How to Preserve Old Paper Documents

Posted by MESHDS on May 3, 2022 8:00:00 AM

Summary: it's easy to come to the conclusion that disposing of all your old paper documents is the best thing to do. But there are several good points on why preserving old paper documents is a good idea. Here we discuss why it's important and how you can preserve your old paper documents in the least invasive way possible.

Table of Contents

  • Why Preserving Old Paper Documents is Important
  • How to Preserve Old Paper Documents
  • How to Preserve Old Paper Documents As Digital Files
  • How Digital Conversion Offers Better Security
  • Access to Document Management System Software
  • The Modern Approach to Paper Document Preservation

Despite digital advancements in document scanning and storage, 95% of companies still depend on paper documents for storage. However, paper documents take up tons of space and also become fragile as they age. As your paper documents continue to grow, they take up more space and become more vulnerable to damage, loss and even confidential breaches. 

While it might seem you have no choice but to keep your paper files as records, retaining them over the long-term leaves them vulnerable to loss or damage. Here we look at how you can preserve old paper documents for the life of your business and always have them available when you need them.

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Why Preserving Old Paper Documents is Important

There are four main reasons your business needs to preserve old paper documents:

  1. Degradation: Paper and ink slowly degrade over time. Paper yellows and ink becomes difficult to read as it fades. Proper preservation will ensure your documents remain intact and legible.
  2. Damage: Over the years accidents can contribute to degradation from coffee spills to tears. Preservation ensures your documents last without the threat of damage.
  3. Storage Space: Preservation can also free up storage space by removing unnecessary pages, ensuring everything is in order, and that damaged pages are restored or digitized.
  4. Compliance and Legal Reasons: Depending on your industry, old paper documents and records might be required to be stored for a certain number of years. As well, in the case of lawsuits, and other legal situations, paper documents must be preserved as evidence.

Your business can ensure it has access to important historical documents with proper document preservation.

How to Preserve Old Paper Documents

Digital conversion is the easiest, safest and most sustainable method of document preservation. You get the best of both worlds: Documents that last forever, in hand with a simple, secure, accessible storage system. Digital documents never degrade and cannot be damaged. In fact, backups are made without the worry of wasting paper or taking up more filing space. As a result, should anything happen to your main storage, a backup is ready so you don’t experience any disruptions to our business. 

And as far as “copies” go, your digital documents can easily be shared so your system is more secure. There is no risk of paperwork falling into the wrong hands or being read by people without authorization. Your documents are also safe from threats such as fires, leaks and floods which would completely destroy the paper. Instead, your documents are stored safely where damage from these types of disasters will have no effect.

How to Preserve Old Paper Documents As Digital Files

Old paper documents are digitalized by scanning, saving and storing them. Professional conversion from paper to digital documents makes preservation easy. There is no worry over managing the scanning process yourself. Instead, scanning solutions convert paper to digital files with ease. They easily convert your paper-based documents to digital image formats using processing solutions. 

Documents are then electronically stored using digital management software. They can handle massive volumes of paperwork which they scan securely based on your needs. You can do it all at once, or use Scan to Zero services to make your way through your old paper documents slowly. Once complete you can retrieve, track and manage your preserved documents from any computer or mobile device.

How Digital Conversion Offers Better Security

Digital conversion companies specialize in not just scanning but also providing secure storage for your business. They add multiple layers of security to your document storage as well. Digital security includes antivirus software as well as firewalls to protect your documents from cybercriminals. This is especially important if your documents include highly sensitive, confidential or personal information such as patient files. Modern archiving systems for old paper documents add many levels of security including:

  • Read-only files so information can’t be altered and the risk of data loss is reduced
  • Data backup in case of accidental deletion
  • Protection from fire or natural disasters
  • Files can’t be physically removed from your facility like paper
  • Only those with authorization can access digital files so no copies are loose and available for prying eyes
  • You ensure regulatory compliance as documents can’t be modified
  • You can save all specific data, records and documents for legal compliance
  • Rights permissions ensure only those with authorization can access files to avoid confidentiality breaches
  • No risk for lost or accidentally shredding records required by law

With endless storage and files that can’t be accessed without permission, you avoid loss, as well as the risk of fines or legal action related to compliance, breach of privacy, confidentiality, stolen proprietary information and more.

Access to Document Management System Software

By preserving your documents through digital conversion, you can leverage document management system software to bring you into the digital age. Your company becomes more effective and efficient using the latest archiving technology as all files are searchable and shareable. 

Document management software solutions allow you to automate and streamline workflows that involve retrieving, reviewing, or sharing old documents. Because documents can’t be accidentally altered or damaged, all risk for lost records is eliminated. Document management software offers many benefits including:

  • Real-time visibility and reporting: Movement of paper accounts for over 90% of business processes creating a weak link for your workflow. Document management systems provide real-time visibility and reporting of critical historic documents instantly.
  • The latest file version: If historic documents add confusion to business processes, digital management systems allow you to easily find the most recent version of the document while still having access to historic versions.
  • Collaboration in real-time: Teams, departments and even external contacts can be authorized to share, review, and collaborate on historical data as required.
  • Mobile access: In today’s remote world, your team members don’t have to be physically in the office to access paper records when they need them. They can access files from anywhere at any time using the device of their choice. You set authorization rules to limit access to sensitive documents.
  • All data in one place: We live in an era where information is powerful. Accessing data both new and old from one central, digital storage system, provides real-time information to your team when they need it, using one simple format.

A document management system allows your team to have information at their fingertips immediately. Automating data capture makes it easy for data extraction and also reduces the need for manual data entry.

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The Modern Approach to Paper Document Preservation

Digital conversion is the modern approach to paper document preservation. You can slowly convert all your paper documents to digital files, allowing you to free up office space, prevent lost documents due to degradation, and have all your data and documents saved and accessible in one document management system.

If you are ready to give the conversion process a try, speak to MES today for your scanning quote.

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