Data archiving is a time-consuming yet crucial process for all businesses. Once you archive documents you free up space, become more organized and can easily locate old information should you need it. Because archiving requires storage, it might also seem like a costly endeavor.
However, when you choose the right archive format, not only do you create a more secure environment for old files, but also help free up space taken up by those old paper files. Here we explain why you should archive documents not just for security, but also to improve functionality.
What is Data Archiving?
Data archiving provides an organized way to sort and store older files no longer required for the day-to-day operation of your business. The information is still important, or might also contain confidential or proprietary information you still need. Whether it is as a reference, for audits, or even evidence for a lawsuit, archiving ensures you have access to older data you might need in the future. It also improves records management whether you have computer files or paper documents.
How are Data Archives Set Up?
Well-structured data archives use an efficient document management system based on easy-to-use indexing. As a result, files in the archive are searchable and can be accessed and shared as required. Archiving is not just a backup. It is strictly for older information you don’t actively require in your day-to-day operations. Data archives also allow you to digitize paper files, so they take up less space.
They provide easier storage space for archived material using a secure indexed system. You can assign this process to a qualified member or members of your team to identify inactive data and files which can be removed from your active system and transferred to a long-term digital archiving system. This can be based on compliance and regulatory requirements, or simply on files becoming outdated such as deceased patients at a medical practice or inactive clients at a business.
Is Archiving Also Recommended for Digital Files?
This is a very good question. Archiving is definitely recommended for digital files to free up more space on your system. If your files were not compressed at the time they were stored, archiving is a perfect opportunity to sort out old files and compress them to open up more space. This can also reduce costs depending on what type of data storage you use. Uncompressed file formats are typically not used in archiving content from paper, film or microfilm content. In fact, even a single letter-sized uncompressed file can be 20 times larger than a compressed file. If you think of how many old files are in your system, you can see how this process frees up a lot of space. Lossless compression doesn’t impact the quality of scanned files. Uncompressed files also make it harder to search data stored on your file system due to the sheer volume and size of the files.
Why is Archiving Important to Improve Security?
Modern archiving systems provide several security benefits including:
- They are read-only to reduce the risk of information being altered
- You can include your archives in your data backup in case of accidental deletion
- Paper documents are not at risk of loss due to fire or natural disasters
- You no longer have paper documents that can be removed from your office
- You reduce the number of copies floating around
- Read-only archive reduces the risk of data loss
- Prevention of modification helps ensure regulatory compliance
- Limitless archiving ensures you maintain records/data for legal compliance
- Rights permissions ensure only those with authorization can access files reducing risk for confidentiality breaches
Because the records can be stored without taking up space you can reduce the risk for hasty decisions to shred documents that are required by law during a file cleanout. As well with limited access you can avoid lost, misfiled or degradation of files and information. This reduces the risk of facing fines or legal action due to compliance issues, breach of privacy, confidentiality issues, sharing proprietary information and more.
Why is Archiving Important to Productivity?
Data archiving is not just about security. It is also a way to increase efficiencies and in turn productivity. Archived paper files can be a nightmare to sort through. If they are stored at an offsite storage facility it becomes even worse. Scanned and indexed paper files create a secure and easily accessible archiving system.
Documents are searched based on your preferred indexing system whether it is by file number, account, client name, date, etc. You can also even create cross-referencing if your filing system has changed over the years. It also makes it easier to sort through paper filing systems, as all the files are current. Other benefits include:
- Reducing time wasted trying to find lost, misfiled files and data
- Reducing office clutter
- Keeping your office up to date with only current, relevant data onsite
- Reducing costs associated with offsite document storage facilities
- Freeing up space for functional purposes
- Access from anywhere is ideal for remote workforces or sales teams who travel
- Rights permission to maintain control over data access
- Reduces data backup volume for a quicker backup process
- Improved customer service with archived files accessible with a quick search
- Easier sharing of files among departments, with clients, and team members
- Consistent file formats to improve compatibility with other businesses
- State of the art archiving to keep up with customer and/or vendor expectations
- Easy access for audits whether it is industry, legal or tax/financial related
All of these benefits improve efficiencies and productivity while reducing costs.
Who Should Archive?
Simply put, every company should archive. If you are a new company, starting an archiving process right off the bat keeps you organized. If you are an old company, any data saved can be managed effectively and you will reduce clutter and disorganization. The level of archive storage needed will vary based on your organization, but the method and purpose remain the same. However, when you decide to archive is really based on need.
Although you can start from the onset of our business, the amount of information you archive will be quite low. This might mean you are paying for archived storage unnecessarily. Since archived documents are driven by time requirements, new companies can determine a timeline that suits their business needs and industry standards. The key to archiving is staying ahead of the game so you remain well-organized, reduce the risk for loss and have your information readily accessible.
If you would like to find ways to make your data, old and new, more accessible through document scanning, management and archiving, reach out to our team today.