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Digital Documents Archives - DocuServe

Category: Digital Documents

Why Your Business Needs Digital Document Management

Why Your Business Needs Digital Document Management

To improve communication and collaboration these days, organizations rely on digital file transfers and email. As an organization, you have to share a good amount of information and data with your employees, partners, suppliers and customers across the globe. But you need to ensure that this information remains safe from unauthorized individuals. Unless you take all the necessary precautions to safeguard your proprietary content, it can fall into the wrong hands, compromising the security of your company and those that you do business with.

So, what should you do to keep your company information safe? One way of safeguarding your proprietary content is to implement a document management system (DMS).

What Is Document Management, and Why Does It Matter?

Document management is the process that businesses use to capture, organize, track, and store documents in electronic form – such as PDFs, word processing files and digital images of paper-based content. The Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM) defines document management as incorporating document and content capture, workflow, document repositories, output systems and information retrieval systems – as well as the processes used to track, store and control documents.

Document management offers help on many fronts. It provides security, easy access, total control, centralized storage space, audit trails and convenient search and retrieval of all your documents. 

Many organizations these days have to manage their paper and digital information. Your company information could be anywhere – paper documents, electronic files, scanned files, spreadsheets, and images. You could be storing these documents in filing cabinets, on public or private networks, hard drives, shared drives, and emails. When your company information resides in so many formats and so many places, it can pose several challenges.

From damaged or lost files, errors, and redundancies to wasting precious office space for storage, you have to tackle many issues. Also, searching for valuable information at any given point in time is yet another issue that organizations face when they don’t manage their documents properly. It is crucial to understand that managing documents smartly and properly is vital from a legal perspective, as well.

When you opt for a document management platform, it can sort out most of your problems. It integrates all your documents in one place, gives you total control over them, makes access and retrieval of documents easy, increases the security of your documents and above all, lowers your cost of operations.

According to business.com, “… any organization that requires the structured storage and retrieval of documents can benefit from investing in a document management system (DMS). Not only does it save time and money, but it provides tracking for sensitive documents, showing who has accessed them, when and any actions that were performed on the document. This kind of tracking gives DMS software its greatest value and appeal, protecting organizations from lawsuits, fines and penalties.” 

Therefore, the sooner you implement a document management system, the better it is for your organization.

What Is a Document Management System?

A document management system is software that automates and facilitates the process of storing, managing, and tracking all your electronic documents and images of paper documents. Initially, DMS was mainly used to convert paper documents into digital documents; hence, it was also known as an electronic filing cabinet. However, the present-day DMS is much more than that. 

With a DMS in place, you can capture, digitize, and tag documents easily and quickly. Your DMS can also manage channel workflows, output systems, and document retrieval.

There are three main functions of a document management system – to capture, store, and distribute documents. A DMS performs these functions for the following purposes:

It captures documents from any source – A DMS should capture a document from any source – paper, email, CRM and all other applications, and index them so that you can conveniently retrieve them when you want. Indexing helps classify a document by adding terms to its metadata like tags, customer information or order numbers. There are different ways of capturing different documents.

Paper documents – You need high-speed scanners to capture paper documents. A DMS receives the documents from the scanner, which you can then index by ERP integration, OCR, barcoding or by hand.

Emails – Document capture from email is essential because businesses receive many documents in this manner. When you have a DMS, it allows you to automatically import and place email messages or attachments in the folders you want.

External applications – You also have to store documents that are in your customer relationship management (CRM) system or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. With a DMS, you can import these documents and store them where you want to, or share them with others in your organization.

Centralized storage of documents – Another important function that a DMS can perform for your organization is to store all your documents in one central place – allowing your employees easy access.

Also, having a centralized space to store your documents provides protection against errors and malicious intent. You get version control in a DMS that tracks the changes made to a document and identifies the person who made those changes. A DMS also allows you to set permissions to control who can access which document and who can make what type of changes.

Retrieval and distribution of documents – Another important task that a document management system can do for you easily is retrieval and distribution of documents. Since you index your documents, it allows you to retrieve any document with a keyword quickly and conveniently.

Once you retrieve a document, you can share it with anyone the way you want. You can share it through email or file transfer protocol (FTP). It also automates manual business processes and workflows. For example, you can integrate your DMS with your ERP so that when you receive an order in your ERP, it automates the approval and fulfillment workflow process.

What Features Does a DMS offer?

To understand how a DMS can help you, it is crucial to know what features a DMS offers. Here are some of them:

Document storage – You can archive your documents in a single place, which makes retrieval, sharing, and storage simpler, easier and quicker. When you centralize the process, you can access the documents without any hassles. 

