At the end of your digital conversion project, your scanning partner will deliver your documents back to you in the digital format (JPEG, TIFFs, etc.) and delivery method (USB drives, FTP site, etc.) that you chose during the scope of work phase. Now that you have your digital records in hand, what’s next?
There are a couple of routes that you can choose depending on the digital output you received and how you intend to use your records. In this article, we’ll lay out the actions that you can take and the pros and cons of each option.
Keep Files On USB
If you want your documents to be delivered on a USB drive, we’ll export the images onto a drive once they’re digitized and processed (either a hard drive or thumb drive depending on your project size) and then deliver the USB to you. In most cases, the USB will be encrypted so we’ll also give you instructions on how to decrypt the drive and extract the data and files from it. It’s an extra step in the project, but an important one to keep your digital documents secure during the delivery phase.
Once you get the USB, you can transfer your files elsewhere (such as to your shared network, your document management system, etc.) or you can opt to leave your files on the drive. If you choose to leave your files on the USB, you’re all done! When you need to find a digital file, all you have to do is plug the drive in and locate the file. Just be sure to keep the USB safe and secure when it’s not in use.
If you intend to keep your files on the USB drive after you receive them, then your digitization project’s complete! Whenever you need the files, you plug the USB into a port to access the files. You won’t need to spend extra money on hosting or on a document management system and your IT team won’t have to import the files to another location. This method will be a good choice for those who have simple document management processes and won’t be needing to access files often.
By keeping your records on a USB, you can easily track where the records are based on where the USB is located.
As of today, USBs are universal and still the standard for many offices. Most workstations and office computers have USB ports, so anyone can insert a USB into a port and be able to access the files they need.
One of the best features of a USB is the ease to make copies from it. You can make copies of your records by transferring them to another USB or a computer drive.
Because of their small size, people can misplace or lose them. And if they’re not kept secure (such as in a locked drawer), they can be stolen.
USB drives aren’t the most durable pieces of equipment. They can be damaged or destroyed when they’re accidentally kicked or dropped (this does happen!). When this occurs, some or all the files on your USB can be corrupted or destroyed.
USBs have been known to not work for no particular reason. This is why it may not be wise to put all your trust into a single piece of hardware and you should create backups to prepare for the worst-case scenarios.
There have been instances when someone gets a hold of a USB and accidentally deletes the data on them by mistake because they didn’t think it was important or they simply didn’t know they weren’t supposed to do that. It could be a completely harmless action because they wanted to make space for other documents, but this simple action has big consequences. Your important documents can be wiped out with a click of a button.
Technology is always changing. As of today, most offices are still using USBs but it could become a legacy medium of storage. Microfilm and floppy disks were once prominent storage mediums that are no longer as widespread so who’s to say USBs won’t be suffering the same fate as its predecessors? Many new devices are already making the switch to only have USB-C ports instead of the traditional and more universal USB ports. If USBs ever become obsolete, it could be hard to find the right equipment to access the files on them.
Store Files On A Shared Application
Another option you have once you receive your digital files is to import and store them on a shared application. A shared application encompasses a shared local network (ex. your company’s internal network), a cloud-hosted application (ex. OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.), or a document management system (DMS) (ex. ApplicationXtender, Laserfiche, OpenText, and Hyland OnBase). Through this method, your files will be stored on a shared location instead of on an individual’s desktop or a local workstation. The people on your team who have permission to view the files will have access to where the records are stored.
The beauty of a shared application is that multiple people can easily access the files; access is not limited to a single individual. In some cases, not only can you access the files independently, but you can collaborate and work on the records at the same time.
Even though multiple people can access your records, you can determine who needs to access the records and get login credentials for these individuals. Additionally, you can control what someone does with the files and how they can edit or share them. It’s an added level of security that ensures only the people who need the records will be able to see them.
Most shared applications are built to store a large number of digital files and data so you can put all your records in one central place. Your team will know where your records are located and can go to the shared application to access them instead of wasting time trying to locate the record if it’s spread over multiple systems.
When you put your records on a shared application, you won’t have to worry about whether the file you see is the most up-to-date. Whenever anyone on your team makes changes, the rest of the team will be able to view the updates. This will eliminate having multiple versions of a file and confusion over which version is the most accurate.
Storing your records on a shared application will enable seamless collaboration. Your team will be able to access the records they need as long as they’re allowed access. They can quickly pull up the files and won’t have to worry about emailing or sharing files with one another.
Hackers are getting smarter every day. Putting your records on a shared application makes it susceptible for hackers to access your records if people on your team aren’t trained in preventing outside attacks (such as clicking on “phishing” emails). An errant click or misplaced login/password can open the door to bad actors.
