Document archiving is an essential process that literally all businesses need to take care of. It typically consists of storing documents in a way that ensures their long-term preservation and accessibility, while meeting the necessary regulatory requirements.
With advancements in technology, there are now various document archiving methods available to businesses. With those advances in mind, here are three document archiving methods you need to be aware of.
Physical document archiving
Physical document archiving involves storing paper copies of documents in a secure location. This method is commonly used for legal documents, financial records, and other sensitive documents that need to be retained for a long time according to industry regulations. Businesses can store these documents in-house, or outsource the storage to a third-party provider.
Pros & cons
One of the primary advantages of physical document archiving is that it ensures the maintenance of the original document. Hard copies can be accessed and reviewed, and there is no need for special equipment or software.
However, physical document archiving can be expensive, especially if you need to store large volumes of documents. Additionally, hard copies are vulnerable to a number of threats, such as fire or water damage, which can result in permanent loss of information.
Electronic document archiving
Electronic document archiving involves storing digital copies of documents, often in a secure, cloud-based location. This method is becoming increasingly popular among businesses because it offers several benefits, including cost savings, easy access to documents, and enhanced security.
Pros & cons
Electronic document archiving can be performed in-house, or businesses can outsource their document scanning and storage to a third-party document scanning provider. Cloud-based storage solutions offer several advantages, including automatic backups, disaster recovery, and easy scalability. Additionally, digital copies of documents can be easily accessed, making it easier for teams to collaborate on projects.
One potential disadvantage of electronic document archiving is the risk of data breaches. Digital documents can be vulnerable to cyber threats, and businesses need to take steps to ensure the security of their digital archives. Encryption, access controls, and regular backups are just some of the security measures businesses can take to mitigate these risks.
Scan-on-demand document archiving combines physical and electronic archiving methods, to create a comprehensive document management system. With this system, a service will store their paper documents, but then send them a digital copy upon request.
Pros & cons
One of the pros is that businesses can maintain a physical copy of essential documents, while using electronic copies for day-to-day use. This approach allows businesses to keep a hold of the original documents, while also benefiting from the convenience of electronic archiving.
The primary disadvantage of hybrid document archiving is the complexity and cost of managing multiple archives. This makes this option only suitable for certain niches, generally where maintaining physical copies is a regulatory requirement.
By using physical, electronic, or hybrid archiving methods, businesses can ensure that they have a reliable way of organising their documents. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and businesses need to choose the method that best suits their specific requirements. By implementing an effective document archiving system, businesses can improve their overall efficiency, while minimising the risk of data loss and regulatory breaches.