Security and access control – You can avoid unauthorized access by putting in place role-based permissions for file entry. Some software programs can restrict IP addresses as well. It means only those who have the authority can view, open, and modify your important files.

Version control – You don’t need to create multiple copies of the same document because of version control. You get to see all the versions of the document, which means you remain in total control of your documents.

Classification and indexing – You can index and classify your files for quick and easy retrieval with a specific keyword.

Bulk upload – A DMS allows you to upload documents in bulk. You don’t have to upload them one by one.

PDF document editor – A DMS allows you to adjust and modify a PDF file easily and quickly. You can add text, textbox, date, and check bar for customizations. Also, you can eliminate typos with an online spell checker.

White labeling – You can do your company’s branding as well because a DMS allows you to set up your color, theme, and logo to convey your brand’s image. It makes your company look more professional.

Mobile apps – You can access your files on mobile devices as well. It simplifies image capture and makes uploads easy.

File synchronization – You can sync online files with your stored documents, which helps you share updated files with your team members. 

Audit trail – You can pull out detailed reports on the path that the file has taken in its lifecycle. You know the name of the user, the date and time of access to the file, the changes made to the file and the comments added by the user.   

If you are looking for a secure content distribution and protection solution, DocuServe is an industry-leading cloud-based document management system that can keep your digital content safe. We can help you improve the productivity and efficiency of your employees and streamline your processes. Contact us today to learn more.

A robber holding a computer

How Secure Is Your Digital Content?

Data security is – or should be – a top priority for businesses both big and small. With data breaches increasing, it is imperative to implement security measures at every level. So, what should organizations do to streamline and secure their digital workplace and content? Our DocuServe team offers information about essential tools, trends and advice – especially for web developers who use WordPress.

Collaboration in the cloud – the advent of the CCP

Every business knows that a migration to the cloud is necessary. The productivity gains of going paperless and the sheer speed of a digitally-integrated workflow are only possible with a well-implemented content collaboration platform (CCP) solution.

As defined by Gartner, the CCP market covers a range of products and services that enable content productivity and collaboration. CCPs are aimed at individuals and teams, inside or outside an organization. Additionally, CCPs increasingly support lightweight content management and workflow use cases.

Why does your digital workplace need a CCP?

If you want to improve productivity and teamwork, you need to devise secure ways for content sharing and collaboration with your employees and colleagues both inside and outside your organization. According to Gartner’s content collaboration magic quadrant, 50 percent of midsize and large organizations in mature regional markets are expected to use a CCP by 2022 to improve productivity and collaboration and implement document workflows.

CCPs not only empower and connect people, but also enable a new level of productivity, collaboration and efficiency. Just as importantly, it covers security and compliance issues, in addition to helping meet business goals. As outlined by Gartner, the core functionalities of CCPs include:

  • Mobile access to content repositories.
  • File synchronization across devices and cloud repositories.
  • File sharing with people and applications, inside or outside an organization.
  • Team collaboration with dedicated folders.
  • A content repository, which can be cloud-based or on-premises, native to the CCP platform or based on other file servers or repositories.

Using these workplace apps separately and out of context of a CCP platform is difficult and trying for employees to use to perform specific tasks. Also, managers and employees perceive these workplace apps in a different light. When you opt for a CCP, you can eliminate most of these problems because they offer different levels of support for the following:

  • Data protection and security
  • Usability
  • Mobility
  • Simplicity
  • User productivity
  • File manipulation
  • Content management
  • Collaboration
  • Analytics
  • Workflow
  • Data governance
  • Integration
  • Management
  • Administration
  • Storage

What to avoid

KIssflow’s Employee Experience Survey was conducted to assess the day-to-day interactions of the employees and leaders of various industries with workplace software – and the extent to which the workplace software affects the overall employee experience. Findings revealed the following:

  • The opinion is different among employees and leaders on how much workplace software they use.
  • Employees are less satisfied with the software they use than the leaders.
  • Employees are less likely to believe than their leaders that workplace technology empowers them to do their jobs in a better way.
  • When it comes to using workplace technology to their advantage, employees face several obstacles. Some of these obstacles are inadequate training, confusing and complex interface, and lack of guided learning tools.

According to Kissflow CEO Suresh Sambandam, “We can’t build enterprises as we did a decade or so ago, but the problem is, we’ve started working for the tools we’ve implemented, instead of the tools working for us. Each time a tab is switched, productivity goes down and some momentum is tossed away.

“With a digital workplace, enterprises are providing a radically new experience so that working is easy and fun, and not a burden to fathom all the things that are going on in 6-7 different applications running as siloed tabs on people’s browsers.”

