How to Create a Centralized Storage of Your Sensitive Business Documents?
Flawless document management is crucial for every business as documents are the most valuable business assets. However, it is not easy. Reports suggest that document management issues account for more than 21% of daily productivity loss for businesses. As a company grows, the document database volumes increase, and document management becomes more complex.
Document management issues consume significant time and resources, leading to loss of productivity, reduced operational efficiency, and increased costs. A Reliable document management system (DMS) can enable businesses to streamline their operations and safeguard these precious assets.
Why Do Businesses Need a Centralized Document Storage System?
Before we discuss the need for centralized document storage, it is essential to understand the classification of business documents and determine the level of sensitivity of each type. The following image highlights the different types of sensitive business documents;
Businesses need to keep numerous sensitive documents on hand, including tax documents, entity documents, leases, human resources documents, financial documents, and more. These documents need to be stored confidentially yet in a way that they are easily accessible when needed.
The crucial document management challenges that businesses commonly face include:
- Business stakeholders need to search for various business documents routinely as required. Employees save documents at varied locations and in segregated department-wise repositories. Thus, it takes significant time to find these documents, making it impossible to leverage them during urgent needs.
- Employees typically do not follow a systematic and consistent protocol for labeling documents in organizations, making it tricky and time-consuming to search quickly.
- Not all business documents are scanned and stored in digital formats. Paper documents are difficult to search and at greater risk of unauthorized access, damage, and theft. These also require dedicated storage space. The storage space and infrastructural needs thus keep increasing as the business grows, escalating costs.
- In the absence of a centralized repository, documents cannot be accessed by all stakeholders conveniently. It consumes a lot of time to find and access the documents, update, and store the modified documents in the right place and format.
- Without real-time collaboration, multiple people working together face hassles like delayed updates, document sharing, synchronous editing, version-clash, and overwriting.
- When documents are not available on a common platform, employees working remotely cannot access all the required business documents; this interrupts overall workflow and affects productivity.
- Security is the foremost concern for critical and confidential business documents that may require quick access anytime. Thus, businesses need to ensure that these are readily accessible, and their access should be limited to specifically authorized personnel only. There is no way to ensure this security for vast volumes of documents without centralized document storage and management systems.
These hassles necessitate a common platform to store, access, update, and share business documents. It can be accomplished easily by creating a centralized storage/document management system. Studies suggest that the global document management system market size valued at USD 5.51 billion in 2020 will reach USD 11.47 billion by 2026.
Here are the benefits of a centralized document management system (DMS) for businesses.
Centralized Document Management
It is impossible to organize documents well and ensure error-free updates when multiple employees work on the same documents. A document management system enables centralized document management, digitization, and automation.
Software-based document management allows a unified view of documents and work activities on a single DMS platform. It brings all the organizational stakeholders in one place to enable seamless document control and workflow management.
Enhanced Operational Efficiency
A reliable document management system enables quick and powerful document search, indexing, easy information access, real-time updates, and automation of repetitive DMS processes. It reduces overall communication, coordination, and process time.
A perfect document control system eliminates manual errors in document management. Moreover, it offers improved productivity, reduced communication gap, and better time management enabling a remarkable boost in operational efficiency.
Conservation of Resources and Cost Reduction
Managing documents consumes significant time and storage space. Besides, businesses need to deploy dedicated personnel for document management. Software-based document management systems help companies to save time, material, and human resources. It ultimately leads to remarkable cost reduction for businesses in the longer run.
Easy Backup and Recovery
Businesses commonly face document losses due to irregular and improper data backup practices. Without a systematic document management approach, it is also impossible to recover such documents. Document management systems enable easy and automated backup and recovery of documents, preventing business data loss and enabling better compliance management.
Data security is one of the crucial requirements in document management for businesses that need to store numerous confidential documents. An efficient DMS ensures data security through access controls and encryption. It enables business managers to allow document access to specifically authorized people and easily restrict others from viewing/editing the docs. The managers also get a holistic record of document access and modification, including user details and time of access/modification. It thus ensures catching security breaches quickly and increases accountability.
As businesses grow, document management gets further tricky. If not managed properly, this can result in chaos, increased costs, and decreased profitability. An appropriate document management system enables easy scalability and steady business growth in a shorter time frame.
Ease of Remote Working
Document management systems eliminate various challenges associated with remote working, including communication, coordination, document sharing, workflow monitoring, data security, and more. The software thus supports remote working, enhancing work-life balance for all the business stakeholders.
With resources conservation, improved efficiency, reduced costs, increased accuracy through digitalization, and enhanced security, businesses that adopt DMS can enhance overall performance, serve their customers better, boost profits, and achieve a competitive advantage over their competitors.
Steps to Create a Secure Document Management System for your Business
Businesses can either create their own simple document management system or implement one from the top document control software available in the market. Developing a document management system for your business is easy. Start-ups and small companies that need to deal with fewer documents and have a limited budget can quickly create and leverage their document management system from the free DMS tools available in the market like Google Drive. In contrast, it is viable for medium to large companies to choose a solution from the top document management systems to get numerous additional functionalities and customized tools under one roof, supporting scalability for business growth.
