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Do you have any questions?
You can probably find the answer in our frequently asked questions.

1. Archives storage and management

The real core activity of Merak is the storage and management of archives of all shapes and sizes. We never miss an opportunity to further enhance our storage conditions. Each data carrier is handled in accordance to its own specific characteristics, the applicable international standards and your requirements. Examples? Clever packaging (such as the low-acid and water-repellent boxes or the pallet boxes which are available free of charge), control of the relative humidity and temperature, air purification through filters, low-UV lighting, fire prevention, fire fighting, draining floors, etc.

No. We are of the opinion that it must be possible to terminate your contract within a short period if you are not satisfied. That is why all contracts proposed by Merak are open-ended - meaning: for an indefinite period of time, unless you prefer otherwise. Contracts are terminated in accordance with agreed notice periods. These are much shorter for you than for Merak! Proof of our confidence in the continued satisfaction of our customers.

Merak will do this for you, continuously and in accordance with your requirements. Including any destruction, requests and new documents to be stored. And that is not all: you can choose between a regular update of your inventory or a permanent online inventory. In both cases you can find your documents in the blink of an eye. All this thanks to Merak's intuitive software and its diverse search functions.

There are various possibilities

  • At the archiving facility. You can come to our archiving centre and view your documents in one of the reading rooms. This may be an elegant approach during a company audit.
  • At your office. Merak can deliver the required documents to your office within a period set out by you.
  • By fax.
  • By email (following digitisation)
  • Through the internet (following digitisation)

No, and in any case cheaper than doing your own archiving. At Merak, you do not pay a fixed fee. You pay only for the volume you use (the number of boxes stored by us) and for the services you have requested for this volume. Archives storage and management are the core activities of Merak. That is why all archiving activities are carried out highly efficiently. This also benefits you, as we are able to deliver a high quality service at low costs.

Yes. Confidentiality is in fact sacrosanct for us. This is the route followed by your archive:

  • Your archives are packaged in anonymous boxes with a unique barcode. This barcode is the only way to identify a box.
  • Transport to Merak's archive – unless carried out by you – is carried out by Merak personnel solely responsible for transport.
  • Upon arrival of the documents, responsibility is assumed by the warehouse manager. The boxes are distributed by the computer across the warehouse depending on the available space, the dimensions and the weight of the boxes.
  • Upon arrival at their destination, the boxes are placed on racks by our archiving personnel.
  • Your anonymous archive is dispersed among tens of thousands of identical boxes which can only be identified with the aid of Merak's inventory system.
  • If this is not sufficient, Merak also offers the possibility to place your documents in a sealed boxed with a unique control number.

Yes. The following is insured:

(a) A standard replacement value for each archive box, should it be totally destroyed by fire, damage due to extinguishing a fire or loss;

  (b) The costs for the reconditioning of archives damaged by a disaster.;  

(c) The costs for recomposing your archives. These insurance terms and conditions are automatically included in your MERAK archiving contract.

Yes. All Merak archiving centres have several reading rooms. These are freely available and are selected depending on the volume to be viewed. You can of course make photocopies.

Yes. The boxes are sealed in your presence. The unique seal numbers are also mentioned on any related paperwork: inventory, delivery note and any proof of destruction. Any seal can be checked by you at any time: upon departure, receipt, destruction or whenever you wish.

Yes, of course. This certificate from Merak moreover goes into great detail and mentions the inventory number and description.

Yes. If you indicate when your archives must be destroyed when you store them with us, Merak will warn you when this date approaches and will ask you to confirm that you still want the documents destroyed. Once destroyed, you will receive a certificate with the details of the destroyed documents.

Yes. We will gladly draw up a cost comparison for you. Based on your archiving needs, we will calculate the costs for this year and coming years and provide you with a clear overview. This calculation will not contain any surprises: we will inform you beforehand of the unit price of all the services we (are able to) provide.

Yes. Merak has extensive capacity for the organisation of an archive transfer taking care of the inventory, packaging and moving of documents. The Merak archive centres also have ample space to immediately and permanently store large volumes.

At any time. 24 hours per day, 7 days per week – including bank holidays. And also online if you prefer.

