Document archiving is an important aspect of document management and essential to running a successful business. Organizations that collect and produce documents must comply with privacy laws and record-keeping regulations and ensure that business-critical information is accessible and secure. Failure to protect information can lead to security breaches, legal issues, fines, unhappy customers and profit losses. It’s not a process to ignore!
Read on to learn more about document archiving and why your business should consider working with a document archiving company to manage one of your greatest assets.
What Is Document Archiving?
Document archiving is a vital records management process that relocates inactive files from the workplace into secure off-site storage. These paper documents no longer require regular access but must be kept for future reference, compliance requirements and auditing reasons.
Both physical and digital files can be part of a document archive. As more businesses strive to achieve paperless initiatives, digital archiving is a preferred approach, as it is easier and more cost-effective to manage files in digital storage. However, paper documents are inevitable, which is why many organizations maintain hybrid archives of physical and digital records.
What Businesses Benefit From Archiving Documents?
All organizations, including small and large businesses in all industries, can benefit from document archiving. Nowadays, companies collect and produce a significant amount of sensitive data – and that volume will continue to grow over time.
Document archiving helps businesses achieve many benefits:
Storing inactive documents on-site takes up costly office space that could otherwise use for revenue-generating activities. Businesses must also invest in supplies to organize records and make regular adjustments to their physical space as storage requirements grow. By archiving physical copies in off-site storage, organizations can better utilize their office space and reduce costs.
Storing documents off-site keeps confidential records safe from security breaches and theft. Document storage facilities ensure that only authorized personnel have access to archived documents and follow strict security measures to manage user access, track edits and control passwords.
Safeguard Against Natural Disasters
Records management companies have proper climate control, pest suppression and fire protection measures to prevent damage or loss of archived data while in storage. Should your workplace experience a catastrophe, such as a fire or a flood, archived documents remain safe and accessible to ensure business continuity.
Document storage increases the accessibility of data, making it easier for employees to obtain information more efficiently. Information accessibility also ensures employees can focus on revenue-generating activities and better serve customers.
When paper documents are kept within the workplace, they are more likely to be neglected, leading to compliance issues. Professional document archive services are better equipped to manage retention periods to comply with government regulatory requirements, maintain an audit trail and avoid fines.
What Methods Are Used To Archive Documents?
There are three main document storage options for paper documents and digital documents:
1. Paper Document Archiving
Physical storage is when paper documents are stored securely off-site with a professional service provider. This method is ideal for businesses that must maintain a paper trail and keep non-mission-critical documents following a retention schedule to uphold industry regulations, legal requirements and government regulatory compliance. When paper documents are required, the files are placed in storage boxes and are readily accessible through secure transport and delivery.
2. Digital Document Archiving
Digital archiving is when vital business documents are digitized using a scanner and saved electronically. This method is recommended for companies with large-scale paperless objectives. Once electronic versions are created, businesses can purge unnecessary files and securely destroy the original files to save storage space. When digital copies are required, they are easily accessible via a document management system.
3. Scan-on-Demand Archiving
Scan-on-demand storage combines the benefits of paper and digital archiving by digitizing records on an as-need basis. Paper documents are stored in a secure storage facility where employees can request individual copies scanned and sent electronically using document management software. This method provides easier access to archive paper documents in storage without relying on physical delivery.
How To Start The Document Archiving Process?
If your organization is new to archival documents and looking for ways to manage your documents more efficiently, there are certain considerations to make before choosing a document archiving system:
1. Needs Assessment
The first step in the archiving process is determining your company’s goals and needs. For example, is your organization like most businesses that want to save storage space, improve access to paper files in long-term storage, enhance security or cut costs?
Additionally, you should identify which documents require archiving and why and consider how often these important documents need to be accessed and by whom.
2. Understand Retention Guidelines
Your industry and line of work will determine the necessary retention periods for your archived documents. Before creating an entire document archiving system, knowing the legal and industry regulations specific to your business is essential to remain compliant with privacy laws.
3. Purge Unnecessary Files
As you review your documents, earmark any files beyond their retention period and no longer needed. You don’t want to waste time and money storing irrelevant documents. These records should be destroyed using a secure shredding service.
4. Review Appropriate Storage Space Options
When it comes to storing documents, businesses have several options, but records storage facilities are the gold standard. Unlike storing documents in filing cabinets within the workplace or renting a self-storage unit to keep copies off-site, document archiving companies provide long-term storage to protect and preserve critical information while ensuring easy access to files through physical and electronic means.
Archive Documents With Blue-Pencil
Whether you are a small business owner or a large corporation that wants to create a new system to manage your files or store documents digitally, Blue-Pencil’s document archiving service is an ideal solution.
With pricing as low as a few dollars per box each year, your business will save critical office space, streamline daily operations, reduce costs and have access to documents (including paper copies and those stored digitally) while ensuring ongoing data security and compliance.