7 Important Things You Need To Know About The Company's Documents Storage
Collecting, managing and using information is key to any business’s operations and this process naturally creates large quantities of digital and paper documents, some of which are more important and sensitive than others.
There are several kinds of documents companies should ensure are stored carefully so they can easily be located and accessed when necessary, these include:
- Financial documents; balance sheets, bank statements, income statements, payroll, sales receipts
- Documentation of transactions; invoices, order forms, receipts, transmittal pages
- Business founding documents; articles of incorporation, shareholder certificates, contracts, licensing, permits
- Business plans
- Business reports; key performance indicators are used to measure performance in areas such as cost control, customer satisfaction, marketing, productivity, safety compliance and sales
- Staff records; contracts, disciplinary actions, training and payments
- Records of minutes; official accounts of meetings
- Non-disclosure agreements to ensure critical company information that is shared with business partners, contractors, employees, freelancers and suppliers is safeguarded and kept confidential
- Operating agreements between partners in a business outlining how functional and financial decisions must be made
- Compliance and regulatory documents; licensing, permits, tax form
- Insurance policies
Traditionally documents and data were recorded on paper and stored in rows of folders on office shelves, fortunately, due to technological developments, it is possible to digitize every kind of document and record either through scanning or data entry.
A disorganized and fragmented data collection and storage system will result in:
- Large amounts of time being wasted locating documents
- Lost or misplaced files
- Poor communication between team members
- Extra storage costs
- Increased staff stress levels as finding and sharing information is a challenge
Ideally, businesses should employ a document management system to assist with the effective and efficient collection, management and storage of every document and piece of information relevant to their various operations whether it be inventory management, marketing or sales. Implementing a digitized data management system (DBMS) can benefit a company in many ways including:
- Improved security
- Easier and faster retrieval
- More solid regulatory compliance
- Less storage space required
- Enhanced collaboration between employees
- Backup and disaster recovery to prevent files from being lost
- Cloud-based systems can be accessed anywhere
If you are looking for ways to improve your company’s document management or need to set one up for a new business, here are some details and facts about data and document storage.
1. Data Storage Types
Data and important documents can be stored, managed and processed using several different data stores. When considering the best way to store data companies should evaluate the performance of their current data management system and weigh up how an upgrade will affect performance and scalability. Other considerations to take into account when selecting a DBMS are costs, security and whether it can fulfil the required functions.
Generally, there are four types of data storage used in data management systems:
- Databases; spreadsheets are used to organize and store data in columns, rows and tables allowing for efficient processing
- Data warehouses; multi-purpose cloud-based software that can retrieve data from a network of sources for storage and analysis
- Data marts; a store of summarized and subject-based data used to locate specific data useful in business administration and development
- Data lakes; a storage place for all of a company’s raw data which can be retrieved by any employee with access
Not every business uses cloud-based data management systems and even parts of those systems may require a combination of the cloud and hardware to store data. Commonly used storage devices are hard disk drives (HDD), solid state drives (SSD), tape drives and 5D discs.
3. Manage Your Data
As with every other area of business, data should be monitored, managed and improved regularly, and in the digital age when vast amounts of information are created every day, a data management system becomes an invaluable tool in ensuring data and documents are created, used, maintained, destroyed and archived accurately and efficiently.
4. Access Should Be Controlled
Some data within a company needs to be easily accessible by employees via office computers, touch screens and mobile devices. However, there are other types of information regarded as confidential, critical or sensitive with controlled access and security features such as encryption, firewalls and passwords. Companies are legally bound to securely store or destroy certain types of records such as customer payment details.
5. Staff Training
For a data management system to run well and have a positive effect on productivity, there should be a good level of staff training in how to correctly complete data entry, retrieval and storage tasks.
As part of their training employees must learn about the importance of protecting confidential information and the laws relating to data storage, followed by training in tasks such as secure password creation and data disposal.
6. Data Security
In a highly connected and a digitalized world where most information is accessible from anywhere, data security is a huge concern. Therefore, businesses invest significant resources to prevent unauthorized access to their computers, databases, software and websites, which could result in corruption, loss or theft of data.
Data security measures often employed by businesses include access controls, antivirus software, authentication, data masking, encryption, erasure and tokenization.
In the US, each state may have different data collection, storage and protection laws, although there is no overarching federal law regulating data management. However, businesses with customers in the European Union will be subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
7. Data Disposal
After periodic data and document inventory checks and reviews, businesses may opt to or are legally required to destroy certain data. There are good reasons to give your filing system a spring clean as it helps to maintain storage space in your DMS and physical office as old and no longer relevant documents are disposed of.
Some of the methods for disposing of digital records include deleting, formatting, overwriting and wiping, whilst the destruction of physical documents may involve shredding.
The accurate and efficient recording and storage of data and important documents is an essential part of running a successful company and it can positively affect businesses’ productivity and reduce the risk of costly mistakes if done correctly. To set up an effective data management system, business owners and managers should understand the different aspects of data and document storage including storage types, hardware options, best practices and software applications.
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