As paperless delivery and digital storage of documents starts to take shape, large amounts of sensitive data are continually being pushed through multiple local, regional and global networks. Businesses that embrace this new model of document storage will find themselves more efficient and in some cases, profitable. The time saved is often directly related to the amount of paper used. Here are several common questions about document storage that face every business.
Can electronic documents be backed up on a computer system? A typical paperless office will have an individual or department store all documents in a secure environment. This allows business to archive information for later retrieval. Backing up files is only possible for electronic documents if they are stored on a server that is protected by physical security or in some other way can be protected from electronic transmissions. In a paperless business, documents can easily be lost or misplaced, so back ups must be regularly conducted. In addition, in some businesses, legal or financial documents may need to be stored in a different location from other critical information.
How does cloud-based digital storage work? Most services currently available to utilize the technology of digital images (DIGS). DIGS digital images are simply digital images in the form of a file that can be accessed via the Internet. DIGS files are generally short, as they do not contain a great deal of information, which makes them easier to access and retrieve. Because the digital image has already been electronically stored, it can be retrieved with the click of a mouse, keyboard or any other touch screen interface, which significantly reduces paper documents’ environmental footprint.
What if I lose a file, how do I retrieve it? With paperless systems, a copy of the file is kept on the server, so when the original document is lost, a copy can be retrieved from the backup servers. This means that even if your computer crashes and you need to start again from scratch, the previous copy will be up and running. This dramatically cuts down on the amount of time spent searching for important documents, and it greatly decreases the potential for lost data. It also lowers the cost savings of having multiple backup servers, since only one server is needed. With today’s document imaging software, it is also possible to scan a document and store it electronically, which greatly reduces the amount of paper required to produce the copy.
Does using a document scanning system make my business more environmentally responsible? When an entire business utilizes paper records, there is a definite increase in the amount of paper that is produced. This means that businesses that utilize paper records will require more trees to create the same number of pages, and it means a tremendous amount of additional greenhouse gas. Not to mention the damage that is done to trees when documents are printed out directly onto paper.
On top of all of these issues, paper-based document storage poses a great origami risk. Origami is a type of artistic creation where a creator folds paper into the shape of a particular figure or animals. In order to complete an origami sculpture, the creator must first cut out the paper from the piece that he is creating, then fold the pieces back together and re-fold them before putting them under a UV light. The UV light gradually breaks down the paper, shrinking the origami shape until it becomes undetectable. However, a business that stores its documents digitally removes all of the paper, and paper-based origami sculptures from their systems. Because digital storage removes paper from the equation, there is a significantly less origami risk posed by storing your business’ information in a digital form.
What are some other pros and cons of document scanning and storage? In comparison to paper records, there are a few major advantages to storing your business’ documents in a digital format. First, electronic storage allows for the quick and easy retrieval of your files, a process known as “Document Recovery”. In this instance, you can access your stored documents using a computer, laptop, or tablet – regardless of where they were created. Because electronic storage removes the paper records on which your documents were originally created, if you need to view your files, they are in a digital form – meaning they are retrievable by anyone.
Also, electronic document storage provides a number of conveniences and options. For example, if a system allows you to search and retrieve your stored files at any time, that will save you time. By allowing you to quickly look up information, you can speed up a potentially troublesome project that you are currently produce more information about. This means that by looking up a file, instead of having to go through the process of searching for it, you can immediately determine if the file is important and relevant to your current projects. If the file is not vital, you can delete it and move on to the next document in your queue.