Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Electronic Document Storage

Documents are stored in both hard copy and electronic document format. Taking certain points into consideration such as disaster recovery, storage, retrieval and compliance, electronic document storage offers many advantages over storing paper based records. Consequently, companies can shred the paper documents that are no longer needed after capturing them with document scanning. This allows the organization to save years of annual storage costs as well as the time used to search for paper records.

Once a company decides to "go paperless", there are many options available for electronic document storage. Electronic files can be stored remotely with web-based document storage, on a dedicated file server with RAID drives, to external hard drives and written to disc.

Web-based storage companies provide online space on secure servers. Record management is also possible with web applications that provide online retrieval and delivery of the files. Patient medical records may also be stored using web-based EMR software. In addition, advanced service plans such as tape back-up and technical support may also be purchased. This solution is ideal for small businesses and medical practices that do not have a dedicated IT support staff.

A dedicated file server offers many advantages for data storage. A file server usually saves the data on RAID drives, should one drive fail the data can be recovered. However, a RAID drive is not full-proof in cases of the failure of two or more drives in the RAID array. The file server in addition to a RAID drive may also back-up to tape storage, a network-attached device or continually save smaller changes to a back-up drive.

The scanned images can also be stored to disc. Generally, a CD holds 700 MB of data or about 10,000 pages and a DVD holds 4.7 GB of data or about 70,000 pages. Some types of discs may hold more data such as a Blu-ray disc which holds up to 25 GB, single-sided double-layer disc which holds up to 8.50 GB and a HD-DVD which holds 25 to 50 GB of data. The disadvantage is that the disc may scratch or degrade with age, sunlight and with dirt/grease through handling the media.