CCPs offer complete data protection and uninterrupted service, and can be extremely useful for start-ups that have small teams and need to work closely with external teams on different projects. With a CCP in place, you can communicate efficiently to complete projects which need collaboration. It keeps your business organized and help you avoid workplace silos.

Keeping your digital content secure

As previously mentioned, information security is a serious threat to organizations worldwide. Your data is a major investment – as is your website. Because 25 percent of websites are powered by WordPress, it should not be surprising that hackers frequently target WordPress sites.

Fly Plugins offers crucial tips for keeping your digital assets safe and secure.

Make sure your foundation is strong – When you talk of security, you need to ensure that your foundation is secure. And, a secure foundation starts with your laptop or desktop computer. Should the hackers compromise your device, you can’t do much by securing WordPress.

Use a strong password – Not to be rude, but you’re probably not as clever as you think you are. Don’t use a password that has a personal meaning you believe no one will ever guess, or assume that no hacker would try anything as obvious as “password 123” or “password.” Don’t keep a text file or spreadsheet of your password. Never use a sticky note on your laptop that has all of your passwords.

In addition:

  • The physical security of your laptop is of utmost importance. Make sure that you keep it in a safe place to prevent theft.
  • Always use an antivirus program – add a firewall for additional security.
  • Always use a secure Wi-Fi connection.
  • If your organization has a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, take the appropriate security measures. Our blog post on the topic covers what you need to know.  

Select a secure web hosting service – Server-level security is also of utmost importance. When you select a web hosting service provider, perform your due diligence so that you know in detail the level of security it provides.

Set up WordPress correctly from the start – Do not use ‘admin’ as the primary administrator account. Ensure that you do not begin your database table names with ‘wp.’ Again, use strong passwords for the admin account, and use multilevel authentication.

Keep yourself updated –Keep current on all security updates, as well as WordPress, themes, and plugins. Have a staging site so you can test the updates before using them on your live site.

Also, ensure that you only install plugins you trust. In most cases, the plugins available on the WordPress site are safe. You need to be careful with free plugins. It is important to go through the reviews before installing them. Never download a free premium plugin.

Secure the goods – You can install the free Sucuri plugin, which performs all the necessary security monitoring and malware detection, and has tools that harden your WordPress site. The Sucuri scan feature can clean your site, and its primary features include security activity auditing, file integrity monitoring, remote malware scanning, blacklist monitoring, effective security hardening, post-hack security actions, security notifications and website firewalls.

No matter what platform your company uses to meet its unique needs, DocuServe specializes in offering industry-leading solutions for keeping your digital content safe. Our secure document and rich media sharing app can reduce the risk of data exposure. With DocuServe, you can easily control content distributed to employees, vendors, and potential customers. Contact us to learn more.


Should Your Business Go Paperless?


Going green is a trend that is fast catching up with the corporate sector. Whether you are a startup or a conglomerate, making your office paperless offers several benefits to organizations across verticals.

Businesses across the world strive to improve their operations and maximize their profits. Cutting back on paper use is not just a viable business proposition, but also good for the environment. Apart from the economic benefits of going paperless, having a paperless business offers many other benefits, such as increased productivity, optimized workflow, enhanced employee morale and greater customer satisfaction.

Can a business truly go paperless?

Eliminating paper entirely from your office is a highly unlikely scenario. But reducing the amount of paper can streamline your business operations to a great extent. If you have efficient processes, you can start your journey of becoming paperless.

Why would a business go paperless?

Going paperless may not be a feasible option for every business, but even a small reduction can result in substantial cost savings and efficiency.

Some of the main benefits of going paperless for your organization include:

It organizes your documents – Having a paperless office improves your company’s efficiency and professional image substantially because you can quickly locate and disseminate information. It takes a lot of time to sift and search through paper documents for one single piece of information. But when you have a paperless office, all it takes is a few clicks, and the information is in front of you. You can scan receipts and invoices, sort documents, file them, and quickly retrieve them.

It makes client communication easier, faster, and inexpensive – You can maintain a customer email list to communicate sales and other special offers without the expense of printing and postage. Electronic communication also lowers storage cost because you don’t have to spend money on maintaining paper documents.

You can easily store, file, and retrieve paperless files on the go – With photo scanning apps, business travelers can conveniently back up expense reports without having to tote stacks of papers. You can also share electronic files with coworkers over the network or through email.

It offers automatic backups – When you have paper documents in your office, you can lose information if a document is accidentally discarded. But when you maintain electronic files, data is automatically backed up.

Improved data security – Documents and other sensitive data are accessible only through providing approved credentials.

