Iron Mountain gives BAE Systems the confidence that its highly confidential documents are in safe hands
Records stored in many disparate locations and facilities of varying quality expose customer documents to risk of loss or damage
Outsourcing records management to Iron Mountain assures the security and integrity of sensitive documents
Customer confidence through maintaining highest security standards and ability to provide critical documents rapidly
As one of the world’s leading defence groups, BAE Systems designs and manufactures products for air, land, and sea forces. With its headquarters in Farnborough, Hampshire, the company employs more than 100,000 people worldwide, providing cutting-edge products and services to customers in over 100 countries.
Back in 2004, the Military Aircraft sector of BAE Systems recognized that it had a potential problem: inactive paper records were archived in multiple locations ranging from cupboards to large containers. This caused problems when records had to be retrieved and exposed documents to the risk of loss or damage. Furthermore, BAE Systems needed to ensure it was fully adhering to the requirements of customer contracts in the management of hardcopy records.
The BAE Systems Military Aircraft sector invited six companies to tender for an end-to-end solution in 2005. Iron Mountain emerged as the successful contender and was awarded a five-year contract. Chris Sumner, Information and Media Services Manager for Military Aircraft, picks up the story: “We chose Iron Mountain because it was the only company able to offer an end-to-end service. Its UK coverage meant there would always be an Iron Mountain site conveniently close by.”
The documents that Iron Mountain would need to store for BAE Systems ranged from routine paperwork to confidential information. “Iron Mountain was able to demonstrate that its processes and facilities had been built to the exacting standards that we demand,” Chris continues.
“Customer confidence is a crucial factor in our business. Iron Mountain is a safe pair of hands in helping us provide the highest-level security standards for customers such as the MOD.”
Chris Sumner,Information and Media Manager
The service that Iron Mountain designed for Military Aircraft includes dedicated onsite teams of three people at Warton and two at Farnborough. These experts manage the entire process, including indexing, bar coding, boxing, storage, retrieval, and transport. They also offer advice and assistance through a front desk.
The operation is supported by IM Connect, the Iron Mountain online customer portal. Accessible by authorised BAE Systems personnel through their desktops, the system enables them to locate a stored document and request its retrieval. Chris Sumner says: “In the unlikely event that staff cannot identify the document, they can call the resident Iron Mountain team who will locate it for them.”
Paul Foster, Corporate Manager, Business Services for BAE Systems at Iron Mountain, says: “Even if an unauthorised person were to get access to the system, all they would see would be nine-digit barcodes rather than the contents of the documents.”
The majority of the documents that Iron Mountain handles for BAE Systems are classified up to restricted, approximately 200,000 cubic feet of which are stored at Iron Mountain facilities that fully meet the stringent standards demanded.
However, for more highly classified documents, Iron Mountain operates a secure 2,500 cubic foot vault. This is dedicated to BAE Systems and, as might be expected, the Iron Mountain people involved are security vetted by the MOD. A double-manned vehicle shuttles documents to and from the vault.
Iron Mountain also stores potentially degradable assets, such as magnetic tapes from test flights, in a facility that offers a controlled environment to reduce this risk.
In concert with BAE Systems’ policy on the retention and disposal of records, Iron Mountain catalogues the company’s documents according to their statutory retention periods, after which secure document destruction is carried out. In fact, the recent decommissioning of the Harrier aircraft and cancellation of the Nimrod project saw comprehensive programmes of secure document destruction.
“We chose Iron Mountain because it was the only company able to offer an end-to-end service. Its UK coverage meant there would always be an Iron Mountain site conveniently close by. Iron Mountain was able to demonstrate that its processes and facilities had been built to the exacting standards that we demand."
Chris Sumner,Information and Media Manager
Talking about the benefits of the relationship, Chris Sumner says: “Customer confidence is a crucial factor in our business. Iron Mountain is a safe pair of hands in helping us provide the highest-level security standards for customers such as the MOD.” That confidence extends to the availability of papers and their integrity. Document retrieval for BAE Systems is required within 24 hours and Iron Mountain has a 100 per cent record of meeting the required service level. Meanwhile, Iron Mountain offers secure storage facilities with restricted access, climate controlled environments, fire suppression and flood control systems.
In global defence contracting, it is vital to be able to provide government or investigative bodies with any documents that they may demand as quickly as possible. Iron Mountain helps ensure that BAE Systems meets that requirement. “With Iron Mountain, we can put a legal hold on documents so they can’t be destroyed or tampered with,” Chris says.
More evidence of that mutual confidence is offered by the fact that the contract has just been extended for a further five years. Chris Sumner concludes: “Other BAE Systems divisions such as Land Systems, Surface Ships, and Submarines have recognised our success and are now also considering Iron Mountain solutions.”