Storage or Scanning: Which is Right for YOUR Inactive Records?

The advent of scanning technology has given businesses a new option for storing critical records. But just because you CAN scan your inactive records and convert them to digital files for storage instead of storing them in their existing format doesn’t necessarily mean you SHOULD.

Scanning costs either money or time—you either have to pay someone to scan them for you or spend the time to scan them yourself. The key question is always, “Is it worth it?” To figure out the answer, ask yourself a few questions and be honest in your responses—sometimes how things really are is different from how we would like them to be, so get real with yourself about your needs.

How Often Will You Need Your Records?

Does “inactive” actually mean the likelihood you will need the information in your records is less than your chances of being struck by lightning? Or do you need them for quarterly or annual reporting, for compliance, or whenever that particular customer needs something else?

Unless your storage costs more than scanning and digital storage, which is rare, it may not make sense to scan your records. But if you will need your information a few times a year, it may very well be worth it to scan them and save time requesting, transferring and managing them and on storage fees.

What Time of Day (or Night) Will You Need Your Records?

If you typically need access at night, on weekends or over holidays, and you need your information in a hurry, it will probably cost less to scan your records than to pay expedited off-hours delivery charges. If you usually only need records during regular business hours, just storing and retrieving them and saving on the expense of scanning may be the better option.

How Fast Will You Need Your Records?

Most records storage firms offer same-day or next-day delivery, so most businesses can get the information they need on relatively short notice. But if your business can’t run without your information and if you need something at all you need it YESTERDAY, then ensuring your records are always available is well worth the cost of scanning.

So Which is Better: Storage or Scanning? Answer: It Just Depends…

To decide whether to store or to scan, take an honest look at how you use your records, how often you really need them, what days/times you realize you need them and how fast you have to have them after that. Then compare the cost of scanning to the cost of storage and retrieval on your desired schedule (be sure to factor in the time it takes to index and transfer them).

That should show you which choice is best for you, but if you need more help to decide, please call Archives Management Centers (AMC) today! We’ll be happy to help you figure out which choice is best for you.