6 Things You Should Be Storing in the Cloud

A case can be made that there is no more powerful an online tool for business than “the cloud,” a term for online storage services that allow you to access your scanned documents from the Web.

cloud staorage
cloud staorage

After all, when cloud services allow you to virtually expand your office to reach anywhere a laptop or mobile phone can go, that is nothing short of a game changer that brings the paperless office closer to reality.

Consider how much you would benefit from having these six types of scanned documents stored in the cloud:

1) Business Correspondence

Letters and emails that go back and forth between you and clients, correspondence that outlines key dates and milestones in a business relationship, and other business correspondence is ideal for cloud storage.

This ensures this data is not only safely backed up, but it allows you to easily share it with relevant parties. These documents will even be accessible no matter where you are, making it easy to reference them from anywhere.

2) Multi-User Documents

If you’re collaborating on a document with others in your company, cloud storage is the way to go. At one time, such documents would be traded back and forth by email.

This was not only cumbersome and inefficient, it was also a recipe for disaster, with it being far too easy to accidentally access an older version of a file. When everyone is working from the same document, such disasters can be averted.

3) Calendars & Schedules

Giving your staff or partners easy access to calendars and scheduling documents keeps everyone on the same page and ensures everyone is working from the same game plan. It should go without saying why that is a major boon for your business.

4) Site Photos

For contractors, real estate agents, and others, the ability to make photos of job sites or real estate locations easily available via the cloud can make life far easier.

They can also be shared so that sales staff can use them as examples for potential clients, other work crews can use them as reference, and so on.

 

5) Price Lists

An invaluable resource for a wide variety of reasons, cloud-based storage of company price lists allow staff to have this vital data available at all times.

No more calling back to the office to check on their numbers, accidentally giving clients the wrong information, and so on. The latest can be shared with everyone who needs it.

6) Password Manager Files

If you use a password manager program, you can consider backing up the program’s database to the cloud – provided it’s fully encrypted, of course.

That way you’ll be able to access the web services you use no matter where you are without having to remember the password. It also serves as a valuable backup.

What are YOU sharing or storing in the cloud that has changed the way you do business? 

10 Kinds of Documents You Should Be Archiving and Shredding

Smart business owners know their paperwork is more than just a stack of documents. All that paperwork contains the information that allows their business to function – and that means those documents need to be protected.

document protection
document protection

Think about it: you work with confidential information every single day, from credit card numbers to Social Security numbers, checks, pay stubs, private contact information, and more.

Paperwork containing this information needs to be disposed of properly. This is not just for the protection of you and your clients, but often because it’s the law, depending on your type of business.

Protecting this valuable information begins with two things: shredding sensitive documents and ensuring those documents are scanned and securely backed up.

So what documents should you be shredding and backing up? Here is a list of key paperwork you should be shredding and, in some circumstance, scanning:

1. Employee information and personnel files – Your employees will appreciate that you are looking after their privacy.

2. Social security numbers – Anything with a social security number on it can expose people to identity theft, so be wary of documents containing this information.

3. Medical Records – This one is huge, because HIPAA regulations are stringent when it comes to protecting medical information. Violations can result in fines and even the loss of a medical practice license.

4. Canceled Checks – Using cancelled checks to create “new” checks, and in turn bleed an account dry, is an old practice used by savvy thieves. A move towards paperless business operations can help prevent this.

5. Receipts & Invoices – They may seem like insignificant scraps of paper, but in fact they can be used to find out your internal spending, your overhead, data about your business partners, and more. This is sensitive information, so be sure to have this material backed up and shredded.

6. Client Lists – A list of information this sensitive is not something you want to get into the hands of competitors.

7. Credit card numbers – If you have documents with credit card numbers on them, they should be shredded. A common form of theft is to go through a business’s garbage and look for such numbers. Shred them!

8. Bank account numbers – Do yourself a favor and have all your banking documents stored in a secure, encrypted digital environment.

9. Memos & Internal letters – Memos may not seem like much, but they can provide your competitors with information on how you run your business. There may also be information in such documents that could cause privacy concerns or expose you to legal trouble. Have them shredded!

10. Pay stubs – Pay stubs contain sensitive information about your employees. Be sure to properly dispose of them so identity thieves cannot get their hands on them.

11. Tax records – No matter the type of tax documents, don’t let this data get into the wrong hands. This is especially true of W2 and 1099 forms.

No matter the kind of business you run, security is important. In today’s world, criminals have any number of ways of making life more difficult for you, your employees, and your business partners.

But if you’re smart, you can prevent it. It all begins with digital archiving and document shredding.

4 Ways Your Business Benefits From Going Digital

At one time, there was no business on Earth that could operate without shuffling a lot of paperwork. In many ways, paperwork was the lifeblood of business, containing all the data, facts, figures, plans, and information needed to keep the dollars flowing in and out.

New laptop on a table at modern office
New laptop on a table at modern office

That is no longer the case. Thanks to digital technology, document scanning, and changes in how we conduct business, the paperless office (or nearly paperless office) is a reality.

