Communication is the lifeline of every small business.Gone are the days when you would have to fly down to another city if you had a client meeting. Modern technology makes it possible to communicate using email, fax, video conferencing, instant messaging and other such electronic media, besides the phone. However, a majority of the communication still takes place in writing, and has to be captured and stored in the form of documents. As documents carry crucial business related information, keeping them safe should be your top priority. This article gives you some small business advice on how to keep business records and store documents safely.
In spite of technological advances, most businesses still depend on paper to record, store and manage information. As a small business grows, it tends to accumulate tens of thousands of documents of various kinds over the years; e.g. books of accounts, invoices, copies of checks, statements, agreements, letters etc. For many of the documents, multiple copies are made and filed away only to be forgotten about. The documents are stored in a document archive or at an offsite location. In fact, storing documents in paper form could be dangerous in certain situations, some of which are discussed below. So then, how to keep business records secure? Switch to electronic document management – there are compelling reasons to do so.
Paper is vulnerable to adverse climate conditions as well as wear and tear caused by frequent handling. It can get moist, soiled and even get destroyed in case of exposure to rain or snow. When you stored documents offsite, you have even lesser control, as the conditions might not be as favorable as in your own office. As digitally stored documents are not vulnerable to wear and tear, it is far better to store documents like customer data, contracts, and accounts etc. in electronic form.
You may ask, “In the event of a natural disaster, even computers can malfunction or be destroyed completely. How would my documents stay secure in such a situation?” It is very easy to back up documents online. Most Windows-based document management software allows you to do this. In case of a disaster, as soon as your computers are back up, you can retrieve your documents in just a few clicks. There are several online backup services with inexpensive plans you can choose from. It works out far cheaper – and more secure – than having to build your document archive all over again. In fact, you can easily create multiple copies/backups of all your electronic documents – something which would be very expensive or almost impossible to do with paper documents.
As it is very easy to back up documents stored electronically and retrieve them quickly, in the event of a disaster your small office can get back to work with hardly any time lag. This creates a favorable impression of your business in the eyes of customers, vendors and other parties you deal with. They feel confident doing business with you because they know that even if a disaster strikes, their records are safe with you.
In fact, if you store documents in electronic form it almost makes them permanent and indestructible (unless you choose to destroy them or have not backed them up). Switching to an electronic Document Management System (DMS) is possibly the best small business advice you could ever receive on how to keep business records safe. Make the move to Sohodox small business document management software.