3 Document Storage Ideas for Businesses

Last Updated: 

May 22, 2024

An astonishing number of paper documents is dealt with by the typical business.  

It is projected that U.S. offices will consume a total of 12.1 trillion paper sheets this year, with paper demand expected to double by 2030.  

The paper requirements vary based on the business size and industry.  

However, most companies will require a mix of on-site and cloud storage solutions to improve efficiency, maintain productivity among employees, and safeguard important data.

These suggestions for document storage are intended to help start-ups, small businesses, and global enterprises find solutions that will meet their current needs and allow for future growth.  

Continue reading to find out more.

Key Takeaways on Document Management for Business

  1. Password Protection: Safeguard sensitive business information by utilising password protection features in software like Microsoft Word, Excel, and Acrobat for PDF files.
  2. Digitise Documents: Convert physical documents into digital formats using a high-quality scanner and store them securely on cloud platforms to protect against loss or damage.
  3. Physical Storage Management: Organise physical files in designated areas with controlled temperature and humidity to preserve their integrity and protect them from pests and environmental damage.
  4. Advantages of Physical Storage: Consider preserving original documents for legal or authenticity reasons, as physical copies offer security advantages against hacking or tampering.
  5. Strengthen Storage Rules: Establish strict guidelines for document management, including secure printing practices, data encryption, regular file deletion, and proper disposal of sensitive paperwork.
  6. Shredding Practices: Invest in a high-quality shredder and implement cross-cut shredding to securely dispose of confidential documents and prevent unauthorised access.
  7. Employee Departure Protocol: Immediately revoke network access for departing staff to prevent unauthorised access to company files and ensure data security
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1. Protect Your Important Documentation with Passwords

I am astonished by how numerous small business proprietors store critical documents on their laptops, risking the exposure of sensitive business information in case of loss or theft.  

You have the option to secure your documents with a password for added protection.  

Use the password protection function in Microsoft Word and Excel to prevent an unauthorised individual from accessing or modifying the documents.  

In Acrobat, you can secure PDF files to block access, printing, modifying, and duplicating files. Making it standard practice to protect your PDF document from being edited is important when sending contracts. So, make sure to keep that in mind if you are opting for this technique.  

2. Create a Few Digital Copies

Just having a locked filing cabinet is not enough to safeguard important documents.  

Physical paper records, also known as hard copies, are convenient for quick retrieval, but it is crucial to have a digital copy as well. Purchase a high-quality scanner and convert your crucial documents into digital formats by scanning them.  

Digitise all essential papers and store them on a cloud platform such as Dropbox, JustCloud, or SugarSync. Cloud storage allows files to be stored on distant servers that can be reached through the internet. There is no need to be concerned about the files in case of natural disasters, fires, burglaries, or a computer hard drive failure. Many cloud-based business storage services offer the capability to monitor file access and sharing activities.

3. Use a Physical Storage

Having filing cabinets and a designated room for storing all essential physical documents is necessary for organising physical files. To properly store these documents, they must be kept in a room with a temperature lower than 75 degrees and humidity levels no higher than 50%.  

It is important to keep the files protected from direct UV light and heat to preserve them for many years. Exposure to sunlight may result in the fading of writings on documents, rendering the papers unusable within a couple of years.

It is important to protect physical files from both pets and pests as well. It implies that they need to be positioned in a place where pets are prohibited and pests can't easily gain access. Pests like mice and rats can gnaw on paper, potentially damaging important files.  

Keeping food particles away from a precious meta storage facility is crucial to prevent attracting pests that could potentially damage the files over time.

Even though there are advancements in digital storage techs, there are still several reasons why opting for physical file storage is beneficial.  

One factor is that it preserves the originality of the files. Even though it’s not necessary for every business, some may find it advantageous to have physical storage space for documents. These businesses need files to have signatures written by hand rather than digitally created ones.  

Certain companies may also have a requirement to retain a physical copy of their signed papers, necessitating the possession of the original source files rather than just a digital duplicate.

Security is another motive for keeping physical copies of documents.  

In contrast to digital methods, physical storage of files ensures they remain safeguarded and intact, immune to hacking, tampering, or viruses that could compromise their security.

Bonus: Make Your Storage Rules Stricter

Establish guidelines that can serve as model procedures for your small business. Ensure that all team members are informed of the expectations by sharing your internal policies with them.

Make sure not to abandon sensitive information on the printer for others to access. Upon printing to a shared printer, make sure to promptly collect your document.  

Consult with your IT expert to guarantee encryption of data and regular deletion of archived files from the printer when scanning and emailing confidential documents.

Exercise your discretion in determining which files to keep and establish guidelines for the duration of time that the documents should be retained.

Destroy unneeded paperwork, like old employee files, which could potentially have their social security numbers. If you ever need to keep a copy, make sure to store the document in a password-protected file on your cloud storage platform.

Purchase a high-quality shredder. Ensure that important paper documents are shredded, not thrown into the recycling bin. Opting for cross-cut shredding instead of strip-cut can help avoid the risk of documents being reconstructed. Finally, if a staff member departs, immediately block their access to the network to avoid unauthorised downloading of important company files.

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