Top 5 Online Document Storage for Small Business
Documents created electronically, such as word-processed document or sale transaction recorded by a POS terminal automatically go into the electronic document storage. Paper documents, however, have to be scanned (and OCRed) before they can be transferred into that storage. Is it worthwhile to do this transfer?
The answer is yes, for several reasons.
- Paper documents are difficult to work with. They are stored in a separate filing section, and once stored thus, retrieving a particular document needed for a business process is clumsy and time consuming. Documents in the electronic storage, however, can be accessed instantly, and that too from your own workstation if it is connected to the network server where the documents are stored.
- Paper document storage is not only clumsy and time-wasting but also expensive. You need paper folders, filing cabinet, considerable floor space and an army of paper handlers to manage a paper document storage facility. By converting paper documents into an electronic form, and implementing systematic procedures that authenticate these electronic documents, you can shred most of the paper, thus saving on the storage costs.
- Paper documents are easy to get lost, damaged or fall into the hands of unauthorized persons (who can even be your competitor’s spies) during the frequent handling they are subjected to. On the other hand, access to electronic documents can be restricted through a system of permissions and passwords.
What Are the Alternatives for Document Storage?
In addition to electronic storage on computer media and paper storage in paper folders and filing cabinets (or other containers), you can go in for microfilm document storage. Also, you have different options available under electronic document storage.
Microfilm is one such alternative. Paper documents are photographed into small sized pictures and stored on film rolls. This is durable option, perhaps more durable than even electronic storage that is subject to corruption and damage.
However, microfilm rolls also require significant storage space, and containers for safe storage. You also need specialist staff to keep track of the rolls and their storage locations, as well as for the microfilming and incidental work. Microfilmed records also need a special viewer to view them.
Electronic document storage options involve storage on magnetic tapes, compact magnetic or optical disks and on the Web. Each of these options has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Magnetic tapes, once a low cost option, is not all that attractive now with falling disk costs. Documents stored and tapes can be retrieved only in a serial manner, i.e. you have to unwind the tape to the location where the document is recorded. This is a time consuming process compared to the almost instant access possible with random access disks.
Disks offer ever-increasing storage capacity and today, a thumb sized flash disk can store a million and more documents. A search program can index all the documents and make retrieval of any document a matter of seconds.
Storing documents on the Web, say with a third party service provider or your own dedicated server, makes it possible to access the documents from geographically spread out locations. For a global corporation, this can be a great feature. Web storage is also physically safer compared to storing the documents in-house.
With al these options, electronic document storage is definitely the best choice today, provided you take care to back up all documents and store the backups safely.
Top 5 Online Document Storage for Small Business:
SmartVault is the smartest way to securely store, manage and share files online. Go paperless and streamline your workflow in minutes.
Store and share documents, videos, images and more, conveniently in the cloud. Start with a free storage of 5GB.
My Drive is a centralized access point for all files in Bitrix24 that you want to work with. All your personal files, any Group Drives that you’ve chose to connect, as well as shared folders and documents that you’ve been given access to are conveniently located in a single place.
Store, manage and share documents on WorkflowMax and through third party management tools. See how WorkflowMax can transform your business today!
Dropbox is a modern workspace designed to reduce busywork-so you can focus on the things that matter. Sign in and put your creative energy to work.
Paper Document Storage in the Paperless Age
Though we have been hearing about the paperless office for quite some time now, it is yet to become a reality. You have to deal with a lot of paper documents even today. There are paper contracts and other legal documents that you wouldn’t want to shred, even if copies of these are available in digital format.
Then there are the old documents which you might not consider worth transferring to a digital repository. These paper documents cannot yet be disposed off owing to statutory or other reasons.
Most large offices are still likely to have a significant volume of paper documents. Where can you store these documents? You have three broad options: in-house storage, self storage and professional third party document storage. Let us look at these options.
In House Document Storage
You can use the traditional paper folder and filing cabinet options to store the paper documents. Being in house, you can access the documents at any time and you also don’t incur any costs for transporting the documents to and from and outside storage facility. For confidential documents you might not consider any other option.
However, in house storage can cost significant amounts of money. You need expensive floor space to accommodate all the equipment and you need dedicated staff to sort, file, retrieve, and otherwise handle the paper documents.
It can also happen that in the absence of the person who has stored a particular document, that document cannot be located.
Using a Self Storage Facility
A self storage facility allows you to keep your documents in a less expensive location, under your lock and key. You can restrict access to this facility to authorized persons, thus improving security. This can save expensive office space costs, or free up the office space for more productive purposes.
Self storage facilities differ in the kinds of access and security they provide. You might have to give advance notice to access some facilities. Others might lack any security and only your padlock might be the only barrier between your documents and an intruder. There is also the possibility that the facility adjacent to yours stores flammable materials, endangering your documents.
In addition to paying rent for the storage facility, you also have to incur costs for transporting documents to and fro.
Professional Third Party Document Storage
There are specialist document storage agencies that provide not only storage service but also other incidental services such as document management. They might catalog and index all the documents, transport the documents from and to your office and enable access to the documents even at odd hours.
Being experts in the field of document storage (and possibly management) you can expect better results from these agencies compared to self-storage or even in house storage. For example, they might provide document disposal services, keeping track of documents that need not be maintained any more.
Documents are also likely to be much safer under the specialized document storage facilities these service providers have installed.
The professional document storage option is worth your serious consideration.
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