How Important Is it To Store Business Data Electronically? Plus The Top 6 Reasons You Need To Digitize Data Storage
Data storage is a key component of a successful business. You need to store all the files you’re currently processing in accounts payable, expense reporting, and other departments somewhere you won’t lose them. Written policies, budgeting records, and other frequently used files have to stay easily accessible. And on top of all that, you’re also keeping records of files that are no longer in active use for tax purposes, legal reasons, and to help you plan for the future.
The longer your business is around and the larger it grows, the more data you’ll be storing. If you store this information on paper it’s going to start taking up large amounts of space. Several things happen as you continue accumulating paper. Storage costs go up, it’s harder to find files you’re looking for, and the files take up more and more space. Plus, paper files are easily damaged and you risk losing years worth of records if something like a fire or flood happens.
Digital storage is the alternative. Storing business data electronically doesn’t cause the same problems as physical storage, and it also comes with a number of benefits. But is it the best choice for every business? And just why is digital storage considered so much better than paper? Keep reading to get the answers to these questions and learn more about how electronic data storage can work for your business.
Does It Really Matter How You Store Your Data?
Data is an important asset in any business, and for some companies it’s one of the most important assets. The way you store your data plays a major role in how easy it is to access, use, and keep secure.
Paper files meet the minimum requirements for data storage. You can keep the important files on-hand and if they’re organized carefully you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. But that’s about it. Paper gives you a way to store data, but it doesn’t empower you to use that data effectively. You can look up the data and analyze it to budget, forecast customer demand, and answer other needs in your business. However, a paper storage system doesn’t do anything to make those tasks easier.
Digitizing data storage lets you store large volumes of data in less space than paper would take up. A top-quality electronic data storage and document management system also lets you go beyond simply storing the data. Electronic data storage makes the data you’re storing easy to search and use. When you’re storing your data electronically instead of on paper, it’s simple to analyze the data and leverage it for your business. It’s also easy to make backup copies without taking up huge amounts of extra space.
Is Electronic Document Storage Good For Every Business?
In today’s world, the importance of electronic data storage makes going digital a best practice for every business. Even if you want paper versions of selected documents on file, there should still be digital versions of them to act as back-ups. Be sure to check on the legal requirements in your state before destroying any paper files, as some states require you to keep hard copies of certain documents.
If you’re not yet convinced that digital is better than paper, ask yourself these questions:
- How would you recover files if a fire, flood, or other disaster destroys the papers?
- Do you have enough room to store seven years worth of tax records?
- Are the time, storage space, and effort involved in maintaining a paper filing system cost-effective?
- Can you find specific files quickly when needed?
If you’re not quite sure how to answer those questions, electronic data storage offers an easy solution. Your digital files are at less risk of damage than paper and can easily be recovered if need be. Storage space is no longer an issue when you go digital, especially if you outsource file hosting to a data storage company instead of maintaining your own servers. The cost in overhead as well as in employee time is minimal compared to the hassle of maintaining large amounts of paper files. And on top of all those benefits, finding a digital file is a simple as performing a key-word search.
Going digital is the most efficient way to record and store all the data flowing through your company. Also, digitizing your records is also an essential step in moving toward the elusive goal of a paperless office. Whether you opt for on-premise servers or rent cloud-storage from another company, digital document management is more environmentally friendly, takes up less space than paper and is easier to search, copy, and save.
Why Should You Choose Electronic Data Storage?
As promised in the title, here are the top 6 reasons every business should start storing their data electronically:
1) Electronic Data Storage Is More Efficient
Storing documents electronically lets you maintain records while taking up less physical storage space. You can start using the system to store incoming documents electronically as soon as it’s set up. You’ll also be able to scan old documents into the system to free up space and make them more accessible.
If you store the data on-site at one of your company locations, the servers will take up less room than the number of filing cabinets that would be needed to store the same amount of data on paper. It’s more efficient than paper but still requires upkeep and maintenance.
If you outsource your digital storage, you won’t use up any physical storage space within your company. The third-party hosting your storage maintains all the servers and provides reliable data protection. You’re renting space from them so you don’t have to worry about maintaining your own servers.
