Document management concerns how information flows through your organisation—where your documents are stored, who can access them and how easy it is to do so. It also involves the policies regarding how documents are created, retained, and deleted within your company.
When document management is successful, your employees can finish work faster and more securely. When it goes wrong, it decelerates business processes and can lead to breaks in compliance, which often entail severe financial and reputational damage.
From the traditional to the cloud
Document management has traditionally been performed on-premises. But there are two strong advantages to cloud based document management:
- You are working with close to unlimited storage capacity, rather than being constrained by the number of physical servers (or file cabinets, if still dealing with paper documents) you have.
- Workers can access their documents and files with ease, from any location on the device of their choosing.
Cloud based document management combines the structure of document management with the scalability of the cloud to offer your business more… but only if it’s done right.
In this post, we’re going to explore how cloud based document management can improve your business’s information governance, employee productivity, and more. We’ll also look at the best tools to facilitate cloud based document management.
Problems with poor document management
One of the biggest concerns regarding document management is security. Most organisations must adhere to specific regulations regarding how their content is shared, accessed, and stored. These will be a combination of industry-specific regulations, state or federal regulations for US organisations (like HIPAA), or international regulations like the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As cyberattacks continue to mount, (2017 set a record for the number of data breaches in a calendar year) these regulations are tightening their grip on how an organisation processes its data.
Misconceptions remain over the security of content in the cloud, and the increase in cyberattacks compounds this false belief. But cybercriminals are opportunistic in their nature—they attack infrastructure that is the most vulnerable, whether that resides in the cloud or on-premises. Implementing the correct document management policies over your content is more important than where that content resides.
The benefits of cloud based document management
There are several benefits to cloud based document management:
- Document access
Storing documents centrally in the cloud removes the risk of files kept in ‘physical’ formats, like USB drives or CDs, being lost or stolen and ending up with information falling into the wrong hands. Setting folder and file permissions can ensure users only access the content that is intended for them, as well as how long they can access it for and whether they can share content with other users. It is worth noting, however, to maintain compliance with national or regional regulations, your data needs to be stored in your country of residence.
- Improved organisation
Cloud document management allows end-users to add tags, categories and sub-categories through metadata. This makes content much easier to search for. Users can create custom fields via content type, date of creation, original author, etc. so they can find content when they need it most.
- Improved productivity
Everyone is familiar with the adage ‘time costs money’. Accessing and collaborating on documents is far easier in the cloud, where files are stored in a central location and updated automatically. This has real benefits to employee productivity, where workers can access the content they need in seconds. While real-time collaboration lets users work on content together without needing to wait for the document to be passed back and forth.
- Anytime, anywhere access
Cloud productivity platforms, like Office 365, seek to provide end-users with a single place to get their work done. This extends beyond document management to email and calendar, business intelligence, and more. But cloud based document management means workers can access their files whenever possible, on whichever device they need.
Cloud based document management software
Office 365 is the most popular enterprise cloud platform on the market, with 58.4% of sensitive data stored in the cloud resides in Office documents. With such a large user base, Microsoft must ensure security is paramount when it comes to cloud based document management.
OneDrive is Microsoft’s answer for cloud based document management for consumers. But when trying to onboard businesses with cloud based document management, their attempts have faltered. OneDrive for Business is riddled with errors and gaps in functionality that make document management harder than it needs to be, and up the risk of non-compliance.
OneDrive for Business doesn’t let users add metadata to their files, it doesn’t work with older iterations of SharePoint (like 2007 or 2010) and it creates conflicted copies of documents when users work offline. These issues can amount to greater document management problems, putting compliance at risk and reducing the productivity of your employees.
Microsoft have a number of workarounds users can embark on to reduce the likelihood of these problems surfacing, but there is a much simpler solution. Easier365 is the best-selling alternative to OneDrive for Business, providing real cloud based document management, letting you sync down to the individual file level, add metadata tags search through custom views. It also works with any version of SharePoint, online or on-premises. Plus, for organisations operating in the UK, it can ensure you maintain control over data regulations like the upcoming GDPR.
For more information on your best approach to cloud based document management, get in touch with us today.