Document Management & Workflow Blog

22 Apr 2021 Colin Graf

Document Management Software Takes On the Shared Drive

Document management software is a more structured and secure way to organize documents

When offices shut down due to the pandemic, just about every organization quickly scrambled to create a shared drive to store a variety of business documents. While the price for shared drives may be attractive, they can be difficult to administer and information security is seldom a priority, which introduces significant risk to any organization. Here are some reasons why document management software, especially using cloud storage, is a more secure and structured alternative for finding, sharing, and collaborating with documents than a shared drive:

Five Major Issues with Shared Drives

  1. Unmanaged & Decentralized: in 2018, the Definitive Guide to America’s Most Broken Processes stated 49% of employees interviewed said they have trouble locating documents. When organizations lack a document management system, documents are often created and saved in an unmanaged and decentralized manner, scattered across the shared drive(s). This makes it hard for employees to find, share, and collaborate effectively on content, and for administrators to manage.
  2. Security: shared drives offer a cumbersome way to secure documents, many of which may be of a sensitive nature such as contracts, intellectual property, and employee records. If you have an IT department, they can assign access to folders down to the file level. But on a shared drive, this is a time-consuming process, especially with the propagation of multiple documents on multiple levels. Additionally, it is often already backlogged with other tasks. This is a risk that could lead to the wrong people having access to sensitive and critical documents.
  3. Naming Conventions: unless you can enforce strict control over file naming conventions enterprise-wide, users will inadvertently name files and folders incorrectly or store documents in the wrong folder, making them difficult to find and retrieve.
  4. File Organization: most departments have different ways of filing documents. For instance, accounting may organize invoices by date, and customer service may organize invoices by customer name. This makes it difficult for those across the organization to find relevant documents.
  5. Remote Accessibility: A report by Global Workplace Analytics estimates that 25-30% of the workforce will continue working at home on a multiple-days-a-week basis even after the COVID-19 crisis is over. This means documents will need to be accessed from a variety of locations. This can include remote access for those transitioning between the office and home, including employees in the field, as well as inter-office access for businesses with more than one location. Traditional virtual private network (VPN) access is often difficult to configure or may not be available at all.

Advantages of Document Management Software

Four business-critical features of cloud-based document management software easily resolve shared drive issues:

  1. Security: a document management system provides role or group-based security, which allows administrators to define accessibility based on the employee’s role or team. This is a more reliable way to secure sensitive information from the project level down to the document level. You also do not have to rely on your IT department to set up the security levels.
  2. Searchability: regardless of the file name, its indexing (defined when the document is scanned or imported into your document management software) enables employees to find documents quickly and easily. This eliminates relying on people to follow established filing and naming conventions and also minimizes typing errors. Using barcode sheets, or data extraction, automates indexing which eliminates manual mistakes and avoids retrieval problems. Additionally, zonal optical character recognition (OCR), assists in the storing and indexing process making its cloud-based archive easy to access.
  3. Guest Access: temporary access can be granted to auditors, regulators, or other individuals that only need short-term access to a predefined document group, making collaboration and file sharing secure, easy, and controlled.
  4. Remote access: staff members no longer need to go through the hassle and unsafe practice of downloading and saving documents on their device or emailing them to themselves when they know they’ll be away from the office. Employees can easily access business documents from their laptop, tablet, or phone anytime and anywhere with cloud-based document management software. There is no need to rely on cumbersome and possibly unavailable VPN access. Whether your staff is on the road, in the office, or working remotely, access to critical business documents is immediate and reliable with cloud-based document management software.

Shared Drive Retirement

Document management allows far better administration, security, retrieval, guest access, and mobile access than any shared drive ever could. With the help of a document management provider like MetaSource, you can have peace of mind that sensitive company documents, such as employee records or contracts, are only accessible by a predetermined group of people whenever and wherever they are needed. Isn’t it time you retired your shared drive and replaced it with more secure and reliable document management software?

Contact MetaSource to help your company transition from a shared drive to document management system or learn how one business saved 780 hours of productivity every year by eliminating manual data entry.

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