Today’s digital world is rapidly evolving, but the transition to digital can be hard for small businesses that have been historically paper-based.

Recent statistics show that nearly 60 percent of SMBs do not back up files on a regular basis or are not prepared for a loss of data, either paper or digital. And of those SMBs that do suffer a significant loss of data, nearly 60 percent go out of business within the year.

Let 2018 be the year your business embraces technologies that could protect and retrieve your data in the event of a catastrophe, and at the same time increase efficiency and team collaboration.

3 Reasons to Go Digital This Year

There are many reasons an SMB should embrace a digitalization strategy. The world is changing fast, and a small business that does not seek to adapt or evolve can be quickly rendered obsolete. But, just as with any change, it’s best to start with a plan; many companies that attempt to implement a digital strategy without one often fail. Consider starting with digital conversion of your important files first, as doing so offers significant benefits and lays the groundwork for future digital transformation.

Secure your Data

Security should always be a top priority. Your data is the lifeblood of your business. What would you do if an extreme weather event wreaked havoc on your facility, destroying your files? Think about all that could be lost—customer and client data, tax records, HR files, sales invoices and much more—all more than likely irretrievable.

Establishing strong, reliable data retention and destruction policies helps you stay in compliance and reduces the risk of data theft or loss. With a digital document management solution, businesses can create and manage documents that are automatically sorted into the appropriate retention schedule. Look for a solution that monitors compliance and notifies you when a document is out-of-date, incomplete or ready for destruction.

Save Money and Space

Another reason to go digital is to conserve space and save money. Paper costs money; filing cabinets cost money; internal or external storage costs money. And depending on where you’re located, real estate can be very expensive. If you’ve got a room in your building dedicated solely to those cardboard filing boxes, you may want to reassess your records retention and destruction program. Going digital reduces cost and waste, as well as improves overall organization.

Of course, many businesses are required to store some physical documents for long, sometimes indefinite, periods of time. Keeping these paper files in-house can be not only time-consuming and expensive but risky. Fire, flood and other natural disasters can wreak havoc on paper files, and even temperature changes can lead to deterioration or damage. Placing your physical records in a secure off-site storage facility adds an additional layer of protection from natural disasters, and climate-controlled media vaults help preserve your digital information.

Improve Access and Increase Productivity

How much time do you lose searching through files to find one specific document? How often does productivity lag because someone is waiting for a document to be emailed, faxed or even mailed? Today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world requires your business function more efficiently than ever before. With a digital records management solution, you and your employees can collaborate from across the office or across the country, streamlining your business processes and increasing efficiency across the organization. This allows both you and your employees more time to focus on strategic tasks and priorities that will grow your business.

Look for a digital solution that allows you to access all the records you need from wherever you are, as well as create secure data rooms for sharing files. An audit log helps provide clarity into who did what with each document and when.

Make the Transformation Easy

Digital transformation does not need to be a daunting task. An effective RIM policy can help ease the transition without interrupting workflow, while at the same time enabling you to adapt to new technology. A RIM policy should take all your business records and information into account, offering an organized structure in which documents can be created, managed and destroyed according to the appropriate retention schedule while ensuring compliance with federal and industry regulations.

A trusted RIM partner can help you take the necessary steps towards secure archiving, data security and the destruction of old records. Access is committed to providing small business owners and records managers with the tools and information needed to develop, implement and manage a digital document management strategy tailored to their business. This year, focus on growing your business with the peace of mind that your information is organized, accessible and secure.