FAQs

PRISM International represents companies who engage in commercial information management services. What follows is some helpful information in the form of frequently asked questions about the commercial information management industry.

Q: What is the commercial information management industry?
A: PRISM International defines this term as information outsourcing services performed on behalf of clients that are primarily centered on the following service areas: physical records management services (paper files); data protections services (media vaulting of computer backup tape or tape libraries); confidential destruction services (secure shredding services); and imaging services (digital or film-based conversion of paper records).

Q: Are there other services provided by PRISM International members?
A: Yes. These may include consulting services, e-vaulting (online backup) services, digital archiving services (long-term digital information storage), indexing or records inventory services, software reselling services, commercial moving services, temporary labor services, disaster recovery services, and other services.

Q: How big is the commercial information management industry?

A: Nobody really knows for certain. Because the industry is relatively small, there are no specific Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) or North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes to track the industry specifically. This means that in government-generated measurement documents such as the economic census, the commercial information management industry is not defined separately. The only remaining method of estimating industry size is through marketing outlets such as Yellow Page advertisements. Approximately 5,000 companies in the United States advertise for records storage. Some of these advertisers are quite small and are engaging in information management services on a very small scale as a side-business and not a dedicated information management business. When these types of businesses are set aside, approximately 1,500 dedicated commercial information management companies are estimated to exist within the United States. An equal number are estimated to exist in the remainder of the world. This translates to an industry that is roughly $5 billion in the United States and roughly the same size outside the United States.

Q: Is it safe to store sensitive company information with another company?
A: Yes, but you should spend time with your outsourcing partner in order to ensure their security processes, confidentiality policies, etc., meet your needs. Not all commercial information management companies are members of PRISM International. Membership is voluntary.

Q: Why should I store my information with a PRISM International member?
A: Because membership in the organization is voluntary, only those businesses who are concerned with improving their internal operations and becoming more professional are members. PRISM International members are involved in learning and applying industry best practices. They build valuable relationships with peers and work together to improve the industry overall. All PRISM International members are required to adhere to the organization’s code of ethics and invest their time and energy in developing resources and the industry’s body of knowledge.