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. Accounts payable, expense reporting, and other departments generate a ton of paperwork. How you store all this information from your company’s everyday business processes affects your entire company.
As you’re thinking of ways to store all this data, accuracy and accessibility are key concerns. Written policies, budgeting records, and other frequently used files must stay easily accessible. You’ll need accurate data for budgeting and successful audits. 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. As you continue accumulating paper, storage costs go up, it’s harder to find the files you’re looking for, and the files take up more and more space. Plus, paper files are easily damaged. 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 several benefits. Going digital is a big shift, though. As with any change that will affect your company’s business processes, it’s worth taking time to weigh the pros and cons of electronic document management and storage.
In this article, we’ll be answering questions like, “Is digital document management the best choice for every business?” and “Why should you choose online document storage for your business?” We’ll look at why it’s important to store business data electronically and the best ways to store digital data. Keep reading to learn more about how electronic data storage and online document management software can work for your business.
Does It Really Matter How You Store Your Data?
Data is an important asset in any business. 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 secure important records and business documents.
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. However, it doesn’t empower your company 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, but 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. Plus, a top-quality electronic data storage and document management system lets you go beyond simply storing the data. Online document management software makes the data you’re storing easy to search through, analyze, share with stakeholders, and use for forecasting.
When you’re storing your data electronically instead of on paper, it’s simple to leverage the data for your business. You’ll be able to run keyword searches, sort files by type, compare data from different fiscal periods, and much more. It’s also easy to make backup copies of digital documents without taking up huge amounts of extra space.
Is Digital Document Management the Best Choice 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 to keep paper versions of selected documents on file, there should still be digital versions of them to act as backups. 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 on paper?
- 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, an electronic data storage and document management system offers an easy solution. Digital files are at less risk of damage than paper and they 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 as simple as performing a keyword search.
Going digital is the most efficient way to record and store all the data flowing through your company. Also, digitizing your records is an essential step in moving toward the elusive goal of a paperless office. Whether you opt for on-premises 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. Just remember before destroying any paper files to make sure you check the legal requirements in your state. Some states require you to keep hard copies of certain documents such as tax records and vehicle titles.
Why Should You Choose Online Document Storage for Your Business?
Online document storage is the best choice for businesses that want to keep up with the demands of the modern world. 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 digitally lets you maintain vital 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 digital data on-site at one of your company locations, you’ll still save on storage space. 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 digital storage 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 burst water pipe, leaky roof, or a fire can quickly ruin documents. In many cases where paper files are destroyed, 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, there’s a much lower risk than with paper files. And since digital files take up so little space, they can be backed up in multiple locations. These backups mean that if one version of the file is lost you can easily recover another 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 will be committed to providing the best cybersecurity possible. In fact, they can often provide better—and less expensive—security than your company can in-house. That’s because data storage companies specialize in protecting electronic data.
4) Electronic Data Allows Better Visibility
Storing information digitally lets you track data more easily. You can find specific records with search tools built into the document management system. These systems also let you 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 streamlines audits. Since digital data is easier to interact with, electronic data storage helps optimize your workflow and lets you use the data you collect more strategically.
5) Data Becomes More Accessible
Online document management software makes data much more accessible than it is on paper files. With an in-house server, any employee with the correct permissions can typically 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 using any internet-enabled device if you have the right passwords. Cloud storage solutions let you take your business on the go. They also make it easy to 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. With a cloud-based system, you buy only the storage space you need and upgrade easily when you need more space. On-site storage works similarly, though it’s not always as easy to scale and adding more storage space might be a hassle for your IT department.
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. With online document management software, 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?
As we’ve already discussed, 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 keep 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 making sure the data stays secure. Choosing this type of data storage solution will increase the workload for your IT department. If those servers are damaged, you’ll lose the data unless you have it backed up in a second storage center.
Things are much more flexible with cloud storage through online document management software. 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. Plus, every employee will be able to access the data and work from any location as long as they have the right passwords. Data security is the biggest concern with this option, but if you choose a reliable service provider, they’ll have the expertise and the technology needed 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. However, to make sure that you enjoy all the benefits of cloud storage with none of the downsides, 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 digital document storage system
- Keep costs down
- Backup files as needed
- Scan incoming documents quickly and accurately
NextProcess’ Document Management System lets your company 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.
To help keep the software accessible and efficient, we don’t charge fees for additional user licenses. 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 using an online document management software 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.
Electronic documents are very important. However for my business I have both digital and paper documents for all of my accounts. The digitial version is the official version. The paper version is more handy when I am having conference calls and onsite meetings with my clients. I keep my paper records in manila file folders that are color coded in alphabetic order and they are stored on a shelf next to my desk. Having the mix of physical and digital has made me more productive.
Thanks for informing me that one of the benefits of storing data electronically is the added convenience of getting to access the data whenever wherever. I believe the company I’m working for will benefit so much if it hires a document scanning service because I have a lot of coworkers that do fieldwork. If we have our data stored online, then they wouldn’t have to travel back and forth to the office just to get the necessary documents. I’ll try to suggest this to my manager when we have our weekly meeting this Friday.