Here are the essential steps to develop and implement a secure DMS for your business.
As in every process, the first step in creating a document management system is planning. Proper planning can help you design the best DMS for your business with ease.
A document management system would not serve its purpose fully if your business documents are in paper format and not saved digitally. So, scan and digitize all your business documents first. Make sure that you follow a systematic naming convention while storing the documents. Note that it is vital to follow such nomenclature even after developing your DMS.
At this stage, purge and discard the unwanted or obsolete documents that are no longer needed. Once the complete collection of necessary documents is ready, prepare a backup at a secure location.
Categorize and separate documents in folders as per their type/category, the department, and personnel needing access. For example, prepare separate folders for human resource documents, tax documents, financial documents, etc. Within each broader category, there should be a separate section or subfolder for highly confidential documents.
Next, identify documents and workflows. Choose multiple responsible stakeholders from various departments to create a DMS planning team. Discuss with them the document management challenges they face and the need and advantages of a reliable DMS. Additionally, seek suggestions from them for developing a document management system.
In parallel, prepare a list of user types and authorizations. It must specify the ownership and access levels for each user type for each broader category of documents. For example, for HR documents, there can be managers and executives with different levels of access rights. The access rights can vary from restricted access, ownership, view only, edit, and more for distinct users.
Further, you must plan for the time, resources, and budget needed in setting up the DMS, data migration, implementation, training, and maintenance.
Selecting Storage Type
Another significant task in creating your document management system is choosing the right storage type for your organization from cloud-based, web-based, and server-based storage options. If you are looking for real-time collaboration, quicker deployment, better security, and scalability, cloud-based storage is the best option for your business.
Cloud-based DMS hosted on third-party portals reduce hardware costs by eliminating the need for dedicated servers, external memory, wireless connections, and more. Moreover, cloud-based document management systems offer the flexibility to choose from multiple features and plans based on the budget. Thus, cloud-based can prove less expensive in the long run compared to other options.
Conduct a detailed requirement analysis with your DMS planning team for the document management system features and functionalities. The common document management features offered by DMS systems include:
- Robust search to find/retrieve the documents
- Workflow functionality
- Collaboration functionality
- Online and offline access
- Security features
High-functionality document management systems may offer additional plugins at extra costs. Based on your requirements, you can decide if you need a basic DMS solution or a comprehensive one with customized features.
Once you have finalized your DMS solution, prepare for implementation. Migrate the data or document inventory on the DMS platform. Set up the integrations with other systems as needed.
You must ensure all security measures are in place before the final implementation of the DMS. Confirm document storage and backup settings. Set access controls for various user categories and specific users. Besides, classify and archive docs to ensure version control and formulate revision protocols.
Activate additional settings including, traceability measures, action/activity records, and monitoring for who made the changes in the documents and when.
DMS is typically simple to use, but the users must follow the protocols to leverage and store the documents appropriately. While implementing a document management solution for your business, it is thus essential to ensure that your employees are trained well for its use. Not all users are equally skilled in adopting new technologies, so it is advisable to train them as per their needs and skills.
The top DMS vendors offer user training and support. While choosing the DMS for your business, inquire about the same from the software provider.
To derive full advantage of the system and achieve perfect document management, after implementing DMS, businesses must also ensure that the employees are using the DMS correctly.
Besides, perform regular checks, including document search, access controls, and security. Take routine backups and confirm that the recovery measures are working well.
Tips to Consider While Creating Centralized Storage of Your Sensitive Business Documents
Businesses can create a perfect document management system for faultless document management by following the steps as discussed and some simple tips. So, here is a summary of the key considerations in developing centralized storage of your sensitive business documents.
- Choose the right DMS solutions based on your requirements, features, budget, and suitability for your industry.
- Typically, DMS providers offer multiple deployment options; explore and choose the one that best suits your business needs in the long run.
- Analyze if the free and open source document management systems can fully serve your business needs or customized paid solutions are needed.
- Focus on user experience; opt for a solution that provides the most user-friendly interface.
- Ensure that it offers all the necessary security features to protect your confidential documents.
- The DMS software should support easy scalability for future growth.
- The solution you choose must allow seamless integration with the existing third-party systems that your business leverages.
- The system provider must offer timely and diligent customer support as needed.
- Check user reviews for both the product and the vendor.
- Inquire about additional or hidden costs, if any, with the system vendor.
Businesses need to maintain and manage numerous valuable and confidential documents. As companies grow, the volumes of these documents increase rapidly, making it further challenging to store, retrieve, and leverage the documents efficiently. Deficiencies in document management can lead to disastrous consequences and long-term damages for businesses.
Developing and implementing the right document management system helps businesses save time, prevent losses, reduce costs, and boost profits. It ensures enhanced search, storage, access, updates, multi-department sharing, and security.
Follow the simple steps discussed above to create centralized storage of documents or DMS for your company and witness efficient document management, compliance, enhanced profitability, and scalability for steady business growth.