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Are your documents and data safe

Consumer Warning……..Are your documents and data safe?

The breaking news story in Phoenix this week had to do with a Tempe based AllState Insurance agent who dumped old files containing personal information into a dumpster putting hundreds of people at risk for identity theft. And if you think about it, this is certainly not the first story of this kind to hit the news.

Managing paper records is a monumental task and in some cases, the law requires maintaining the records for up to seven years. This forces some companies to maintain “file rooms” for no other purpose than to store paper records.

It is surprising how many folks believe that storing records in physical space is simply a “necessary evil” they must contend with in order to maintain their legal compliance.

The fact of the matter is, any company that maintains paper records is putting their clients and their company at risk. Not to mention, the undo time, money and effort it takes to maintain, retrieve and dispose of those records. Recent studies conducted by IBM and Xerox indicate that as much as 12% of the average American company’s bottom line is the direct result of document management. For an insurance agent with 3-5 employees, that could more than $15,000 a year just in document management.

Like all things relating to technology, what begins as extremely expensive, eventually is priced for the average consumer. Digital document management has been priced for the small to mid-sized company for a couple of years. This technology is absolutely ideal for independent insurance agents, realtors, medical offices and title and mortgage companies. In recent months, a growing interest among law offices has also emerged.

The current software offered through such notable companies as DocSTAR, FileBound and other imaging vendors contain the necessary elements to comply with the Electronic Signatures Act. DocSTAR for example, has a document authentication system that is so powerful it affixes an electronic finger print to every document to assure it’s the original. These systems also prohibit access to the data by unauthorized individuals. In fact, these products are so bullet proof Microsoft and the US Postal Service now use them nationally. In addition, digital records are stored in three separate locations to assure information protection even in the event of catastrophic disasters such as Hurricane Katrina or even a building fire.

The transition to a digital/paperless office often takes hours not weeks to complete and is the equivalent of having a cell phone . . .”how did we ever live without it”. Going paperless is now mainstream and is your best way to protect corporate assets and individual data. What was once difficult and expensive is now available to companies of all sizes. These new technologies are easy to implement and learn and are affordable for almost all businesses.

As a business owner or manager who has responsibility for maintaining personal information, it is time to become educated on the various document management solutions that are available and make a conscious decision to offer your customers the safest systems to protect their information.

Express Digital Solutions, is dedicated to educating small and mid-sized business owners about document management solutions that suit their business, save time and money and offer a level of security they were previously not able to provide to their customers.