Recently DOMA ran an article about disaster-proofing important business data with secure document scanning and storage in the Cloud. Indeed, the Cloud is increasingly becoming the preferred method for businesses looking to store, access, and share important information, but is it really the safest option? Likewise, how does cloud storage compare to other common data management methods? When weighing your options, it’s essential to consider the pros and cons of each document management strategy. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of five different data storage methods so that you can make the most informed decision when choosing how to store your documents.
“Never underestimate the importance of storing business data safely. Information is often a business’ most precious resource. Once data is lost or stolen, it is rarely recovered. Reputation damage, loss of productivity, and ultimately loss of revenue are often not far behind a major data breach or loss. There is too much at risk to let data and document protection become an afterthought. ”
No matter how aggressive your digitization strategy is, there is often still a need to engage with paper documents. There is no arguing that paper remains an important part of day-to-day business. Still, it’s important to think about what happens to documents after their initial intake. If you don’t have a clear strategy for document retention or disposal, then paper tends to pile up.
Ultimately, paper filing should be kept to a minimum as it’s one of the least secure ways to keep important data. Even if it is not stolen directly, it only takes a few seconds to snap a photo or scan to email. In that situation, a data breach may never be discovered or traced to its source. Focus on only keeping recent documents and try to securely shred or scan anything that doesn’t need to be kept on site. Additionally, as compliance requirements for each industry change the legal requirement to keep paper files of any kind is diminishing so now is a great time to be exploring other methods.
Many people keep documents on a flash drive or external hard drive as a backup. This is a quick way to ensure redundancy. Using an automatic backup with an external hard drive like Apple’s Time Machine takes it one step further. With this method, files can be synced between your computer and a second physical hard drive allowing changes to be captured automatically at regular intervals. This is often the first, entry-level method to protecting data.
Local hard drive storage is only effective if you are keeping data on more than one drive and ensuring that drives are replaced at regular intervals. If everything is stored on a single disk, your data is at risk. Local hard drives are a fact of life for people working on computers but relying on them as your exclusive storage device is risky.
Networked attached storage (NAS) is an affordable option for small businesses or groups that want a simple way to centrally store files without the complexity of a dedicated server. NAS systems can be used to store, share, and backup files, but they can also serve as multimedia, email, and print servers.
This is a good small business option that allows for a reasonable amount of flexibility. However, it is not quite as secure as a dedicated server or cloud solution. Likewise, it still comes with the pitfalls of any form of local storage. When all your data is in one place – it only takes one localized incident to wipe it out.
With a dedicated server, you see a significant increase in security. A dedicated server is a physical server that is purchased or rented exclusively for your business. They are a great solution for larger businesses and organizations that require extremely high levels of data security and space.
A dedicated server comes with added encryption and protection. This is vital for businesses that handle sensitive information including credit cards, medical paperwork, or personally identifiable information for staff or customers. They are a good solution for many businesses but require a large investment in both continuing education and time to maintain.
Cloud storage provides rapid access to flexible and low-cost IT resources with pay-as-you-go pricing. In addition to storage, cloud providers offer the on-demand delivery of compute power, database, applications, and other IT resources via the internet. With cloud computing, organizations don’t need to make large upfront investments in hardware and spend a lot of time on the heavy lifting of managing that hardware. You can access as many resources as you need, almost instantly, and only pay for what you use.
Something unique to the Cloud is that it has options for every level of business or user. Whether you’re just trying to store family photos or you have highly sensitive financial data, there is a Cloud solution that will work for your needs and within your budget. With the boom in cloud technology, the only real drawback is that it’s still undergoing a lot of growth and change meaning you need to be shrewd in choosing a partner that has the experience and infrastructure to ride out the changes and deliver amazing service.
DOMA, like most businesses, uses a combination of a few methods. We restrict paper filing to non-sensitive data only. Likewise, DOMA quickly converts all sensitive information, including the documents we receive for scanning from our clients and uploads them to the Cloud. DOMA maintains a high level of physical security including restricted access, cameras, and strict safety training. This ensures that the physical information in our building remains safe until it is digitized.
DOMA pairs its cloud solution with a dedicated server for added functionality. The Cloud is easy to integrate with any of the other solutions making it our primary form of data storage.
For most businesses, you will need a combination of storage methods. The key is to shepherd your data and determine both what types of information and documentation need to be stored and what the retention schedule should be. Ultimately, having a clear lifecycle for documents that includes digitization/scanning ensures your information doesn’t get siloed in paper format. You should take advantage of the benefits and mitigate the negatives with your storage solution by layering in other methods of document storage. This is the best way to ensure you never lose the information that powers your business.
DOMA Technologies (DOMA) was founded in 2000 as a Cloud-based document management company. Today DOMA serves a diverse range of Federal and Commercial customers with customized business solutions. Our offerings include Digital Conversion Services, Cloud Services, and Healthcare Information Services. DOMA specializes in creating holistic workflow solutions that simplify and automate business operations such as data capture, records/document retrieval, and electronic storage.
These services, along with our DOMA Experience (DX) software platform are designed to help support your organization’s Digital Transformation journey. With a considerable portfolio of government, healthcare, education, and commercial business customers DOMA has the experience and infrastructure to deploy integrated solutions that make a difference. Contact DOMA to digitize your workflow; we make complex operations simple across a wide range of industries.
Interested in finding out how we can create a secure cloud solution for you? Check out our cloud services below – they go far beyond just document storage.