So, which is the right choice for you? In most cases, having a mix of both works out the best. There should be hard copies and backups in case anything goes wrong, but having your important documents in the digital space can also be helpful. Take a look at some of the pros and cons of each to decide how to best organize your sensitive information.
Pro: Readily Available
Need a document in your hand right now? It isn’t terribly difficult to find online, but if you’re in a face-to-face meeting, it’s a lot easier to grab a physical copy out of a well-organized file drawer to show a client or partner you’re working with. Instead of worrying about sharing settings or having a good WiFi connection, a cabinet is just there.
One problem of it physically being there is the potential of damage. Whether you shove it into the drawer with too little care or something spills, your physical copy can sustain damage at any moment. Of course, being careful and thoughtful can alleviate this risk, but there is no way to fully remove the potential even if you laminate every piece of paper in the office.
Pro: Accessibility for Team Members
Even if you just hired someone, they will be able to access the documents they need. You won’t need to set them up with an account only to find out they don’t have the right credentials in that account, leading to another account being set up or the preferences changed. The worst case is a drawer that got jammed and replacement file cabinet parts can fix that issue pretty quickly.
If you have a ton of employees or you use a temp agency for certain job roles, a filing system in a cabinet could work a lot better for your organization. You won’t have any passwords to change should someone leave. As soon as they lose access to your office, they lose access to your sensitive information. For this and other reasons, there are laws that dictate what lawyers must store as physical copies in their office.
Con: Uneditable Copies
The documents can be accessed by anyone but updating information can be a hassle. Instead of quickly changing a few things in a digital document, you have to go through that same process with the extra printing and filing steps. This can make document management much more of a process, leading to more expense through company time being spent.
Depending on your industry, not everyone will be totally tech savvy. Using a traditional cabinet system is something everyone understands. There is also much less of a learning curve for companies that use temps to handle their documents. If your team doesn’t do too well with technological solutions, don’t make their days more difficult. Just use a cabinet in spite of how “old school” it may be.
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