Storage or Scanning: Which is Best for Inactive Records?

Scanning technology has given businesses a whole new way to store vital records. But just because you CAN scan your inactive records and convert them to digital files for storage rather than just storing them in their current form doesn’t necessarily mean you SHOULD. There are costs associated with scanning existing records—you either have to pay someone to scan them for you or spend the time to do it yourself. So the question is whether and when scanning is worth the cost.

How Often Will You Need Them?

Does “inactive” actually mean the likelihood you will need the information in your records is “only if I get audited or sued?” Or do you need them periodically for reporting, if there is new activity on the account, or for compliance purposes?

If you truly won’t need them again, it may not make sense to incur the expense of scanning unless your storage costs exceed your costs for scanning and digital storage, which is rare. But if you will use or need to access the information multiple times, it is far more efficient to scan the records and have them available as needed, and save on physical records storage costs and the time and effort for records transfers.

When Will You Need Them?

If your need for access typically happens outside of regular business hours—at night, on weekends or over holidays—and your need for the information is urgent or time-sensitive, you will typically save on expedited off-hours delivery charges and fees by scanning your records instead of retrieving them from physical storage. If your requests are generally during regular business hours, you may be better off just storing and retrieving them and saving on the expense of scanning.

How Fast Will You Need Them?

Most records storage facilities offer same-day or next-day delivery service, so most businesses can have the information they need on relatively short notice, and that works fine in most cases. But if your business can’t run without your information so you need it YESTERDAY if you need it at all, then ensuring they are always available at a moment’s notice is well worth the cost of scanning.

So Which is Better: Storage or Scanning? Answer: It Depends…

To decide whether to store or to scan, take an honest look at how you use your records, how often you really need them, what days/times the need arises and what the turnaround time is from when you first realize you need them to when you must have them. Then compare the cost of scanning to the cost of storage and retrieval on your likely schedule, and be sure to factor in the time it takes for indexing and transfers.
If you need a little more guidance, please call American Document Securities (ADS) today—we’ll be glad to help you figure out which option makes more sense for you!

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My staff and I had the pleasure of participating in an ADS Consulting Shredding & Storage Workshop in April 2011.As a new business, it was critical for us to get off to a good start. The workshop provided us with useful information and practical applications that helped us do that. The ‘hands on’ training experience we received in a successful, working document destruction and storage business environment was invaluable.Renee and her staff were very personable and helpful and continue to be valuable business partners to this day.I highly recommend the ADS Workshop to both new and existing businesses

Rob Giannini, C.O.O.Commonwealth ...