The loss of important information during a disaster such as a fire or flood is one of the biggest risks associated with such an event. There will be pieces of data that may be irreplaceable and are not stored anywhere else. This may be the case regarding paper records, which are often old and not reproduced or filed elsewhere. Sectors such as the legal profession or hospitals and health care are still very reliant on paper forms and letters, which are stored in ledgers and folders. As a result, they are highly flammable and stand little chance of surviving a fire, while water damage can be equally destructive.
A permanent document
It seems archaic in this day and age, but many companies and organisations have only embraced digital technology up to a point – mostly in terms of communications. But the more data that is available in a digital format, the safer it is from loss. The modern phenomenon of ‘working from home’ works better for everyone if records and documents are stored in a digital format, accessible to all, from any remote location. Clearly ‘going digital’ is the way forward for any business or organisation. You need to be aware of any copyright issues, or personal data issues, when you begin to digitise records. However, having your paper files converted to digital ones will pay dividends in the long run.
Converting ‘analogue’ physical media records into a digital format is beneficial for a number of reasons. These include:
- improving the searchability of the document, so you look for specific phrases or names
- providing online access to information held only on paper, particularly for public viewing
- allowing previously analogue information to be combined seamlessly with electronic records whose origin was digital (i.e. were created, saved and maintained electronically from the outset)
- reducing wear and tear on vital or historical records, for example in a museum or university archive
- reducing storage and freeing up space from the storage of physical files, which can be put to other use
- a reduction in printed material, which is good for the environment
- retaining original copies of the document or artefact, and their appearance and layout for online reference
Help is a hand
For many companies, the cost of digitising records can be daunting and prohibitive. It’s not just the financial cost, but also the time cost, of painstakingly going through great reams of data. You need to know how important the documentation is, what needs to be retained and which can be disposed of as obsolete.
Of course, if you have a thriving business and you haven’t necessarily got the spare time to carry out a digitalisation project, help is at hand. There are many companies out there that offer the service of scanning documents and converting them into digital formats and files. These ‘paper to digital’ services are a useful safety net and mean your digital records will never be entirely lost. It removes the risk of any loss or damage to the files, with even misplaced files being traceable. As well as scanning paper documentation in the standard A4 format, these scanning experts will have larger scan facilities, which will have the capacity for large format papers such as plans, survey and maps.
If you have a business that heavily relies on documentation then it may be worth looking at digitising your document archive. When a catastrophic event such as fire or flood occurs at a business premises or organisation, then any flammable data held only on paper or file would be lost forever. This would be highly detrimental for your business and also your clients and customers. To give yourself peace of mind, it makes sense to explore how your records can be converted and saved. We can offer you advice on how and where to digitalise your data.