Many business owners assume the idea of a “paperless office” is only for tech, IT, and financial businesses; that it doesn’t apply to small and mid-sized businesses like theirs, especially if they deal with a lot of customers.

But that assumption is wrong. To understand why, you first need to understand how document scanning and paperless initiatives can benefit you:

1) Improves Your Customer Service

The nature of your business doesn’t matter, a general rule is going to apply no matter what: customer service is paramount.

You ability to succeed and grow begins and ends with your ability to service your clients’ needs. Going paperless can be a big boost in that regard. You can ensure their phone calls and visits are resolved quickly when the information they are looking for – copies of a contract, old medical records, past invoices, and so on – can be retrieved quickly and easily.

That means your customers will walk away happy, and happy customers are return customers.

2) Boosts Your Employee Productivity

No one likes to shuffle paperwork. The feeling is nearly universal: employees hate it.

When you eliminate paperwork and instead have all those documents at the tip of their fingers, however, you give your employees the ability to work smarter rather than harder. This lets them hunt down those old invoices, review that contract from two years ago, and so on with minimal effort.

And that will not only make them happy, it will make them far more productive, too.

3) Saves Your Business Money

A result of having more efficient employees is that your employees can do more with their time. You might not need as much staff, or they might not have to work as many hours. That has a direct impact on your bottom line.

You can do the math yourself and see: If your typical employee has to dig up 20 documents per day, and it takes five minutes to find each document, that’s over an hour and a half per day sorting through papers.

If it instead takes 10 seconds when that document is scanned into the computer, they will have saved 100 minutes of work per day. At $12 per hour, that’s nearly $5,000 annually.

The numbers don’t lie.

4) You’ll Enhance Your Security

When it comes to identity theft and electronic theft, the biggest vulnerability for businesses with data to protect – legal offices, medical practices, contractors, those in the financial sector, and so on – comes in the form of good old fashioned paperwork.

Rummaging through dumpsters is still the primary way thieves get access to key data about you, your employees, and your customers. It’s how criminals clone your checks, get your bank account numbers, and more.

By going digital, your data can be safely encrypted, keeping it safe from prying eyes even in the virtual world.

That kind of security is priceless.

Are you ready to take your business virtual today?

5 Tips To Save Money NOW by Ditching Paper

Let’s be honest, it’s a project you’ve been thinking about but you’ve been putting off: scanning in all those contracts and records and business documents. You know it will be a big job. You know it will be helpful in the long-term. But wow, what a task!

Don’t look at it that way. Instead, look at these five incredible reasons why document scanning will not only make life easier for you, but why it will save you a ton of money:

1) It Makes For Better Customer Service

No matter the nature of what you do, you want to offer the best customer service possible. That’s a given. Giving your customers a smooth, painless experience is one of the best ways to accomplish that. You want their phone call and/or visit to be quick, you want them to get satisfaction as fast as possible, and you want them to walk away happy.

Waiting around while the person helping them digs up a contract from two years ago or a medical document from four years ago is NOT going to make them happy.

The rapid response they can get when all your documents are scanned into the system, however, will result in a much happier client.

2) Employee Productivity Will Be Boosted

The bane of any administrative assistant or office work’s existence is paperwork. No matter how organized your office, no matter how good your employees, hunting down documents is going to eat up more of their time than should be necessary. Having all that paperwork right at their fingertips will let them worker smarter, not harder.

3) You Will Slash Your Operating Budget

In a paperless office that has put a good document scanning system into place, you won’t need to watch as countless hours are tossed away looking for paperwork that could have been found in a few seconds rather than a few minutes. Just do the math on our online calculator and this is apparent.

If it normally takes five minutes to find a key document in your old filing cabinets, and it instead takes 10 seconds when that document is scanned into the computer, an employee will have saved 100 minutes of work per day (based on having to retrieve 20 documents per day).

More math: At $12 per hour, you’re going to save nearly $5,000 per year on that employee alone.

4) Your Key Data Will Be Secure

These days, you hear a lot about “identity theft” and corporate espionage and the like, but you know what? The truth is that the biggest vulnerabilities for businesses with data to protect – legal offices, medical practices, contractors, those in the financial sector, and ANYONE with business secrets to protect – is what some call the “analog loophole.”

When it comes to your day-to-day business, the “analog loophole” is not what you expect: it’s your paperwork. It’s your printed documents. Rummaging through dumpsters may not make the news anymore, but it’s still the primary way people get access to key data about you, your employees, and your customers. It’s how they clone your checks, how they get your bank account and social security numbers, and more.

In other words, if you think protecting your business from digital thieves is a digital game, you’re wrong.

5) It’s Environmentally Friendly

This one is obvious, isn’t it? When you convert to a paperless office, you create an environment that is “green.” You lower your impact on Mother Nature, you use up fewer resources (which makes this one of the most beneficial money-saving office tips), and you let people know that you care about our collective future. The value of that can’t be measured!