Only people authorised by you. You can also restrict this authorisation to certain archives to which he/she is allowed access. But there is more: thanks to Merak's watertight scanning system you also know exactly who has viewed or requested which document where and when! This information is also useful for the cost control of your archives as it will give you an indication of the costs per department.

Yes. We will gladly provide you with the required references. We can even adapt them to your archiving requirements.

2. Backup storage

Merak has watertight systems with various double-checks to carry out the rotation of your backups entirely in line with the schedule.

Transportation to and from the customer is carried out by Merak's own courier service. All our vehicles are in permanent contact with our central dispatching department. The dispatchers are thus aware at any time of the location of all vehicles, can adjust their routes and reconstruct the routes taken. To avoid condensation, Merak gradually changes the temperature of the magnetic carriers from storage temperature to room temperature. For this reason, the cargo space of the courier vehicles is insulated and equipped with a smart temperature control system. In this way, the magnetic carriers are ready for use when they arrive at the customer – even under extreme weather conditions.

The speed with which non-routine exchanges of magnetic carriers are carried out is determined in agreement with the customer when concluding the contract. The period between your request and our delivery, as expressed in hours, is guaranteed in your contract.

Each action is checked automatically and/or manually several times in several ways. Using the unique barcodes for each backup and each recipient, the computer automatically checks that the correct magnetic carriers have been delivered to the correct person.

The quality and reliability of Merak's services is based on the ISO 9001 procedures and various other standards. Some examples? Merak's computer system is secured by simultaneously registering servers. We use data lines provided by several telephone companies and wher power disruptions occur, our own emergency generators kick in. All exchanges of carriers are carried out by our own courier service, who observe extensive security measures.

All magnetic carriers are packaged in transport cases which are sealed in your presence. They cannot be opened without breaking the seal. Each seal has a unique number stated on the inventory and related documents.

Definitely. In Belgium, thunder and lightning occur frequently. Magnetic carriers stored at Merak are protected against this. In fact we take things one step further and also protect them against e-bombs - explosives generating a strong electromagnetic pulse which destroys all electromagnetic carriers. These bombs can be produced from simple components and at a low cost, for example by terrorists wishing to disrupt the economy.

The majority of Merak's customers prefer that their name is kept confidential. However, in certain cases we can approach customers who we provide with similar services to ask them to share their Merak experiences with you.

No. The routine schedule is set out in writing when your contract with Merak is drawn up. From that moment on, all manipulations are fully automatic, without the need to arrange anything. Additionally, you can adjust the schedule at any time.

Each customer of Merak obtains a full inventory with reports on all manipulations of his magnetic carriers. You can also view this inventory online if you prefer.

Yes. They are protected against indiscretions, access, theft, fire, high temperatures, humidity, water, magnetic influence, plane crashes, lightning and electromagnetic pulses. Do you have any specific questions? Please do not hesitate to contact us.

3. Demagnetisation

By demagnetising magnetic carriers, the polarity of the metal particles is rearranged. These metal particles enable you to store data by way of a magnet which alternatingly attracts the particles in different directions. This is how a computer records ones and zeros - the binary counterparts of your data.

If you place the carrier (tape or hard disc) into a strong magnetic field, the metal particles are dispersed into random directions. This means that any data stored are removed – forever. The tape or disc is then ready to be reused.

Simple in theory, but more complex in practice, seeing that there is a whole range of formats and densities (the recording density of a carrier). These parameters require specific equipment to correctly demagnetise all your tapes and disks.

The key reason for demagnetising your tapes and discs is ultimate security. Demagnetising offers the best protection for companies and organisations against theft of their data. It also means that you do not have to physically destroy the carriers. You are able to reuse or recycle them, which is more environmentally responsible than destroying and replacing them. Proper demagnetisation removes all data, forever. Audio, video and data signals: they can never be retrieved. This applies to hard disks, floppy disks, tapes and other magnetic carriers.

Does your company need new servers, laptops, desktops or backup tapes? Don’t forget to demagnetise the old material. It is the only way in which you can be sure that recorded data will never fall into the wrong hands.

A hard disk smashed to smithereens or a tape cut into thousands of pieces will not be of any use to the average computer user, but you will not believe what experts are able to reconstruct. With endless patience and a lot of cutting and pasting, they can restore the data on your damaged carriers. Demagnetising offers a watertight solution: the carrier stays in one piece, but the data are irretrievably lost. Nobody can retrieve them, not even with the most advanced equipment. They are gone.

