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We’ve all had that moment where someone in the office asks for an old document. What did we do with it? Is it on our desk, in storage, or somewhere in the filing cabinets?

73% of business owners still print documents at least four times a day which means you most likely have plenty of paper to wade through. Add the documents that arrive in the mail and you can see the clear problem with storing paperwork.

This is where document archiving comes in. You can keep your important documents without taking up space in the office.

With the year coming to a close, let’s take a look back and see how document archiving has evolved through the years. How has it changed in the 21st century? Read on to learn more.

What Did Document Archiving Look Like in the Past?

Edwin Grenville Seibels invented the vertical filing cabinet in 1898 and revolutionized how people stored documents. The trouble is, filing cabinets take up a lot of space, and searching for specific documents takes time. However, paper can get lost, whether someone is careless or there’s a flood or fire.

Electronic document management systems (EDMS) made things easier in the 1980s, but this wasn’t a perfect system due to the limits of the technology. Over the past couple of decades, computers have also evolved. Now you can scan documents to the cloud, where staff can access them from all over the world. You can search for documents using keywords, and it helps with remote working.

The accessibility of cloud storage was the archiving evolution in the 21st century. When you can scan a document and view it in the cloud on your smartphone, do you still need paper?

How Secure Are Document Archives in the 21st Century?

All these benefits are great, but paper documents are still more secure than digital ones.

With paper documents, a person needs to physically access the room where your paper records are stored. Meanwhile, a savvy hacker can access your digital documents from miles away. A single data breach costs companies an average of $8.19 million.

Managed document facilities are more secure than storeroom filing cabinets. These facilities use 24/7 security to make sure only the right people have access to your files.

Such facilities often offer GPS tracking when you retrieve documents. You’ll always know who has access to your files and when they have access.

Tips for Archiving Paper Documents

Follow these five tips to keep confidential documents safe.

  1. The best way to keep paper documents safe is to use a managed off-site archive solution. This means no one can access your records by simply walking into your storage areas. 
  2. Confirm how long you need to keep financial records. Once records pass this age, destroy them. 
  3. Don’t keep copies of documents. Only archive one copy, which cuts down on storage space. Again, securely shred any copies.
  4. Many businesses also archive documents on computer hard drives. That might include your office server. Make sure that hard drives are secure and destroy the hard drive when archived documents are no longer needed. 
  5. When you’re updating computer hardware, choose hard drive destruction for your old machines. That way, no one can reconstruct your operating system to access old digital files.

Explore Our Document Management for Business

You can see that document archiving has changed somewhat. It started out in forgotten storerooms or dusty basements. Then it moved into filing cabinets, before making the leap to digital. Now, you can pair your digital strategy with a paper-based off-site archive.

Are you ready to explore a secure approach to document archiving? Contact us today to discuss your needs and get a quote.