Physical File Storage vs. Digital File Management, Which is Better?
Since its invention in 1898 by Edwin G. Seibels, the storage solution of choice in many office environments has been the filing cabinet. However, there is a better option available with far greater utility in the modern office: the document management solution.
In order to determine which of these storage methods reigns supreme when meeting the needs of today’s businesses, these two competitors are going head-to-head in a series of solution capabilities to see which is better suited to the needs of the modern office and worker.
Round One: Accessibility and Permissions
If an office utilizes a filing cabinet system to meet their storage needs, an employee can access those files from exactly one place: the office itself–and since the filing cabinet system holds physical copies of an organization’s documents, any employee with access to a cabinet could presumably view any document whether or not they are supposed to. The only surefire methods to avoid this with a filing cabinet system is either to lock the drawer those files are in, or utilize an entirely separate cabinet for those sensitive files. However, these methods could prove problematic, as an employee may need to access other files that they are cleared to work with, which are also stored in the locked drawer–requiring the employee to bother a higher-up to unlock the drawer for them, inconveniencing both parties.
If an office implements a document management solution, the files may be accessed from the cloud via any secure connection with the proper login credentials, allowing for increased mobility of the worker without the risk of physical documents being lost, stolen, or destroyed. What’s more, a document management solution allows for permissions to be set for various documents, so there is little-to-no risk of an employee gaining access to a file they shouldn’t, while retaining full access to the files they need. Furthermore, if the employee needs permission to access a document, a quick message to their administrator can resolve their issue with minimal inconvenience. The edge goes to the document management solution.
Round Two: Versions of Documents and Searching for Them
A file cabinet can only hold so many documents, and as a result there’s a significant chance that older editions have been disposed of or moved to another storage location. Unfortunately, there are often times that information that has been removed from the newer versions of these documents is required in order to make a decision, and so that information must either be rediscovered or the document recovered from its new location. Furthermore, there’s always the chance the document was misfiled, and the only way to find it is to rifle through all the stored information the business has accumulated.
With the document manager, however, a user in need of a previous version of a document has the ability to access prior editions built into their solution. What’s more, if a document is somehow “misplaced,” a simple search for the desired file will pull it right up for the user. Again, the edge goes to the document manager.
Round Three: Disaster Preparedness
To the file cabinet’s credit, these hardy containers do provide a considerable amount of protection from a variety of file-damaging conditions. However, they are not infallible, and flood, fire, or some other adverse circumstance could very well destroy your critical data.
Document managers, on the other hand, can be maintained off-site, safe and isolated from damage to the office building and infrastructure, with regular backups taken to protect your critical documents as much as possible. These measures keep data safe, even when your office itself isn’t, giving the edge to the document management solution.
Round Four: Scalability
Consider the number of files you utilize in your day-to-day operations, and consider these capacity comparisons.
A four-drawer standard file cabinet can hold approximately 2,500 pages in each drawer for a total of 10,000 pages, and takes up 119.17 square feet in the office for each cabinet. Comparatively, a gigabyte of data, or approximately 71,942 one-page documents, can be stored on a flash drive (although that is not recommended for numerous data security and network safety reasons) taking up about as much space as a coin–assuming, of course, that you store your data on-premises and not in a cloud solution.
We Have a Winner!
The document management solution dominates over the traditional filing cabinet system in all four rounds. Coming out on top as far as usability and security are concerned, a document management solution is clearly prepared to take its place in any office environment. Contact Think Tank NTG for more information into establishing a document management solution for your data.
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