1. What kind of information is being stored?
This question is, arguably, the most important. If you don’t know what’s being stored, you won’t be able to have a proper system and service in place. Are the documents media-heavy? If so, a digital storage service might be best. Are the documents text-heavy with lots of fine print and signatures? A digital storage service may still be best with select pages being physically printed and securely stored.
Are you looking for an imaging system that will convert your paper documents to electronic files? Alternatively, are you looking for software that will serve as an electronic filing cabinet — or maybe a combination of both?
2. Are you required, by law, to have physical copies? What about privacy levels?
Depending on what kind of information you are capturing and storing, you may be required to hold onto physical copies for a certain number of years. If this is the case, it’s important to make sure the documents are in a secure (and natural disaster-proof) location and only those who need it will have access to them.
If the information requires specific storage, there’s a good chance it’s sensitive information that needs to remain private. But, is it something that will require encryption, locked passcodes, and more? As you assess document storage services, make sure to examine privacy features, and to ask questions about what’s right for your needs.
3. How many people or teams need to be able to access the documents?
This is another critical point! As we’ve seen time and time again, too much access can become a problem. If multiple people need access to a given database, look for a solution that will allow that access without compromising security.
4. Do you need a physical document storage service or a cloud-based system?
The type of documents being stored and any additional requirements may make the difference between needing a physical location or a cloud-based system. Often, a storage facility will require maintenance in the form of an employee – or multiple employees – keeping it secure and backed up. It puts you in direct control of your documents but also comes with more responsibility and upkeep.
Alternatively, a cloud-based system is usually hosted by a provider and made accessible to you and your team. It also means you don’t have to have a large IT team to support the system and run the maintenance.
5. What kinds of features do you need to have?
Document management features can make all the difference – especially for teams that are working with extremely large amounts of information. What kind of features will your organization need? Some of the most important (and common) features are:
- Keyword search,
- Locked access,
- Monitoring tools,
- Mobile device support,
- Supported various document types, and more.
Make your list of must-have features and nice-to-have features so as you’re looking for a document management service, you’re able to ask the right questions.
Whether you’re looking to improve your physical document storage system or are ready to streamline to a digital system, knowing what you’re looking for and what questions to ask representatives will not only help you, it will ensure you find the service that is the best fit for your needs.
Have questions that need to be answered? The expert team at HIG is here for you! Contact us today.