2) Electronic Storage Protects Data
If you’re storing data in paper form, a single disaster can destroy years worth of records. Because paper is fragile, a fire or water leak can quickly ruin documents. And in many cases, there’s no way to recover the lost data.
Electronic data storage lets you back up and protect important information automatically. While digital files can be lost or destroyed, the risks are much less than with paper files. And since digital files take up so little space they can be backed up in multiple locations so if one version of the file is lost you can easily recover a backup version of the file.
3) Digital Data Storage Is Secure
Security is a big concern for businesses storing data electronically and/or online. Some companies prefer to maintain their digital files on in-house servers so they can personally oversee security. If your company works with highly sensitive data this may be the best option for maintaining direct control over security.
However, any reputable data storage company you work with is committed to providing you with the best cybersecurity possible. In fact, they can often provide better – and less expensive – security than your company can in-house because they specialize in protecting electronic data.
4) Electronic Data Allows Better Visibility
Storing information digitally lets you track data more easily. You can search for specific records with built-in search tools, as well as sort data so it’s easier to find. With just a few clicks, the information you need is at your fingertips.
This increased visibility allows for simple reporting and streamlined audits. Since digital data is easier to interact with, electronic data storage helps optimize your workflow and lets you use the data you collect in a more strategic way.
5) Data Becomes More Accessible
Electronic data is much more accessible than paper files. Even with an in-house server, any employee with the correct permissions can access digital files without any hassle. You can even set up remote access if you like.
If you’re outsourcing to a cloud storage company, you’ll be able to access your data from any location on any device as long as you have the right passwords. Take your business on the go and share information throughout your company in a simple, efficient, and secure way.
6) Data Storage Scales To Your Needs
Don’t worry about overpaying for storage you don’t need or having trouble finding places to store new data. Electronic data storage scales to your needs, especially when you use cloud storage. Buy only the storage space you need and upgrade easily when you need more space.
This is another great reason to outsource your digital data storage instead of maintaining your own servers. Outsourcing makes it easier to scale up or down as your business’ needs change. You won’t have to pay to update your own servers and your IT department doesn’t have to worry about installing or maintaining them.
What’s The Best Way To Store Data Electronically?
There are a couple of different ways your company can implement digital data storage. Either you’ll be setting up in-house servers (hardware storage) or hiring a service provider (cloud storage). Both cloud and hardware storage keeps your data on servers. The big difference is whether the servers are located in-house or at another company.
For in-house hardware storage, you’ll have direct control over the servers where you’re storing data. That lets you control privacy and access. But it also means you’re responsible for maintaining the servers, upgrading and expanding as needed, and for making sure the data stays secure. It will increase the workload for your IT department. And if those servers are damaged, you’ll lose the data unless you have it backed up in a second storage center.
With cloud storage, things are much more flexible. You’ll be giving up direct control over how your data is stored, but you won’t have to maintain the servers yourself and you can upgrade your storage plan at any time without hassle. And you’ll be able to access the data and work from any location as long as you have the right passwords. Data security is the biggest concern. If you choose a reliable service provider, though, they’ll have the expertise to keep your data safe.
How Can You Find A Reliable Service Provider?
Using a third-party document management system is the simplest way to start storing your business data electronically. But to make sure that you enjoy all the benefits of cloud-storage with none of the down-sides, you’ll need to find a reliable service provider. Look for a provider that makes it easy to:
- Encrypt and secure your data
- Search for a specific file or group of files
- Process any type of document
- Access and use the system
- Keep costs down
NextProcess’ Document Management System lets you digitize every type of paper document and store them in a secure electronic format. Our user-friendly system enables full-text search so any document you’re looking for is just a few clicks away. We don’t charge fees for additional user licenses. Plus, users with the right permissions can access the system from any internet-enabled location. Our system gives you complete control over your data while lightening your workload and simplifying data storage.
If you’re ready to see how electronic data storage can transform your company, get in touch with us. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have and schedule a free demo of our system.