Small businesses are vulnerable to all risks, from natural disasters to data breaches. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan in place to protect your most important assets—including your files. Digitizing your files is one of the best ways to guard against loss, whether it’s due to a fire, flood, or hacker. But how do you get started? Read on for a step-by-step guide to digitizing your small business files.
Decide which Files You Need to Digitize
The first step is to take inventory of your paper files and decide which ones need to be digitized. Consider factors like the sensitivity of the information contained in the file, how often you access the file, and whether there are duplicate copies elsewhere. The most important files to digitize are customer and employee records, account information, contracts, financial statements, and other files containing sensitive or confidential data. Once you’ve identified which files need to be digitized, you can move on to the next step.
Scan or Photograph Your Documents
Once you’ve decided which files need to be digitized, it’s time to start scanning or photographing them. If you have a lot of documents, you may want to invest in a scanner; however, if you only have a few, you can use your smartphone camera. To ensure that you get a clear image, ensure the documents are flat, and the lighting is optimal.
If you’re using a scanner, use a resolution of at least 300 dpi (dots per inch) to get a clear image. Make sure that the texts are readable and legible in the scans. If you’re dealing with financial statements and other documents requiring detailed information, scan both sides to ensure accuracy.
Always double-check the archiving and storage process to ensure accuracy when dealing with sensitive documents requiring detailed information. This is important for legal compliance and for protecting your company’s confidential data.
You’ll need video archiving solutions if you have video files that need to be digitized. Video archiving solutions typically involve storing video files on cloud-based servers or external hard drives for easy access and retrieval. Video archiving can also help protect video content from loss, theft, or data corruption.
Archiving your videos helps with collaborating on projects with other team members and ensuring that your video content remains secure. This also helps you with marketing since you can easily access archived videos whenever you need them. It can also be easily played in events where you want to showcase your company’s products and services.
Store Your Documents Securely
Once you’ve scanned or photographed all your files, it’s time to store them securely. Make sure to choose a cloud storage solution that is secure and reliable. Look for features like two-factor authentication, end-to-end file encryption, and data backups in an emergency. Also, use strong passwords for all your accounts to protect against hackers. Here are the advantages of using cloud-based storage:
Secure and reliable: Cloud-based storage solutions are secure, so you don’t have to worry about losing your data. It uses multiple layers of encryption to protect data. You can also set up two-factor authentication for added security.
Backup capabilities: Most cloud storage solutions offer automatic backup options in an emergency. For instance, if a natural disaster occurs, you can rest assured that your files are stored securely in the cloud.
Ease of access: You can easily access your stored files from anywhere with an internet connection. This is best when you can access files while away from the office or implementing remote work.
Cost-effectiveness: Small- to medium-sized businesses often find that cloud storage is a more affordable investment. This is typically priced per gigabyte of data you use, meaning there are no additional hardware or maintenance costs to worry about.
Destroy the Originals (Optional)
Once you’ve scanned and stored your documents electronically, you may want to destroy the originals (assuming they’re no longer needed). This isn’t strictly necessary, but it can help prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands and free up some much-needed storage space. It would be best to eliminate files when the retention period is over, or you don’t need them anymore.
If the files aren’t connected to customers, or they don’t have employees’ personal details/company information, destroy them once their holding time has elapsed. You can use paper shredding or hard disk destruction services to throw documents and keep your company’s confidential information safe.
It is essential to remember that any removal of documents must be officially documented. It should include details such as: which records were removed, when it happened, how it occurred, and under what authority. This helps you maintain organization with your papers and guarantees that the appropriate steps are followed.
In conclusion, implementing a good document management system can help you save time and money by streamlining document-related tasks and ensuring a secure storage solution. It pays to invest in the right digital archiving solutions to easily store, access, and protect your files.