Capturing Paper Files in the Digital Era

Many companies, particularly those which started prior to thedigital era, have been built from paper files. Paper files may live in filecabinets, on employee desks, and in other places which are not easilyaccessible by parties who need them. In a sense, the information in these filesis considered “dark,” because they do not exist in a digital format.

Though the thought of converting paper files to a digital formatcan seem daunting, it is essential for a company to have a handle on datacompliance and information governance.

Where do we start with converting paper files?

It’s important to recognize that every file may not need to bedigitally converted. One of the first steps in this process is to determinewhich files have the most significance or urgency and prioritize those as thefirst to be scanned. Rather than randomly picking files to scan, start withthose that are accessed or needed most often. Digitizing those files used mostfrequently can save valuable time and help employees realize benefits rightaway.

Is it necessary to have every file in digital format?

Determining where each file is in its lifecycle will be beneficialin the digital conversion process and should ideally be done prior to beginninga scanning project. Take some time to understand what information your companyhas, why your company has this data, and how long it must be retained. Thisknowledge makes it easier to determine how urgently a file should be digitallyconverted, if at all.

Similarly, converting a file to a digital format if your companyno longer needs the information opens you up to unnecessary obstacles andrisks. Retaining digital copies of outdated information not only takes upadditional resources, it increases the likelihood that this information couldbe improperly shared or leaked in error.

How should we dispose of unneeded files?

Once you have determined that a paper file is no longer necessary,whether because it has been converted to a digital format or because there isno reason to keep it, it should be destroyed in a secure manner. Shredding isan effective way to ensure the information is destroyed and will not be able tobe replicated in any format.

Though it could prove to be a large-scale project depending on theamount of paper, capturing paper files in a digital format has many benefits.Among the advantages, digital conversion helps determine the company’sinformation life cycle, if that policy does not already exist.

Gone are the days of companies operating with paper-only files.Capturing files digitally can lead to greater data compliance and datasecurity. By going through this exercise companies become more efficient,adhere to data compliance policies, and determine how best to secureproprietary and sensitive information.

AJTC’s team of technology experts has a thorough understanding of datasecurity and its impact on information and document management. Contact AJTC today to learn more about ourtechnology solutions. You may also visit AJTChere or call 708.942.8200.

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