- More than 70% of today’s businesses would fail within three weeks if they suffered a catastrophic loss of paper-based records due to fire or flood
- Each four-drawer file cabinet holds an average of 10,000 to 12,000 documents, taking up to nine square feet of floor space and costing $1,500 per year
- Each misfiled document costs $125. Each lost document costs $350 – $700 and large organizations lose a document every 12 seconds
Today, let’s look at the risks an organization takes without a paperless processing solution, and how adding IBM i paperless processing software reduces risks and improves security.
A typical organization
Consider a typical organization in the early stages of paperless processing (see my article on the Evolution of IBM i Paperless Process Management to view the four stages of paperless processing). Paperless processing is enabled mostly through scanning and emailing paper documents or by manually exporting IBM i data into PDF files or Excel spreadsheets.
This organization allocates warehouse space for seventeen file cabinets filled with incoming and outgoing customer paper. The company also warranties products so there’s another paper storage area containing purchasing information, warranty information, claim forms, and other customer documentation.
Every year, the company sends prior year documents to an outside storage facility and destroys documents that are more than seven years old, according to their retention policy. Policies and warranties are never destroyed, because claims can be received for many years into the future.
With this much paper, there’s a significant risk if there’s ever a fire or a flood. Fires can damage documents or activate sprinkler systems that flood storage boxes and cabinets. Flood damage can also be caused by leaky roofs, excessive rain, or broken pipes.
Without backup, redundancy, or digitization, paper records are extremely vulnerable to loss through fire or water damage. There’s also the issue of lost or misfiled documents and potential unauthorized access.
Paperless processing is security
Contrast that with what happens when an organization digitizes reports and documents with an IBM i paperless processing system, which can reduce risk and increase security.
- They have backup – When digitized documents reside on IBM i partitions, they can be backed up alongside other data. Documents exist in two places: on an IBM i partition and on backup media that resides off-site for later retrieval. If IBM i reports and documents are stored on a Windows or Linux file server, they will be covered by the same backup routines as PC-based files.
- They have High Availability (HA) and Disaster Recovery (DR) –Digitized reports and documents enjoy the same high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR) capabilities as other IBM i data. If you’re running Vision Solutions’ Mimix HA solution to replicate IBM i data for example, IBM i stored documents will also be replicated and stored at another location.
- They have automated archiving – IBM i paperless processing packages can automatically store copies of digitized documents in the IFS or on another file server. Reports and documents won’t get misfiled.
- They have automated document purging – Document purges can be automatically configured and performed according to an organization’s document retention schedule. This automatically removes old reports and documents from an archive, without using manual labor. It also removes manual error from the document purging process.
- They have automated search and retrieval—Paperless processing packages allow users to search through an archive to retrieve and resend old reports. Indexes can be created any way the organization needs them created. No more rummaging through file cabinets or having to send out for documents that are stored off-site.
- They have access security – Organizations move from physical security (who can reach the file cabinets, who has the keys to the cabinet, who can call back documents) to file security, where authorization to paperless reports and documents can be quickly managed and tracked. Documents can now be retrieved from user desktops. Administrators can significantly reduce unauthorized access to documents.
All of these items add up to a more secure environment for IBM i reports and documents, freeing them from the risks of fire, flood, and unauthorized access. Many vendors don’t publicize the security aspects of using an IBM I paperless software system, such as my FormFlex and SpoolFlex tools. But once you buy and install a package, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well it reduces risk and secures digitized document and report output.
For more information on what IBM i document management software can do for your business, download the eGuide below.