The conversation about going paperless and introducing sustainable business practices is not new. For the last few decades there has been an ongoing discussion about the reality of going paperless. There is a clear dependency on paper that spans industries, yet most offices haven’t made significant change in the volume of their paper use. Many people attribute that lack of commitment to security concerns.
Paper creates a sense of comfort. When digital documents are created people often want printed duplicates and hardcopy backups which maintains our heavy reliance and even increase use of paper. The truth is that digital documentation and paperless options are far more secure than paper, and introducing technology can help your company effectively protect potential threats.
Over 61% of data breaches in small to mid-sized businesses involved paper records. There are clearly many problems with paper.
Electronic communication offers a level of organization that paper can’t. To keep organized paper effectively managed requires a large time commitment and significant manpower. Implementing a digital system makes it easy to automatically store and recover documents. It enables quick searchable access, and better organized documents don’t get lost as easily which is an easy to reach level of security. Gartner research found that 15% of documents are misplaced and 7.5% end up permanently lost. When documents are generated, stored, and distributed on a computer, they can’t easily be lost or destroyed by people or other dangers, like fire or water damage.
Electronic communication and digital document management helps teams to meet regulatory guidelines with greater ease. Digitized documents facilitate compliance by increase security checks, which increases the effectiveness of security. Sending communication out via email creates software records that can facilitate tracking and compliance audits. By using audits, notes, and privacy settings that come along with electric document management systems, users can see who accessed documents, who made changes, why those changes were made, and when a file was altered or edited.
Paper can’t be protected by the same security measures as electronic files. Encryptions code data and documents stored online. Passwords regulate access and can easily notify others when there are attempted security breaches. These capabilities don’t exist for paper, and there is no telling when a physical file has been duplicated or removed until a breach has escalated out of control.
When files don’t have a digital backup, they have a greater risk of being lost forever. Electric documents are not susceptible to natural elements and can be protected from physical damage through backup servers like the cloud or data redundancies that increase the likelihood of being able to recover files that suffer ransomware attacks or physical damage.
Digitizing offers more than just financial and social impact. Paper is inherently vulnerable and can be compromised quickly, and that damage can be difficult to recover from or become costly. Technology that facilitates paperless businesses are strategically developed to ward off cyberthreats and withstand potential physical risks.