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Keeping Records Safe → Jan 28th 2008

Records Management is defined as "The field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including the processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records". That translates into an expensive statement for most people looking for a solution to storing data they must keep for various reasons.

Vaulting Paper

A simpler definition for records management "protect yourself and maintain proof". In business, this means "keep a LOT of paper around" and that means storage. At the moment the paper storage industry is booming due to the fact that people have moved into the electronic age. Despite the promise of paperless offices, inexpensive computers and printers are now generating massive amounts of paper to document activities. But there are few solutions for true records storage given the new volumes of data. So although we have increased our records volumes, we have inherited the old standard of paper storage which makes for a mess.

All Change Comes With a Price

Digital data storage solutions five years ago were costly. It was cheaper and easier to print a page for 0.30¢ and store it in a box. To quote Bob Dylan "...The times, they are a changin'..." Records Management however has begun to spread its wings. With the cost per GB of storage now measured in pennies and users being able to purchase a terabyte of storage for a couple hundred bucks, it will only get cheaper.

The tables have turned. Paper storage is now the costly alternative. Compared to digital storage, paper storage is getting expensive and time consuming even using the biggest and presumably most efficient document storage companies. The cost of storing paper is pushing SMB's and personal record keepers to find an electronic records storage solution. Laws have started to catch up with technology. Records can now be created and maintained in a digital format only, within guidelines. This is good news for us all, but how do we make it work? Of paramount concern is security, so secure records storage is the main criteria when examining solutions for long-term records storage. What constitutes security? Well, redundancy, access control, disaster recovery policy, technology proofing.

The Digital Revolution

With digital data storage costs going through the floor, 50% of the paper storage problem has been solved. However the other 50%, security, was not solved. We used to have to protect our data on paper from the elements. Paper burns, rots, stains, fades, and disintegrates. Safe storage of such a fragile material has always been a challenge.

A digital file does not suffer directly from the elements, but does have its own risks. A digital file can be rendered useless by a magnet, an unstable power current, defective hard disks, and viruses. And digital storage is susceptible to technology obsolescence. Remember the 4 ¼ floppy or the 3 ½ diskette? So as an SMB, where can you look for a solution to the problem of costly paper storage of important records, AND digital storage of important records?

A 100% Solution

Datawitness marries online technology with offline integrity, by bringing microfilm storage to electronic records management. Who would have thought an "old world technology" would solve a "new world problem"? We did it and gave you the best of both worlds: electronic-format and hard-format.

Datawitness is the only viable solution when long-term digital records storage is required. We are the best solution because we can store records onto microfilm, yet keep them available digitally, so you can still reference them if required. You pay for what you store, and you pay for it only once. No recurring costs. Digital Storage for 35 years, Microfilm for 100 years +.

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As we understand the Datawitness technology, the burden of proving that archived documents are reliable copies of the originals could be readily achieved. The system is designed to produce an accurate and immutable record of electronic communications as they occur. Judges readily welcome such evidence.


Fasken Martineau

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A three-drawer vertical file cabinet uses about 10 square feet, including space to open it. The annual cost of maintaining the cabinet, including real estate and staff time is about $2,100.00!

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