Storing data requires deliberate and careful effort. Depending on your profession, legal requirements for long-term and short-term storage may be in effect. State and federal statutes impose document retention guidelines that stipulate a minimum duration. No matter why you must store data, you should always choose a reliable data retention method. The time may come when you must present the records. You don’t want the data to be in poor shape, lost, or destroyed. Thankfully, a few reliable methods exist for retaining documentation for the long term.
Digital data storage involves using computer-based technology designed to house files and documents. Digital data hasn’t completely replaced the original analog processes, but far more people recognize the benefits of storing in digital formats. Specifically, digital data may be stored on hard drives, flash drives, external hard drives, and disks. Of course, the devices the data is stored on must be kept safe in order to meet most document retention guidelines. Damage to an external drive might ruin the data stored on it. Photo images of important files won’t be of much value if erased.
Placing Digital Material in the Cloud
You can choose to store digital data in the cloud. Cloud storage services add many additional layers of protection to the data. The data ends up being placed on remote servers at secure locations protected by high-end antivirus software. Choosing the best possible cloud storage service is important. You don’t want to have to worry about whether or not the service truly keeps your documents safe.
Microfilm is exactly what the name states. A collective of miniature photographs of documents is placed on film. The film can be read once run through an appropriate reading machine. Microfilm allows you to store massive amounts of documents without taking up much space.
Compact discs and DVDs have now been joined by Blu-ray as a means of storing data in an optical disc format. Although most assume optical discs record audio and video exclusively, the truth is discs can store all types of data.
Original Hard Copies
Making various copies of documents and files on digital and other formats doesn’t mean the originals must be discarded. Keeping the original paper or photo documents in a safe place makes sense as well. However, a lot can go wrong when keeping old documents in filing cabinets. Don’t solely rely on retaining original documents. Make backup copies and store them securely.
Exploring long-term data retention strategies can help you narrow down the best options for your company. Information Requirement Clearinghouse can help you determine which storage methods are appropriate.