Whether you’re a longtime small business owner who’s finally ready to leave the 20th century behind for good or a family member embarking on the massive undertaking of preserving the family photo collection, large-scale document digitization is quite a bit more than a Saturday errand. For business or personal projects, successful digitization requires pre-organization and a few investments in hardware. Make the move with these top tips for digitizing documents.
It all starts with getting organized. If your filing system is a mess, digitizing them won’t fix that—you’ll just have a virtual mess instead. A well-organized, color-coded filing system for your physical documents is the important first step in digitization. You’ll want to bring as much metadata as you can into the system to begin with—organizing your documents retroactively will only lead to headache. Once you have a physical system in place you can proceed to digitizing your documents.
As technology has marched on, flatbed scanners have fallen out of favor—but you can still scan documents with many printers on the market. In a pinch, you can even scan documents with your smartphone. Some apps include optical readers that’ll perceive text on paper and convert them to editable text.
If you’re hoping to clear out space permanently by digitizing files, you’ll want to shred those documents before disposing of them. There are people up to no good who would certainly rummage through your trash looking for sensitive information to exploit. Depending on the scale of your shredding, you can handle this task internally with consumer-market shredders. One of our top tips for digitizing documents is that if you have an extremely heavy workload for your small business and don’t have the time or resources to shred documents in-house, you can hire an industrial shredding service. They’ll destroy and dispose of documents on your behalf.
Back Up Your Backup
As you migrate documents to the digital domain, you can never be too careful in ensuring your data is safe. Just as physical documents are prone to fading, tearing, or otherwise degrading, hard drives run the risk of failure as well. Once you’ve digitized your collection, purchase a hard drive disc enclosure. This acts as a means to salvage a hard drive from a computer whose other components may have failed, rendering the unit useless while the hard drive remains intact. Store your data on a second external hard drive, which you’ll store as an emergency backup and keep from daily use. Finally, upload your data to a secure cloud service, where you can pull down any files you may somehow lose. With this many fail safes in place, you can rest assured you’ve completed a successful digitization.