STORING YOUR DOCUMENTS VS SCANNING THEM
You’ve been thinking about it for a long time.
All those thoughts of “should I?” and “it’s not the right time” have gone out the window, and you’ve finally plucked up the courage. You’ve finally decided to do something about those office files.
Good for you.
But before you start running down the office corridor high fiving all your colleagues – you’ve got a decision to make.
“Do you store the documents off-site or have them scanned to create a digital inventory?”
It’s a tough decision, so let’s weigh up the pros with the pros.
Easier To Search
A major benefit for scanning is findability. With proper naming structures, the efficiency of finding the right document is a marked improvement on storage solutions. Not just because you should be able to find the document quickly, but because the data will appear immediately. Which makes this point two-sided, because it’s easier to search and the data is more accessible. It’s win-win.
In today’s world, we should all be considering our choices and how they will go on to affect the environment around us.
Scanning saves on the physical space we need to store our archive. It will also encourage less paper to be used and kept, which reduces deforestation. As well as this, scanned files don’t need to be transported anywhere like physical records do, so you will also reduce the transport emissions that this will cause.
With paper records, the rate of decay depends on a wide variety of factors. Humidity, temperature, damp and human contact are some of the main ones to consider.
In comparison, these don’t apply to scanned documents, meaning that, in theory, there should be no expected lifespan for a scanned document.
How much cheaper? 10x cheaper.
The cost of scanning an archive box is the equivalent to 10+ years storage, making it the main reason why storage is still far more popular than scanning.
Restricting physical access to your companies documents is easier than reducing the risk of being hacked, or the digital information falling in the wrong hands.
Digital information can be accessed anywhere, whereas the physical document is in just the one spot, making security much more straightforward.
Of course, your choice isn’t as binary as scanning or storing. You can combine scanning and storage solutions to find the best solution for your business. Here are a few curveballs:
Store your files until their retention dates require for them to be destroyed. If you need any of your files returned to your office, simply order the file to be scanned back rather than physically transported back. It’s quicker and can be cheaper to do so.
Store & Scan – The 10 Year Plan
Store all your files offsite, and set the dates each file can be destroyed (most can be destroyed within 10 years). Any new documents/files produced should be digitised immediately, to begin your digital inventory. What you’ll be doing here is running down the clock on all of your physical records, and setting a new culture of digitisation for all new documents. The 10 year plan to paperless.
Have the records management company audit your records to better understand which files should be scanned, and which can be destroyed. This can workout as a more cost-effective option than just bulk scanning all your files, as you may not need to scan many of your files at all.
Storage, just. The low costs that offsite storage boasts make it still the most effective way of organising your files. Just start digitising all of your new records to hit those long term goals of going paperless!