Digitally archiving files is one of those simple tasks that has huge results. It is something that if it is done properly, it will literally save your stress levels, financial state and even your company. In order to see the logic behind it, let’s start at the beginning.
What does Digital Archiving mean?
Digitizing is a topic all on its own. To keep it short though, any company of any size will benefit from converting their paper documents to digital ones. Digital copies have the capabilities of being tracked. Digital copies do not take up space in paper file folders on desks and are environmentally friendly. Digital copies can be put in a central location where the user must go to access it, rather than the paper copy going to where the user wants to put it. This makes archiving files very convenient. Digital files are easier to access by people who are not always sitting at the same desk or even the same office. There are hundreds of reasons that files should be digitized, but that is another blog.
Digitally archiving files means that you are storing your documents in a digital format. The archiving part means it is compressed and literally stored away. The difference between a saved file and an archived file is that your saved file is in a full-sized format on your computer. Unfortunately, this is exactly where most files get left. Once somebody is finished with it, they save it and forget about it. It remains just where it was left for years and years. While this is still a step up from throwing a paper file in a box, it still does not reap the full benefits of what digital filing can do for you. By simply saving and forgetting, you are slowly using up valuable computer space that can be better used for current projects. Archiving these files will compress and shrink them and literally store them “away” until they are further needed. This saves space and removes them from your view. Have you ever waded through hundreds of files and file folders looking for a particular file? Archiving removes all of the “complete” ones making these searches much more bearable.
Storage and Compression Benefits
Consider this, an employee completes a project, they results are printed and the file is closed. Three years later that employee moves onto another company or even out of the country. Five years after this a similar project comes along and the question is raised “What did we do the first time?” Well the answers are all on file, but which file? That was eight years ago. What name did the employee save it under? What file did he use? Even worse, what computer did he use? Archiving files avoids scenarios such as this. Properly archived files act quite similar to a library. Everything should be sorted by date, time topic or whatever is most meaningful to you and your company. The files basically get catalog sorting order and are put on a “shelf” until they are further needed.
Where to store my archives?
So, considering that archiving files saves future downtime, saves computer space and saves your stress level, where and how do you archive? Many computers will actually come with very basic archiving software in it, many stores sell archiving software. However, if you are planning on truly keeping and preserving your files, store them someplace else. Like in the cloud. Archiving will consist of years and years of valuable data. You have finally gotten the time and the system to catalog and properly store your files, do not let a computer crash or network failure instantly remove years of your history and work.
Online services such as ours here at Contentverse, are one of the ways to obtain digital archiving services. In the event that something happened to your own computer, your history of work can still be accessed and restored if needed. Secure archiving is the final step in the digital world. Do not let this simple oversight be your company’s undoing.
A version of this article was originally published as The Logic Behind Properly Archiving Files Off-Site by Mike Mineo on October 1, 2013.