Equipment Needed to Go Paperless in the Office

With the advancement of computer and imaging technologies, the days of the filling cabinets and lost or destroyed files can finally become a thing of the past. Whether you run a corporate branch or a small home office, the benefits of going paperless are clearly invaluable. Here we are going to look into what is necessary to run a fully functioning and efficient paperless office of your own.

  1. Computer System

    • The epicenter of a paperless office, is of course a quality computer system. It is important that you can access your data reliably and effectively, and as such, a fast, modern processor will be necessary to provide seamless transitions between files. If the office is setup for multiple users, a network with a central server might be necessary to allow collaboration and access to all of the office files. Routers from Linksys or Netgear will allow you to effectively connect multiple computers together.

    Scanner and Scanner Software

    • A quality scanner and accompanying software is crucial to a successful paperless office. The type of scanner needed will depend on your volume of new documents and on your existing documents in storage. For a small office with a few filling cabinets, a small desktop scanner with a document feeder should be fine. Make sure you do not just get a flatbed scanner without duplex scanning or a document feeder, as those are must-have features for a productive office. For mid-size to larger offices, copying machines with built-in scanning features are the way to go. Often these machines provide 50 page per minute scanning and network scanning, allowing multiple users to share one machine and to share scanned documents. Once the documents are scanned, it is an added benefit to use OCR software, or Optical Character Recognition. This software allows the computer to turn images into editable and searchible text documents. If your scanner does not come with OCR software, Adobe and Nuance software companies create the industry standards that can be purchased separately.

    Storage and Backup

    • Although all three parts discussed are necessary to make the paperless system work, the storage and backup aspect might be the most critical. If not implemented properly, a problem with your storage or backup could not only create migraines, but could end up costing your business thousands of dollars. Essentially, once the documents are scanned, they need to be stored in a way that is easy to access and secure. Data loss due to computer crashes is much more common than data loss due to office fires or the like, therefore proper backup is very important. It is recommended that in addition to storing your files locally on your computers, you should have an online backup. That way, if something were to occur at your location, your data is backed up somewhere else. In most instances the online backup will also have its own backup. Another advantage of an online system is that it can be accessed from anywhere around the world; often your company files can be opened with a smart phone or a PDA. Google Docs and Dropbox are examples of popular document storage services.

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