If you store your files on a shared application, your team members can access your files and make edits to them. This leaves your files open to human errors. Someone could accidentally delete something or send files to others who shouldn’t have permission to see the records.
Some shared applications may have storage limits. This may be an issue if your organization has a large number of records. You can run the risk of running out of storage space or eventually having to pay more for increased storage.
Some shared applications are built to just store your records and won’t have any image-enhancing options. If you have some blurry images, you won’t have the option to fix the digital image and make them clearer. Even with shared applications that have some form of image enhancements, they tend to be rudimentary. You can still use them to fix your images but it might not get you the best results.
If you store your records on a shared company network, you may not need to pay extra fees. But if you choose to store your records on a hosted cloud drive or DMS, you’ll likely have to pay the provider a hosting or maintenance fee.
For most cloud-hosted and DMS applications, you’ll need an internet connection to be able to access your records. This could be a disadvantage because internet access is not readily available everywhere so people might not always be able to access the records.
Digital ReeL is BMI’s cloud web-based hosting application where you can digitally store and access your files. It’s built to give you the essentials of a document management system with built-in image adjustment tools, global full-text searching capabilities through OCR optical character recognition, and a virtual replica of the original record for historical reference.
If you choose Digital ReeL, you won’t need to have your records delivered on USB drives or through an FTP site. Once we’re done scanning and indexing your files, we’ll import your records directly into the application and you can access them immediately.
When we set up your Digital ReeL portal, we’ll assign login credentials to the people on your team so they’ll be able to access your electronic records. In addition, we’ll also be able to set up your account for public use if you need the wider public to be able to access your records. Multiple individuals will be able to access your records if they have the login info and an Internet connection.
Digital ReeL gives you the power to limit access to those that need it by assigning login credentials. You can assign “admin” statuses, control what someone does with files, limit which records a person gets to see, redact certain information, and more. You’ll also have an audit trail to see what actions were taken, what changes were made, and when the records were accessed. All these features work to protect your records from falling under the wrong eyes and prohibits people from sharing the files with those who shouldn’t be seeing them.
For sensitive records, you have more than just usernames and passwords to protect your data. We can implement an IP address filter to allow access to the application only from designated IP addresses, and we can also put in place two-factor authentication (2FA) so that even if someone’s username and password are compromised, the secondary authentication method can prevent an outsider from getting into your dataset.
Digital ReeL serves as a virtual repository where you can store all your electronic records. You no longer have to spread your records across multiple platforms and systems; instead, you can simply access your files in one simple application.
If the images in your documents are hard to read, you can adjust the quality by altering the brightness and contrast, despeckling the image, and deskewing the image until you’re happy with the result. You can adjust the image whenever you like to your preference. This feature helps improve your image quality and ensures readability.
Global text search gives you the ability to search the entire database through keywords, phrases, numbers, and index values. Through this text search feature, you’ll be able to search millions of records at sub-second speed, which will drastically increase your records retrieval effectiveness.
When we upload your documents onto Digital ReeL, we create a colocated copy for redundancy and dual access capability. We have a server center at our Sunnyvale headquarters and a secondary server site housed at the RagingWire Sacramento facility. By having your data stored in multiple locations, we’re protecting you from data loss even if one of our facilities goes down.
Digital ReeL is an all-in-one solution. We’ll handle your digitization project from beginning to end: we’ll scan your physical records into an electronic format, index your records, and import and host your documents on our application.
If you want your records hosted on our application, you’ll need to pay a monthly or yearly hosting fee.
Yes, Digital ReeL is our own software application. If you want to host your records on Digital ReeL, you’ll have to work with us, or at least through one of our partners.
To be able to log in to your hosted Digital ReeL archive, you’ll need an internet connection. You’ll be able to log in to the platform and view your records anywhere and from any device as long as you have internet. There may be certain places that don’t have internet so you won’t be able to access your records in these locations.
You have numerous options for what you do with your digital files once you’re done with your scanning project, including keeping them on a USB drive, importing them on a shared application, or utilizing Digital ReeL secure hosting. We’ve laid out the pros and cons of each option so you can have a better general idea of the different options available. The bottom line is that you should figure out how you intend to use these records and choose the option that’ll work best for you.
Now that you know your options after a digital conversion project is complete, you can take the first step to kickstart your project! If you want to learn more about scanning and hosting your records, give us a call at 800.359.3456 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll have one of our reps work with you to build you a custom solution!
“5 Biggest Pain Points of Physical Document Management” lists out 5 pain points of handling your physical documents and offers solutions to these pain points, such as working with a scanning partner on a digitization project.
“6 Components That Make A Great Digital Conversion Project” gives you ideas of how you can set up your project for success and to ensure the best possible outcomes.
“Digital Conversion: What Problem Are You Solving?” makes sure that you’re solving the right problems with your digital conversion project.