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Take Your File Archiving To A New Level of Security and Safety → Sep 18th 2008

In a previous article explaining the differences between archiving and backup, I mentioned two definitions of archiving. First, archive it because the government says you have to. Second, archive it to protect yourself in the event of future legal dispute. To these important reasons for archiving records off-site, let’s add two more. Archive it to make your office more efficient and to create peace of mind. Let’s look at efficiency first.

Studies of office workflow efficiency repeatedly show the pitfalls of managing paper files. Here is a small sample of the many statistics on how managing paper attacks your bottom line by draining staff time away from revenue-producing tasks.

Paper costs you time and money, over and over...

  • The initial cost of filing a document including supplies and staff time is 20 cents per sheet.
  • The average time to retrieve a paper document from a file is 5-7 minutes.
  • The average time to re-file a paper document is 3 minutes.
  • Executives spend 7.4% of their time looking for lost or misplaced documents.
  • 25% of misplaced documents and files are never found.
  • Recreating a lost document costs between $120 and $250.

A careful approach to archiving can slash the time your staff spends managing, locating, filing, re-filing paper and recreating lost paper records. When a file falls out of active use and spends all its time taking up space in a file cabinet or storage box, then consider this option. Convert the complete contents of aging files from paper to digital format by scanning into high quality image files like PDF and TIFF formats. Storing the files in a secure archive maintained by an independent third party vendor guarantees the authenticity and integrity of the scanned documents will be immune to attack and beyond reproach.

Archiving need not be limited to paper-based records. Digitally created files increasingly capture and are the default resting place of important information related to business matters and transactions. Digital files are often saved and shared without ever being printed on paper. Forward thinking organizations are archiving key native digital files in PDF, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats and completely eliminating the steps of printing and filing paper from their workflows.

Whether you archive converted paper files or digital files, you immediately start saving time. You will know exactly where files are located and be able to find and retrieve them in seconds.

"Documents, marked "highly confidential," were strewn across nearly empty streets."

This leads into my second point on achieving peace of mind through archiving. Simply put, you’ll never misplace or lose an archived file. When files absolutely cannot be lost or misplaced, you’ll never experience the gut wrenching situation of needing to find and produce vital records then discovering you can’t locate what you need and having to scramble to recreate them.

By archiving your records off-site you reduce the risks to paper records posed by numerous potential threats. You prevent damage by fire, water, or extreme weather. An entirely preventable and current example is the situation in Houston on September 13, 2008, where in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, paper documents marked "highly confidential" littered downtown streets.

Archiving also forestalls malicious actions originating outside your office like theft. You also stymie internal threats like intentional destruction by employees who are disgruntled or trying to eliminate or cover tracks on transactions or communications which they know or anticipate could create trouble for themselves or the organization.

Datawitness goes a step further to protect you.

At Datawitness, we separate ourselves from other archiving solutions by adding an extra layer of safety and security to record storage. Our archiving method prints a snapshot of every archived file onto long-lasting microfilm to lock the content of a document into a tamperproof version. Legal opinions suggest images of documents recreated from microfilm will be accepted as evidence by courts as a version of an original document holding all the integrity and authenticity of a paper version.

When your digital file is backed up by a tangible, physical copy on microfilm, both digital and microfilm versions are supported by Datawitness’s digital fingerprinting process. A digital file at its core is represented numerically. The underlying numerical data of a file gives it a unique identity which we record along with a time and date stamp to create metadata (basically data describing data) for every record archived in your account.

The combination of digital and physical file versions, the digital fingerprint metadata, and the fact of data being held at arm’s length by an independent third party provides you a defensible version of a record. You no longer have to expose your important and vulnerable papers and digital files to the risks of your office or paid storage. You can also reduce your reliance on labour-intensive backup processes.

If an efficient, secure method for storing documents, files, and records would help your organization preserve its vital information and put your mind at ease, call us now at 604-273-8894 to get a free, no obligation demonstration of how easily you can start off-site archiving today.

Related article: What is the difference between Archiving and Backup?

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25% of misplaced documents and files are never found.

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