You want to be sure? Just let us know: we well come and demagnetise your carriers onsite. It takes less than one minute for a disk or tape.

The last step in the production of a magnetic carrier is to demagnetise it. The metal particles on a carrier – which will store your magnetic information – are put into a random order with a strong magnet. This removes any signal. The carrier is clean and ready to use. Your old discs and tapes are full to the brim with data. They may even have been overwritten a few times. Sometimes old data can remain on the carrier. This slows down the processing time of your computer. By regularly demagnetising your tapes and discs all ghost signals will disappear. Your carriers are returned to their original condition and you can literally start again with a clean slate.

Magnetic media record data with the use of oxide particles or metal particles. When you delete a file, the computer places the particles in series or lines. If you then overwrite the file, the particles forming the new signals change direction. But any other lines remain unchanged. This can cause images to be of lower quality and rewriting errors to occur in new data. Demagnetising completely removes the old remaining lines. And with this the chance of rewriting errors.

Unfortunately not. Manufacturers give some carriers header information. Of course, this information also disappears when the carrier is demagnetised, which renders it useless. This applies to all hard disks and some tape cartridges. If you are not sure whether or not your carrier will be reusable after demagnetising, you can ask us – without any obligation. We will gladly give you additional information about the possibilities to maintain your carriers in top condition.

4. Digitisation

Each document is characterised in your DMS with a barcode. This barcode determines the correct electronic category for each type of document. Merak then scans, for instance, the signed documents and provides you with a CD with your barcode as the index. Your raw data are then loaded onto your system by you or a Merak employee and linked to the correct position in your database.

This service can be provided through a fixed exchange schedule. A Merak courier will visit you each day. You hand the courier all documents to be scanned and the following day you can view them on your PC in your familiar database.

Merak will sit with you to draw up a detailed plan for your project. Based on a thorough analysis of the type of documents and required indexing, a personalised demo CD/web page is drawn up. This demo will then be elaborated depending on your requirements. When you approve the demo, the operational employee responsible for your project will be ready to answer any questions. In agreement with you, a schedule is then drawn up for each project.

Together with a Merak advisor, you decide on the required degree of indexation and the archiving method for the electronic copies and originals. Advanced Merak software will index each document in accordance with your specification: based on fixed fields (e.g. date or customer), barcode or integral text (OCR). If you have metadata in a database (Excel, Access), Merak's software can link these up with your data based on a unique key. This will save you a lot of manual work. The advantage is that all your existing inventory information will not disappear but will be made available on the data carrier of your preference.

An electronic archive is only as good as the simplicity with which it can be viewed. With Merak's software, you can easily find the required documents, ready to be printed or emailed. Merak Archive Online is a high-performance internet solution. In this way you can even share documents between branches or with suppliers. The electronic archive is held on secured Merak webservers and can be viewed through the internet. Without any additional investment by your company in servers, backup procedures or software installation! Please note that Merak only offers a secure option. Offering a secure and non-secure option only in order to be able to offer a more interesting price would not be in your interest, as we would not be able to offer you any security, despite what others may say.

If hosting is not required, the scans will be delivered to you on a CD-ROM/DVD, with a backup in the electronic bunker if required.

Documents can also be made available on an FTP server. We can moreover provide hosting of your digital copies on our super-secure server.

At Merak you only pay the variable cost of the ‘electronic space’ actually used by you and the number of actually made scans. Your standard subscription to the Merak Archive Online will always include a certain number of users. This means that you know the all-inclusive price without extra charges for used bandwidth or the number of downloads. You can of course change your contract at any time to include indexing, viewing or storage.

Merak is fully aware of the industrial value of your documents and has therefore invested in the required infrastructure to be able to provide the entire digitisation process in-house. This also serves as a guarantee at Merak for quality control and respect for the confidentiality of your documents. All Merak services have obtained the ISO 9001 certificate. Merak's webservers are >99% uptime with multiple ‘mirroring’. In Merak's archiving centres, your physical documents are stored under optimum conditions. The e-bunker offers an optional storage method for backups. Highly secured with a biometric security system and immune to electromagnetic bombs, lightning and plane crashes.

