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Are your documents secure? Alaska Archives exists to protect and preserve the privacy of Alaska.

Secure document storage and the proper destruction of outdated files can be a nightmare for many businesses, especially during these times when fraud and identity theft are reaching epidemic proportions in America. To that, add new stringent government guidelines for the management and storage of legal files, especially those that contain private personal information of clients and customers.

Alaska Archives in Anchorage, a division of Relo Information Management Inc., can provide a solution for companies being buried alive in documents and that need either a secure, temperature-controlled storage facility or an industrial-size paper shredder. They also have a halon gas vault for the storage of computer backup tapes.

"We are the largest document-storage company in Alaska," said Jon Kaplan, general manager. "From an archives' aspect, we store documents and protect them from earthquake and fire.

"And when our clients need their documents, we deliver them and then pick them back up and re-file them back in the box. Then we can shred them at the end of their useful lifecycle, which is determined by the client."

Our Clients

Alaska Archives has 15 employees and nearly 800 clients in Anchorage, including three major hospitals, four federal agencies, 76 law firms and about 180 state government offices. Some of their clients only use the document archiving services while others use both the shredding and archiving services.

"About 38 percent of the companies listed in your magazine's (ABM) Corporate 100 List use our services," said Kaplan. "We have more than 350,000 boxes of documents stored in our 50,000-square-foot facility."

He also said that the company has been growing by nearly 25,000 boxes a year. The first two months of 2005, they added some 8,700 boxes. Alaska Archives has grown so fast that in January, the company had to expand its storage facilities and added 6,600 square feet of secure storage space.

Security and Safety

Security and safety of the stored materials are a top priority, according to Kaplan. He said that his facility is a Class A warehouse and has been designed with backups for almost every system. There is a central alarm system that is monitored by a security company.

The ceilings have a fire-sprinkler system with special heads that are placed eight feet apart and are scheduled to go off one at a time. According to Kaplan, the system is designed to sense the movement of water within its water lines, and when that happens, the fire department is automatically alerted.

The storage racks, on which the boxes sit, are specially designed, according to Kaplan, who said, "They are engineered to exceed the seismic four-specification designated for this area. I don't just meet the specifications; I work to exceed them.

"For example, I've demanded heavier grade metals for our storage shelves to help withstand earthquakes. They also have mesh bottoms where the boxes sit. The mesh shelving allows water from the sprinkler system to run down through to the lower boxes. That way the water won't be trapped on the upper shelves.

"We take all of this very seriously, and that's what our clients count on. Because if a box of dog food gets destroyed, you replace it, but if a box of documents goes away, it will never be replaced."

People Security

People also are major factors in security. According to Kaplan, all personnel who work for Alaska Archives have a background check, and everyone entering the building is required to sign a log. They also are recorded on video camera. There also are 14 security cameras strategically placed throughout the facility, so every square foot of the storage area is photographed 24 hours a day.

Heart of the Operation

The computer network system, which is the heart of the operation, has a back up, and the database is saved once each hour throughout the day. Also, there are three back-up power systems, according to Kaplan, who says he is neurotic about security and safety procedures.

The cost to clients using the storage service is $50 a month for up to 100 boxes, which are 10x12x15 inches in size. The boxes cost $2.95 each and are constructed of heavy cardboard.

Shredding

The other major help provided to businesses is document destruction. Depending on the quantity of paper to be shredded and the kinds client services used with Alaska Archives, costs for shredding will vary but is usually around 30 cents a pound. They use a 30-horse-power industrial shredder that can shred 4,000 pounds of paper per hour. The company currently destroys between 40 tons and 70 tons of paper a month.

"We are proud of that figure because we save trees," said Kaplan. "Once the paper is shredded, we bundle it and place it into a truck and take it to the recycling plant."

Regardless of the service a business uses, Kaplan says the client can feel comfortable that the job will be done right and feel safe with Alaska Archives, who will always stay true to its mission: "To protect and preserve the privacy of Alaska."
COPYRIGHT 2005 Alaska Business Publishing Company, Inc.
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Author:Martin, Gary L.
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Geographic Code:1U9AK
Date:May 1, 2005
Words:844
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