The transition from traditional (analog) to digital record-keeping is not just a trend but a necessity for organizations aiming to stay ahead. Record scanning services are at the forefront of this transformation, offering a shift from hard copy materials to digital formats. 

In this blog, we briefly describe record scanning services and what falls under that umbrella, and then touch on the various benefits of moving forward with digitization.

What Are Record Scanning Services?

Record scanning services are pivotal in modernizing record-keeping by transitioning from hard copy materials to digital formats. These services cater to a broad spectrum of document types, ranging from standard office paperwork to specialized items like bound and unbound books, and large-format records including building plans and oversized documents. 

A significant aspect of these services is the conversion of microforms, including microfilm, microfiche, and aperture cards. Since most people aren’t intimately familiar with microforms, all types of these are often referred to as “microfilm.” 

The transformation from physical to digital formats is not just a change in medium but a fundamental shift in how organizations manage, store, and access their records. By crossing the river from analog to digital, an organization can reap the benefits of utilizing its new electronic records.

Enhanced Accessibility and Organization

Digitizing records through scanning and conversion enhances the accessibility of the data. The ability to access digital records from any location improves work dynamics, especially in remote work scenarios, ensuring that vital information is always within reach. Even when not in a remote work situation, being able to quickly locate, identify, and retrieve a digital file can save a significant amount of time compared to the previous method of physical retrieval.

Woman using smartphone with data security images

Integrating digital indexing and optical character recognition (OCR) technology has transformed record organization and retrieval. This technology enables quick and efficient searches using keywords or phrases, making it far superior to traditional manual search methods. In typical cases where OCR and text search are applied, a user doesn’t have to know where a record is, just what the record contains. Using OCR can often pinpoint a record and eliminate the need for a standard search.

Additionally, the transition to digital records frees up physical space previously occupied by bulky filing cabinets and storage units, allowing for a more efficient and productive use of office space. Even if you’re not planning on disposing of the physical copies, you’ll be able to remove them from your primary workspace and into something such as a storage room or even an off-site storage facility.

Increased Security and Compliance

Records digitization not only bolsters security measures but also facilitates compliance with various regulations. Digital records can be secured with encryption, password protection, and multi-factor authentication, providing robust protection against unauthorized access and cyber threats. IP address filters–restricting access to records based on IP addresses–can also be implemented to add additional security layers to datasets. Employing one or many of these digital security features can mitigate the threat of unwanted access.

Two IT people reviewing data on a monitor

Digital formats also simplify adherence to industry-specific regulations such as HIPAA, CJIS, and FERPA, allowing for compliant storage and retrieval of records. Moreover, the inherent organization and searchability of digital records make audits and compliance checks much more straightforward, reducing the time and effort typically associated with these processes.

Digital security isn’t foolproof, and breaches and hacks are always a threat. But with the right protections and protocols in place, you can create a moat around your data with various compartmentalized pieces that increase security and decrease the chances of incidents.

Cost-Effectiveness and Efficiency

Converting to digital records through scanning services is a cost-effective and efficient move for organizations. This transition significantly reduces the need for physical storage and the associated maintenance costs. The upfront costs of a scanning project can seem high, although when compared to the long-term costs of handling physical records (and the potential loss of the data due to a disaster), digitization typically comes out on top.

Coins stacked on a scale

The efficiency gains from using digital records are notable; employees can quickly locate and utilize the information they need, enhancing decision-making and productivity. In the long run, the financial benefits of reduced physical record usage, printing/copying, and storage costs contribute to a sustainable financial model, outweighing the initial investment in record scanning services.

Increasing Efficiency Quality Speed Decreasing Cost Concept

Putting It All Together

By embracing digital transformation, organizations can enhance the accessibility and organization of their records and also fortify their security measures and streamline compliance processes. The efficiency and cost-effectiveness gains of moving to digital records are clear, with long-term savings and productivity gains outweighing the initial investment. Looking towards a future with ever-increasing digital touchpoints, digitization is a crucial step for any organization seeking to optimize its record management processes and safeguard its data.

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Next Steps

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Further Reading

5 Vetting Questions For A Document Scanning Service
How do you choose who you’ll choose to work with for your document scanning project? In this article we’ll give you five vetting questions that should get you started on the right foot.

5 More Vetting Questions For A Document Scanning Service
In this article we continue with the next batch of five vetting questions you should ask when looking for a document scanning service, including project timelines and a provider’s experience.

Striking The Balance Between Efficiency & Security In Digitization Projects
Explore the advantages of efficiency and security in digitization projects, how they intersect, and strategies to balance them when you decide to digitize.