be used as evidence because they could not be adequately authenticated as legitimate and untampered, however, thanks to a testimony from the Internet Archive's office manager, who explained exactly how the Archive captures and preserves evidence of the contents of the internet, the evidence was deemed as legitimate.
The Internet Archive’s representative explained how the Wayback Machine works by crawling over the web with bots that automatically fetch as many pages as they can find and store it all in a searchable public database, effectively snapshotting the world's websites on a given day. The representative also testified that the prosecution's screenshots of the Wayback Machine's archive of Gasperini's webpages matched the contents of the Internet Archive, which, combined, created a sufficient degree of authenticity to use as valid evidence and resulting in a successful prosecution and sentencing of Fabio Gasperini.
The usefulness of historical records is widely applicable, with many uses proving to be exceptionally important. It is also clear that the way in which archived documents are stored is of high importance.
Safe, secure, and organised storage is of the utmost importance for anyone looking to retrieve documents for use. Certain institutions opt to store their archive materials privately, and provided they have the facilities and workforce to do so, this can prove to be a successful method. However, many institutions lack facilities with the appropriate level of security and protection and lack the personnel to store their archive materials in a manner that is suitable for their retrieval needs and in a way that would meet data protection regulation requirements. For the latter, off-site professional document storage is the best solution.
Professional document storage provides its customers with a range of benefits. Collection and delivery services may be available, which saves the customer time and resources in retrieving various documentation. Special services, such as rapid scanning of documents to customers, may also be available, which supports businesses needing copies of documents at short notice.
There are a whole host of good reasons to store your documents with a professional service provider and here are 5 top benefits for doing just that:
1. Space saving
To put it simply, by storing your archive data off-site, you make more space on-site. Storing boxes upon boxes of historic documentation with a professional storage provider is a great way to make and save space in your working environment, allowing more room for office equipment, facilities, or perhaps even more personnel to join your team. A more spacious work environment can also make for a safer work environment. By outsourcing your storage, you can create a workspace with fewer obstructions and trip hazards and reduce the risk of potential work-related injuries from moving boxes and files. For more tips on space saving in the workplace, click HERE.
Off-site storage facilities, such as ours, must meet certain security standards in order to successfully operate as a professional storage provider. Our storage facility proudly boasts full CCTV coverage in addition to a security team on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Our site is also protected by full perimeter fencing, vehicle barriers, and all our entry points are fob access controlled. Our storage customers are safe in the knowledge that their confidential information is kept safe and secure at all times.
3. Organised Storage
Documents put into storage must be easily located and retrieved when required. Our document management systems ensure our customers’ data is accounted for and stored exactly where it should be, so that we can retrieve and deliver them when they are needed. Our storage method also protects against total loss of archive storage; should an accident occur, such as a fire – if, despite all our safety measures, the worst were to happen, no customer would lose more than a segment of their archive data.
4. Auditing made easier
Our highly organised storage method, along with the full audit trails we provide to our customers make proceedings far more efficient for them when they are subject to an audit. Should our customers require a particular file from their assortment of stored documents, we can effortlessly provide them with exactly what they need, exactly when they need it. We also make sure that we are up to date with the latest rules and regulations for data protection, ensuring a GDPR compliant archive storage service for our customers.
5. Prevent loss of data
By storing your archive materials with a professional storage provider like ourselves, you can rest assured that your sensitive data will not go astray. Our management systems ensure that all your files are always accounted for. In addition, our service vehicles are fitted with GPS trackers for security purposes, which also allows us to know exactly where our customers’ documents are, even when in transit.
Keeping our customers’ archive files stored securely and correctly has been our profession since 1980. Over the past 40 years, we have developed a strong reputation, built on the trust we have earned from our customers.
The Maltings Document Storage Solutions provides a first-class service to all its customers, with collection and delivery available, along with scan on demand services, full audit trails and management reports upon request. Our fully trained archivists are vetted with a full DBS check prior to employment, adding to the high standard of security we maintain to ensure your archive data is looked after the way it should be – with the utmost care and professionalism.