Merak is your one-stop partner to carry out the entire process of electronic archiving: scanning, indexing, viewing, integration with your document management system. But paper originals too are safe in Merak's conditioned archiving spaces or they can be destroyed.

The electronic data are either stored on the duplicated Merak servers or delivered to you on a CD-ROM/DVD with a backup kept safe in the electronic bunker if required.

The advantages of scanning and electronic storage of documents:

  • smaller volume due to the thousand-fold reduction;
  • faster due to the super-fast search on e.g. date or customer number;
  • cheaper as scanning avoids years of physical storage;
  • more secure due to the use of a Digipass at the Merak website and the copy which can be stored in the Merak e-bunker;
  • more efficient as Merak has its own scanning centre, meaning that documents follow a secure and efficient route. This also gives us the flexibility to adapt your project to your requirements/size.

Documents extremely suitable for electronic archiving are:

  • Unwieldy documents (building plans)
  • Valuable documents (deeds)
  • Active or manually signed documents (contracts, invoices, delivery notes)
  • Shared documents (layout designs).

Merak's industrial scanners can tackle any format up to A0 (plans) – even double-sided, in colour or on tracing paper. Your documents are standard scanned at 200dpi but for plans you can choose to have a resolution of, for instance, 400dpi.

Even older documents or documents damaged by water can be scanned. Thanks to the high quality of our scanning equipment, the result of the digital images is often surprising.

All Merak procedures are ISO 9001 certified.

Merak is the perfect partner for your electronic archiving:

  • Collection of documents to be scanned
  • Digitising of any format
  • Inventories of boxes and their content
  • Indexing on fixed fields or integral text recognition
  • Viewing with Merak Online software or on CD-ROM/DVD
  • Integration with your document management system or ERP
  • Storage and backups of electronic archives
  • Destruction or storage of original documents

Our archive specialists will review with you what your most efficient option is and will gladly assist you with your cost-benefit analysis!

5. Safe Cloud

24 hours per day, 7 days per week

Layout and access can be determined by the customer.

By using a personal pin code and associated Digipass.

Of each document a hash is calculated the moment it is added to the archive. Once registered, a file cannot be changed.

Documents are stored in an encrypted format. All viewings are registered in a log file.

Removal takes place by Merak upon request from the customer or an authorised person.

All log-ins and downloads are registered in statistics. The statistics are made available in a simple way.

Zero Eurocents – the invoice is made up according to the used number of GB.

Based on predefined indexes (keywords) or based on the content of the documents (by way of text recognition).

6. Climate chamber

Merak offers storage of your archives on any type of carrier. Laboratory archives refer specifically to all archiving related to laboratory research, such as laboratory reference material. ULT archive is an acronym for Ultra-Low Temperature archive. In this type of archive all material is stored at very low temperatures, even down to -90°C. Both services fulfill the OESO regulations for Good laboratory Practice.

Freezing the material takes place in Ultra-Low Temperature (ULT) freezers.

Merak is aware of both sets of regulations, and its systems and procedures easily meet the federal regulations as well as the OESO regulations for Good Laboratory Practice.

All packagings are only identified based on the barcode, unless a customer requires otherwise. Merak can also seal your boxes. A precise allocation of duties ensures the application of strict procedures and absolute confidentiality.

Specially trained fulltime security personnel and frequent audits ensure strict observation.

Fire prevention and fire fighting is ensured by automatic systems adapted to the various services of Merak.

All Merak sites are equipped with emergency generators which are sufficiently powerful to produce the required electricity in the event of emergencies and power disruptions.

Fire prevention and fire fighting is ensured by automatic systems adapted to the various services of Merak.

It is one of Merak's basic principles that we will not offer any service unless we have preliminary proof that we can carry it out to perfection and unless we have obtained the required licences. Merak conforms to the applicable national regulations as well as the international regulations of the OESO for Good Laboratory Practice.

This is possible 24/7 – the actual speed is determined by you in agreement with Merak when entering into the contract. You can determine how often you add or remove documents.

No, you do not have to invest in anything and only pay for the volume of the stored archives, as long as you keep the archives.

You still have questions?

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