As we move faster toward an increasingly digital world, the importance of digitizing data makes its way to the top of corporate productivity lists. The trend toward going digital accelerated as companies realized its many benefits in the last decade. The pandemic fast tracked digital adoption and businesses, not already fully-digital, scrambled to keep pace.
Out of the gate, everyday documents widely in use are the first to be scanned to electronic format. After that, the bigger scanning project begins: the archives.
Efficiently managing large volumes of legacy data is a key driver of business success, especially for organizations that must maintain terabytes of legacy business records.
What is Archive Document Scanning?
Archives are sometimes challenging to manage—organizations must transport paper documents to a long-term storage area, retain them until they reach their expiration date, retrieve them when needed, and finally destroy them after they expire.
Archive document scanning refers to digitizing old paper records and storing them as images or digital text files. Archive document scanning is an operational workflow that maintains archived files in an electronic format for long-term use.
Electronic storage turns the archival process into something less tedious, less manual, less resource-heavy, and less costly.
When digital, retrieving old records is faster and back-ups are stored securely without paying for expensive real estate.
With advanced scanning technology now prolific and affordable, digital efficiency is within budget reach. And this efficiency translates into cost savings and higher profit margins.
Organizations that act prudently and follow current best practices for digital archiving, create a competitive advantage in their industry.
The Best Way to Scan Archives
Scanning and storing legacy files is a complex process, and you run the risk of losing vital information or leaving sensitive data open to security breaches done wrong.
There are two solutions to archive document scanning:
• Scan and store documents in-house
Scanning legacy documents requires specialized high-speed scanners, technical know-how, as well as valuable storage space. Implementing an efficient digital archive system is easier said than done.
• Outsource the project to a professional document scanning company
A specialist company has trained and experienced staff and provides turnkey document management solutions. They guarantee the security and confidentiality of your data. They also offer optional off-site storage for paper records until they expire.
Opting for a professional archive document scanning service reduces the risk of data loss and saves costs.
Types of Archive Document Scanning
Depending on your organization's needs, pick the type of scanning service that meets your budget, timelines, and your strategic document management roadmap.
• Gradual or On-demand Document Scanning Services
This service is ideal if you are a small business owner, have a limited budget, or are unsure of your digitization roadmap. It helps you leverage your existing scanning budget and eliminate recurring storage costs.
Step 1: The scanning company stores your paper records at a secure storage centre for the duration of the scanning project at no extra cost.
Step 2: They scan a set amount of documents every month. You can pre-define the number based on your budget, project timeline and other factors.
Step 3: You receive the digital copy of your documents within hours of sending the request. Store the digital files on your servers or choose cloud storage provided by the scanning company.
Step 4: Ask for the paper document to be either re-archived or destroyed after scanning.
Step 5: A document management system stores your digitized files, making them easily searchable and instantly retrievable.
At MES, we call this our Scan-to-Zero service. Take a look here.
• Standard Document Scanning and Archival Services
The standard document scanning service follows a 6-step scanning process.
Step 1: Professional staff understand your archival goals, budgets and project timelines
Step 2: The company ensures secure pickup and transportation of your documents
Step 3: The documents are taken to a secure scanning facility with production-grade equipment and experienced, authorized technicians.
Step 4: Document preparation is a manual process that involves removing staples, clips, and creases from the documents.
Step 5: After scanning, technicians check the quality of the scanned files and send poorly scanned files for an image cleanup process. They save the digital files in a pre-decided format that is compatible with your company's business systems or document management needs.
Step 6: The company offers affordable off-site storage for the physical documents. They store the documents in barcoded containers that make it easy to locate them when needed.
You can ask the company to destroy the physical records when they reach their expiration date.
When you need a paper document from storage, you can ask the company to bring you the original copy via a tracked delivery service.
• Paperless Archives
More businesses and agencies are steadily working toward a paperless system, including legacy documents. Eco-friendly paperless practices are on the rise. Digital media scores a positive checkmark for organizations that opt for environmentally-friendly sustainability.
If a completely paperless archival system is not feasible for your organization in the short term, using a gradual approach cuts down the amount of paper you use. It also minimized storage logistics.
Archive Scanning Preserves Old Documents
There are challenges to capturing data from old paper documents. Paper quality degrades with time. It may turn yellow, the ink may fade, or it may suffer damage due to moisture, mildew, rodents, or other damaging events.
Digital enhancement ensures that records remain intact, and there is no loss of information. Using a professional service that has dealt with issues of this nature in the past makes it far more likely that they will be able to help you when the time comes to scan legacy documents.
Scanning Microfilms and Mircofiches
Specialized scanners preserve old records saved on film-based media with a limited lifespan. But microfilm scanners aren't mainstream equipment. If information is trapped in degrading film (that often smells like vinegar), relying on a professional company makes sense.
Document scanning is only as useful as its accessibility. Controlled document access that involves password protection ensures that only those users who need to access the digital documents can do so. An audit trail is maintained to verify who accesses, amends, saves, or destroys any files. Digital archives give you better control over data, enhance your flexibility and productivity, and ensure better data protection.
Are you ready to transform your paper documents into a digital archiving system? Use our instant document scanning Price Estimator tool to get a custom quote.