What Hardware Do You Need to Create an Electronic Filing System?
If you are planning on implementing a switch to digital record keeping, you may be wondering what kind of hardware is needed for electronic filing systems. Don’t worry, we have the answers.
You’ve done your research on document scanning and electronic filing systems. You understand the benefits and are aware of the procedures that need to be in place to ensure document security, and you’re considering implementing this system with your business. Bravo! Now that you’ve mastered the theory, you may be thinking on more technical terms and wondering what hardware is needed for an electronic filing system. Don’t worry, we have answers.
First, you must decide if you want to host your electronic filing system on-site or in “the cloud”. On-site solutions require a computer or network server, while “the cloud” solutions only require access to the internet.
You have a few different options of on-site hardware for electronic filing systems that you can install. The first is called Storage Area Networks (SAN), which allow access to isolated drives and behave in the same way as an internal hard drive with the same convenience. This is a networked system. Your second option is known as Just a Bunch of Disks (JBOD), which is a collection of disks installed to look like one large disk to users. The purpose of multiple disks is in case one disk is lost, the information on the other disks is still accessible. JBOD is best used as a means to store backup files. You may also consider using a Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID), which backs up data on a daily basis using a group of disks. RAID is best used to backup local files, but depending on the size of your business it may or may not be the most cost effective option. It is important to note that RAID is not intended to be used as your main backup method.
There are benefits to using in the Cloud solutions for your electronic filing systems as well. With cloud computing, files are stored by a third party and can be accessed through a web service. Basically you just need to enter user name and password credentials into the third party web service, and you can then access your entire network of files without the need to be in the office. By using the cloud, you do not need to install a physical hard drive or equipment, as this is handled by the third party, which means you are not responsible for storing, securing, or maintaining complex hard drives or computing systems.
The advantage of cloud solutions over in-house is that you can access files in any location where you have access to the internet, whereas in-house systems require you to have direct access to the server or hard drive that the files are located on. This is especially useful for people who are frequently working from home or on the weekends and need quick, hassle free access to their work and client records. However, it may be more appropriate to store confidential files that need to have 24 hour access on a local in-house server where you have better and more direct control over the security. You and your security team should discuss if you would like to have a third party system hosting your records, or if you prefer to keep them internally.
A few final points to keep in mind. Regardless of the type of filing system you choose, you will need to purchase and install a scanner to digitize the hardcopies of your documents if you do not plan on outsourcing the scanning process. When figuring out how much storage space you need to purchase, remember that the average digital file size for an 8.5”x11” paper document is 50Kb and that a million pieces of paper represents approximately 50GB of storage.
If you would like to learn more about the services that CTI offers in regards to electronic filing systems, please feel free to contact us! We would be happy to meet your needs and help you decide on which hardware system is best for you.