Illustration of a woman having a lightbulb moment as she's carrying paper documents for archiving in a filing cabinet

Top tips for archiving paper documents

Effective archiving enables businesses to improve security, minimise data losses, reduce business expenses and streamline workflows. And it’s something that’s becoming increasingly important as more and more organisations switch to a hybrid working model.

So, how can you bring effective archiving into your organisation and move to a paperless business model? These are our tips for archiving paper documents digitally.

What is archiving?

Archiving means safely storing away information that organisations no longer need daily, but that is still valuable to and needed by the business in the long term. Information can be archived in paper form, digitally or a mix of both. Effectively archived data should be organised, secure and easy to search.

Why businesses should archive paper documents

Business can archive for a range of reasons, but the following are common to most organisations:

Improving security and reducing data loss

Archiving helps organisations arrange and keep track of their data. Proper archiving also means data is easy to find and access when it’s required. If businesses don’t effectively archive their data, it can be misplaced, lost, and even stolen.

Saving space and money

Effective archiving can lower the costs of data storage and can free up valuable space. Making documents fast and easy to find can also lower operating costs as staff can devote time that could be wasted in searching for documents to other, more critical tasks.

Meeting legal retention requirements

In many industries, archiving certain forms of data is a legal requirement. Archiving can prevent businesses from destroying or losing data they are required to retain, avoiding fines and penalties.

How to archive paper documents

If your organisation has paper documents that need to be archived, you’ve got two main options – paper or digital. While many businesses often opt for one approach, some choose a combination, with certain documents stored physically and others digitally.

Archiving with traditional storage (physical documents)

Traditional storage means archiving physical paper documents. And when it comes to traditional storage, you have three primary considerations.

1. Where will you store your documents? Documents should be archived in a safe and secure location. This may be onsite, or it could be a dedicated storage facility. Your choice will depend, in part, on how close an offsite facility is and how often your business will need to access the archived documents.

2. How will you store your documents? Filing cabinets are traditional for physical data storage. But you may opt for more secure storage options – such as waterproof and fireproof containers – for critical documents.

3. How will you organise and catalogue your documents? Documents must be stored in a logical manner, and ideally indexed, to make them fast and easy to access. You need to decide how documents will be categorised and stored. Ideally, you should create an index system or some form of central register which indicates where documents are stored.

Archiving with digital storage

Many businesses today are questioning whether they need to store physical documents at all. For organisations in certain industries, there are legal requirements for physical documents to be kept, but in others this isn’t necessary. And with the switch to hybrid working, digital storage enables your business to take the major steps in becoming a paperlite organisation. Something that can be a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution.

Documents are usually stored digitally by scanning paper documents to create electronic copies. Going paperlite through digital storage of documents can provide your organisation with a variety of benefits, including:

1. Reduced storage space: Digital storage means rooms full of physical documents can be compressed onto a handful of hard drives and servers or stored online in cloud solutions.

2. Reduced storage costs: While digital storage will involve some cost, this is typically far lower than the costs of buying cabinets and other storage equipment, as well as the costs associated with renting or allocating physical space to archiving.

3. Easy access: With digital indexing and search facilities, digital documents can be found and accessed within seconds.

4. Improved workflows: Digital access can be incorporated easily into workflows. Permissions can be added to digital archives too, giving certain people access to particular documents. This both streamlines processes and enhances security.

Effective digital archiving with Brother UK

We offer a range of business solutions that can simplify and enhance your archiving, kick-starting your organisation’s paperlite aspirations. They include:

  • Barcode Utility for efficient and organised scanning of documents.
  • Custom UI Upgrade to tailor printer and scanner displays, allowing them to best meet the needs of your users and to create fast, effective workflows.
  • Kofax ControlSuite for advanced archiving and automation of workflows.

Discover more about our hybrid working technology solutions and what they can mean for the future of your organisation.


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