Advantages of Offsite Data Storage and Electronic Data Storage
Electronic Data Storage is carried out through a document management system (DMS). A DMS is a computer system that is used to store and track documents, which is in soft or electronic format. Electronic data storage also means keeping track of the different versions of the document, as uploaded by different users and systems. The term has some overlap with the concepts of content management systems.
Document storage was introduced way back in the 1980s. During this period, many businesses began to develop systems to track and store paper-based documents. Slowly and steadily, electronic data storage was also developed, keeping up with the amount of electronic data and documents that were being used. As time passed, the amount of electronic data increased by many folds. Businesses were facing difficulty in storing such huge amount of electronic data, as it required additional storage servers and space. This is when offsite data storage came into the picture. Offsite data storage meant that vendors, or specialized business rent out servers and space to organizations to store the required electronic data.
Electronic data storage provides storage, versioning, metadata, security, indexing and retrieval capabilities for the stored documents.
• A Metadata is stored for each document and image. Metadata are some keywords present in the document, which helps in easy search and identification of the document.
• Electronic data storage also involves online integration. Using this feature, users can not only view the document in the DMS, but also make changes, if required. The DMS will ensure that all versions of the document are saved.
• Indexing involves the tracking of the electronic documents. Indexing can be a simple task, but keeping the indexing based on names, or a complex task, by using the metadata as well. The more complex the indexing for a large set of documents, the easier will be the retrieval process.
• Storage of electronic documents includes management of those documents in different formats, different locations, and also the destruction of the documents, if required.
• Retrieval of the electronically stored data can be a simple, yet a complex and powerful task. The retrieval will be based on the keywords provided by the user, which will be used to search the stored document. They keywords will be searched in the indexed folder, and also in the metadata.
• An electronic stored data has to be in a format that cannot be altered easily. The data storage system or facility should ensure that an original copy of the document is always maintained, so that even if alterations are done, the master copy always exists. This is a very important criteria for high-end transactions and legal documents.
• One of the key aspects of electronic document storage is the document security. The data storage facility, specially the offsite data storage businesses have to ensure that the documents are stored in a safe environment, where the risk of plagiarism, theft, and damage is minimal.
• Another important aspect to be kept in mind is versioning. A DMC should maintain all versions of the documents, even if a minor change is made by any user.
• Document scanning services is critical when storing electronic data. While it is simple to store electronic documents, the electronic document storage business should know how large documents, like a blueprint, or building plan, can be printed.
To sum up, the basic requirements of an offsite data storage and electronic document storage requires the business to establish and create a procedure to:
• Review and approval of documents prior to release
• Ensure clear identification of changes
• Ensure records of all document versions
• Ensure that documents are legible and identifiable
• Ensure that external documents are controlled
• Prevent theft and forgery