What are the pros and cons of off site storage?

Offsite storage refers to storing data backups or archives at a remote location, away from a company’s primary data center or office. The goal of offsite storage is to ensure access to copies of critical data in the event of a disaster or disruption at the main site. Some key advantages of offsite storage include improved security, accessibility, cost savings, scalability and reliability.

However, offsite storage also comes with some downsides like lack of control, compliance risks, and dependence on internet connectivity. Overall, offsite storage provides vital data protection and business continuity benefits for most organizations if implemented properly.

This article provides an overview of the main pros and cons of using offsite storage solutions to help businesses evaluate if it is the right choice for their needs.

Improved Data Security

One of the biggest advantages of offsite storage is improved data security against theft, natural disasters, and reducing onsite points of failure. By keeping data in a separate geographical location, companies protect against site failures like fires, floods, or other natural disasters that could damage on-premise servers and backup systems. Offsite storage facilities utilize stringent physical security and surveillance to prevent unauthorized access and theft. Data stored offsite is not vulnerable to tampering or destruction by malicious employees. Furthermore, offsite backups ensure data remains intact and accessible even if onsite servers crash due to hardware failure, software issues, or cyber attacks.

According to Vital Records Control, offsite storage “protects companies from catastrophic loss” by maintaining redundant copies of data at secure facilities often hundreds of miles apart. Geographically distributed backups ensure no single incident can compromise all data assets and prevent recovery.


One potential downside of offsite storage is potential delays in data retrieval. Since the data is stored remotely, it may take more time to access when needed compared to onsite storage solutions. Users are dependent on having a stable internet connection to be able to access their offsite data quickly.

According to one source, “Unlike with digital files and onsite storage, an offsite storage facility may not be able to provide instant access for retrieval of physical records or files when needed.”[1] This delay could present challenges in time-sensitive situations.

However, many offsite storage providers have high-speed networks and redundancy built in to minimize delays. The level of accessibility can vary considerably depending on the specific provider and service plan.

Cost Savings

Offsite data storage can lead to significant cost savings compared to maintaining servers onsite. According to Record Nations, the costs of purchasing and maintaining filing cabinets and server space onsite can add up to thousands of dollars per year. Migrating data storage offsite eliminates these costs by removing the need for physical servers and infrastructure.

In particular, offsite storage reduces expenses associated with real estate and energy consumption. The physical space required for onsite servers, including electricity, cooling, and maintenance, contributes heavily to operating costs. Storing data in the cloud or at a remote facility removes these overheads. According to analysis by EY, offsite storage can cost as little as $5-15 per box per month, compared to upwards of $100 per box for onsite storage.

By leveraging offsite servers, organizations can allocate funding and resources previously tied up in physical storage infrastructure to other business priorities. The potential savings make offsite storage an appealing option for companies looking to optimize budgets.


One of the major benefits of offsite data storage is scalability. With offsite storage, you can easily add more storage space as your data needs grow, without having to purchase additional hardware. This level of scalability would be difficult and costly to achieve with onsite storage (CPA Practice Advisor).

Offsite storage providers utilize economies of scale to offer unlimited capacity. You can scale up or down on demand, only paying for what you need. There are no upfront infrastructure costs. This level of flexibility enables you to efficiently align storage with business needs (IMS).

With offsite storage solutions like public cloud and private cloud, adding storage takes just a few clicks. You can expand available capacity in real-time without needing to install equipment. This agility and ability to quickly scale is a key advantage of offsite data storage solutions.


Offsite data storage provides high reliability through service level agreements (SLAs) with reputable vendors. SLAs guarantee system uptime and data availability, with financial penalties if vendors fail to meet targets. For example, vendors may promise 99.9% uptime and 24/7 monitoring to quickly address any outages or disruptions. This ensures continuous access to data with limited downtime risks. According to CPA Practice Advisor, offsite storage vendors invest heavily in backup power, redundancy, and disaster recovery systems to honor SLAs. The strong financial incentives of SLAs lead vendors to maximize reliability and minimize disruptions.


One of the main downsides of off-site storage is having less physical control over your documents and data. When files are stored off-site with a third-party vendor, you become dependent on their systems and processes for managing and accessing your information. This loss of hands-on control can be concerning for some organizations, especially when it comes to sensitive or confidential data.

Relying on an outside company also means you may experience delays if you suddenly need to retrieve something from storage. You have to go through the vendor instead of being able to access the files directly on your own premises. Some businesses are not comfortable with this loss of autonomy over their physical records and data.

However, reputable off-site storage providers have robust protocols in place to keep information secure and accessible. With proper due diligence in selecting a vendor, the risks of relinquishing direct control can be minimized. Overall, the benefits of off-site storage often outweigh the control issue for most organizations if the right provider is chosen.


Offsite storage can help organizations meet regulatory requirements for data backup and retention. For example, HIPAA regulations require healthcare providers to maintain patient records for 6 years (https://vitalrecordscontrol.com/resources/data-protection/advantages-of-offsite-data-storage/). The SEC requires broker-dealers to preserve records like trade confirmations and account ledgers for 3-6 years. Financial institutions must retain records under regulations like GLBA and Dodd-Frank (https://www.armstrongarchives.com/off-site-document-storage/).

By keeping data offsite, companies can comply with data retention rules and access records if audited or investigated. Offsite facilities provide security features like fire suppression and anti-theft systems. Storing data offsite and implementing rigorous backup procedures is part of regulatory compliance best practices.

Best Practices

When implementing an offsite storage solution, it’s important to follow best practices to maximize efficiency, security, and cost savings. According to experts, ideal use cases for offsite storage include backups, archives, and disaster recovery [1]. Offsite storage should be integrated with onsite backups as part of a comprehensive 3-2-1 strategy – with 3 copies of data, 2 different media types, and 1 offsite copy [2].

Regularly test restores from offsite backups and align frequency with service demands. For example, daily incremental backups to a local device, weekly full backups to offsite storage [1]. Maintain accurate inventory records of offsite media and store tapes properly to maximize lifespan [3].

Top Providers

Some of the top vendors providing off-site storage solutions include:

  • Iron Mountain (https://www.ironmountain.com/) – A leading provider of storage and information management services, offering solutions for records management, data backup and recovery, document management, secure shredding, and more.
  • Access (https://www.accesscorp.com/) – Offers compliant offsite document and media storage services, specializing in information governance, digital transformation, and cloud services.
  • Vital Records Control (https://vitalrecordscontrol.com/) – Provides specialized offsite storage solutions including underground storage, vital records protection, and tape backup services.

The top vendors offer secure, compliant offsite storage facilities and services to help organizations manage their physical and digital records, documents, and data. They provide expertise in records and information management, utilize advanced technologies, and allow for remote 24/7 access to stored materials. When comparing providers, key factors include security, compliance standards, access and retrieval capabilities, experience and reputation, and cost.