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Getting Organized in the Office: Don’t Overlook Your Scanner

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Getting Organized in the Office: Don’t Overlook Your Scanner

Digitizing files is a lot of work, but it pays off in the end. If you’re like most businesses, you have filing cabinets – lots of them. What’s wrong with that? Plenty. For starters, you’re just one fire away from having everything destroyed. Even if you have business liability insurance, it can’t replace contracts, custom blueprints, and other creative documents.

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How Scanners Help Simplify

With paper documents, you constantly have to worry about security and safety. Sometimes, your biggest threat isn’t a dishonest employee or clever competition. It’s nature – fire, floods, and even earthquakes can destroy your business.

Scanners help to move physical papers into the digital realm where they can be easily passed on to other people, send to third-party servers, retained on remote hard drive systems you own and control, or copied to CDs or flash drives for later use.

Once a document is scanned, you can often search through thousands of pages in mere seconds. This is done using OCR software. The software creates scannable, edit-friendly documents. Imagine being able to find what you’re looking for in just a few seconds, open it, make changes, and then send it off to your client across the country.

How Scanners Can Protect

Bytes aren’t easily destroyed. Sure, hard drives break down, and information degrades, but the lifespan of digital documents far exceeds paper. In fact, your documents will probably outlive you in digital format. All you have to do is make sure that the storage medium doesn’t fail.

With digital media, you can pack up, and send, documents off-site for enhanced security. Companies like Micro Com Systems Ltd  exist for the sole purpose of organising and protecting data – a service you’d be hard-pressed to duplicate in-house. Once documents have been scanned, they can usually be destroyed without any serious consequences.

About DPI

When scanning documents, you need to take into consideration DPI or “dots per inch.” DPI refers to the resolution of a document or image. For simple graphics or images, a good resolution would be 300 DPI. Most computer screens only display 72 DPI on the web, so you don’t need a resolution higher than this for documents that will be viewed over the Intranet or Internet.

For documents that need to be reprinted at some future date, choose a DPI of 600. This will protect against serious degradation of the file. Line art needs to be scanned at 900 DPI for future reprinting and 300 DPI for the web. Grayscale images and documents should be scanned at 300 to 600 DPI, while halftone images should be scanned at 1200 and saved as a .PNG file.

Colour documents do best at around 300 to 600, though 1200 will provide optimal archival-quality in the image. Anything above 1200 is probably overdoing it.

Backing Up Data

Use a dedicated backup service, even when you do scan documents to a secure hard drive. While scanners take away a lot of the risk of keeping paper documents, there are special risks with digital media. The most obvious is that a small hard drive is easier to steal compared to an entire filing cabinet system.

Fire can still destroy a hard drive and all of its contents. Encrypting, and backing up, data with a secure third-party company will almost guarantee that your data will never be lost.

 

Eric Jones loves keeping up and reporting on the latest technological advancements. His writings mainly focus on how businesses can improve productivity.

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