24 November, 2014 Outsourcing is a well known way to reduce costs for a business. It enables a company to concentrate on core business activities instead of specialist activities. A great example of this is outsourcing document scanning. It lets a company to reduce costs by achieving greater efficiency in one of its business processes. Scanning paper documents means a faster document workflow. This is a good example of a Business Process Solution (BPS) that increases efficiency and security too.
To reduce the amount of paper documents in your office, the best solution is to find an expert archive company (links to about OSG) who can scan and index documents.
Finding a reliable and trusted document scanning company will allow you to save on the cost of buying your own scanning equipment. It will also mean that you have a good, consistent level of service. Not only fast, but accurate too. But it is not just about cost and quality of the scanning. It is about the risk of choosing the wrong company and exposing your critical business information to them.
So what does a good document scanning service provider look like? Here are 10 ways to minimise the risks of outsourcing document scanning services.
- Reputation - A good scanning services provider should have an excellent reputation. Both the company and the management team will be respected in the business community and in the records management industry. Beware of newly started businesses. Ask potential providers who can recommend them. Can they provide scanning services in those cities in which your company operates. Ideally they should have a large network of facilities.
- Non-disclosure Agreements (NDAs) - Sometimes called confidentiality agreements, NDAs ensure that anyone that is involved in delivering the service understands their obligations to protect your information. Again, make sure your chosen provider has a good reputation.
- Security systems - It is essential that the service provider’s premises are properly protected by CCTV, modern alarm systems and fire prevention equipment.
- Access control - Buildings where documents are handled or stored need to be secured and the access of employees, clients or visitors controlled.
- Information security – Digitised / scanned documents need to be shared or transferred from the provider back to your business. Ask how this will be done. The best solution is for the scanning provider to create an electronic archive of your scanned business documents. It should have password protection so only authorised staff can access confidential documents.
- Background checks - Confidential business information may be used for fraud or other criminal purposes. Services are only as good as the people that are employed, so make sure that your service provider carries out employee background checks.
- Scanning technology - Hardware and software should be up to date. The service providers with the highest standards have well developed technology roadmaps and regularly refresh their infrastructure. Ask your service provider what they use. Is it capable of dealing with large quantities and how accurate is the software?
- Qualified staff – Work only with a scanning company who has trained staff to a high level. As well as the scanning process, they should be trained to input important information so you can perform searches.
- Document storage – Once you paper documents have been scanned, they will need sorting into those which must be retained and those which can be destroyed. Work with a supplier who has an expert knowledge of document regulations. Federal law requires that certain original paper documents must be retained for long periods, as many as 5 to 10 years. They must be readily available for official inspection purposes. It makes sense to work with a records management company who can store your documents in a cost effective way.
- Document destruction – Once scanned, you may want to destroy documents safely. Use a scanning service provider who has proper destruction equipment. Companies that do not have such equipment can be a danger. Documents have been know to end up on public waste sites. Imagine the consequences of your data being exposed in this way. What would your clients would say if their files ended up in public hands?
- Cloud enabled services - Cloud technologies such as SaaS and remote data hosting continue to deliver cost advantages and revolutionise the IT services market. The best document scanning providers have good cloud-based service capability.
- Take the tour - Inspect the facility where your critical business information is to be handled by the service provider. You can check for yourself all the points mentioned here.
In short your critical business information needs to be handled in accordance with the highest standards. This needs to guarantee security, reduce costs and meet your deadlines. Make sure you find a document scanning services provider that delivers.