A wide range of business types, from medical institutions to law firms to offices, find themselves in need of long term data preservation. Traditionally, this has been accomplished via in-house file cabinets and off-site data storage facilities.
In today's "information-centric" business world, storing your important documents in paper form at physical storage facilities is simply not a workable solution. Long term data preservation at such facilities suffers from several major drawbacks, and digital storage options avoid all of these potential pitfalls.
Five Problems With Document Storage Facilities
While storing important documents in a hard copy (paper) form in a physical storage facility might seem safer and more permanent than relying on scanned and other digital forms of document storage, this simply is not the case.
Here are the main limitations of off-site paper storage methods that back up this claim:
- Slow, difficult retrieval: Perhaps, the most troublesome problem with document storage facilities is the inability to quickly access important documents right when you need them. Digitally stored documents are available at your fingertips, instantaneously.
- Security issues: Both digital and paper documents can be viewed by unauthorized persons, but with digital security, you at least are informed of when this has happened. And if a paper document is stolen, you no longer have it — but this cannot happen with digitally stored documents.
- Deterioration problems: Over time, paper decays, tatters, fades. You eventually have to pay extra money to have new originals made of your physically stored documents or face losing them forever. Digital documents are essentially permanent and do not incur this extra maintenance cost.
- Transportation: Moving documents stored physically off-site to and from the storage facility wastes precious time, costs extra fuel
- Added costs: Storage fees, retrieval and indexing fees, and the added costs of extra paper quickly add up. You can almost always store your important documents in digital form for far less.
The Benefits of Digital Document Storage
The first five benefits of scanning your documents and storing them digitally, or of creating them in electronic form to begin with, are simply the elimination of the five problems with document storage facilities listed just above. But we can say more.
Long term data storage in digital form has advanced by leaps and bounds technologically in recent years, and this enhanced technology has come down in price to the point that it is very practical for most small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) to use.
And outsourcing your document scanning and using document management software provided by a professional document storage company, will avoid the need to buy much expensive equipment, saving you yet more money.
Additionally, once stored digitally using a modern software program, your documents can be easily edited or (as you desire) protected against editing, restricted in access for security reasons, and easily shared for "team projects."
Finally, we can also add that "going digital" equates to "going green." Less paper used means fewer trees cut down and less energy expended at paper mills and by all intermediate suppliers.
There is a reason why over 75% of businesses with document management needs now use digital storage as their primary long term data preservation strategy. It frees up office space, reduces costs, makes for quick, easy retrieval, and avoids the deterioration and security issues of physical, paper storage.