It is an environmentally-friendly process – Copy paper accounts for 20% of the total paper usage in the United States. Making your office paperless not only reduces demand for tree products, it also helps you conserve energy, because you don’t need to depend so much on printers and photocopiers.

Safety concerns of electronic communication and storage

Before you seriously consider the proposal for going paperless, it is important to know the pros and cons of going paperless. Drawbacks can include the following:

System failure – Vital data can be lost should your system crash. Having remote backup is essential.

Security – Without proper security protocol in place, data can be hacked or compromised. Document management services offer content encryption, local servers and restricted access.

Going paperless is a time-consuming process – The transition can be frustrating and stressful, demanding full commitment from company officers, stakeholders and employees.

Steps to go paperless, or minimize its use

If you are still doing business the old-fashioned way, you can switch to a paperless office and enjoy the benefits.

But the biggest question is how to reduce paperwork.

Bond Street offers some recommendations:

• Bank online

• Switch to a bookkeeping software

• Use digital collaboration tools

• Invoice electronically

• Scan digital copies for record keeping

• Prepare electronic statements

• Use recruiting software

Review your current processes

If you plan to go paperless, review your current operations processes and find out appropriate alternatives so that the transition is smooth. You may need to use an electronic signature service (an e-signature – also known as a digital signature – is any way of signing a non-printed document), online invoicing and payment services, and other applications that can replace your existing paper documents. You will need to train your staff so that they can properly use the new system.

If your company is considering going paperless, DocuServe has the resources to keep your data secure. We offer industry-leading cloud-based solutions for every aspect of your organization.

Contact us to learn more.

Digital Documents, Secure Document Management, Cybersecurity Company

Electronic Signatures in Document Management


As the majority of organizations now conduct business electronically, securing digital content is essential – as discussed in our blog post, “Secure Digital Content: How it’s Done.” And with the start of the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25, 2018, data privacy has taken on even greater importance – the implications of which were covered in our blog post, “Document Management with GDPR.” The pivotal role of electronic signatures in secure document management for companies that “go paperless” deserves recognition.

So, what is an electronic signature in data management, how does it work, why should you adopt it, and what is the legal standing of electronic signatures?

What is an electronic signature, and how does it work?

Also called a digital signature, an electronic signature is any way of signing a non-printed document. It can be done with your finger, mouse or stylus. It also can be done by typing your name, accompanied by some proof of identification, such as the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Digital Documents, Digital Signatures, Cybersecurity Writing for PandaDoc, SEO specialist Eugene Zaremba makes the distinction between an electronic signature (also known as an eSignature) and a digital signature. The former “… doesn’t necessarily mean legally binding because it refers to any online signature, which can include a copy-paste of your own signature.”

However, Zaremba notes, “The somewhat less commonly used term digital signature is actually more of a correct term. Digital signature or standard electronic signature is actually a coded, encrypted, legally binding digital footprint. The digital signature is made of unique encoded messages — one for each signee — that join together to make a complete, legally binding, standard electronically signed document.”

Just like handwritten signatures, digital signatures are unique to each signer. An algorithm is used to generate two long numbers, which are known as keys. Of the two keys, one is public and the other is private.  

With the signer’s private key – which is always kept securely by the signer – the signature is created when a signer electronically signs a document. Acting like code, the mathematical algorithm creates data that matches the signed document (called a hash) and encrypts it. The encrypted data that results from this process is the digital signature. The electronic sign also bears the time when the document is signed. The digital signature becomes invalid if any change in the document is made after it is signed.

Why your company should be using electronic signatures

Digital Content Security, Cybersecurity Blog, Secure Digital Documents In his article for Inc., tech writer Larry Alton covers the advantages of electronic signatures. Benefits include:

Ease of use – One solution provider Alton references allows the user to upload a document, declare signers and recipients, and deliver a secure link to the recipient. The recipient signs the document to complete the process.

High level of security – Even more secure than traditional paper documents, electronic signatures not only contain a signature, but also traceable information on who signed the document, where the document was signed and when it was signed.

Convenience – In our geographically dispersed world, your business probably deals with clients and vendors in in various cities, states, and countries. Electronic signatures allow remote authentication, making it a convenient option.

Faster turnaround time Businesses that don’t use electronic signatures have to scan, print, sign and send documents to one party, then repeat the process for each of the other parties in the transaction or agreement. With electronic signatures, all parties can sign within seconds.

Lower cost – The amount of money saved in paper, postage, mailing supplies and time make electronic signatures more cost-effective in the long run.


The legal standing of electronic signatures

In 1999, the Uniform Law Commission drafted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), which provides a legal framework for the use of electronic signatures. It has been adopted in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Exceptions are Illinois, New York and Washington. In 2000, the United States passed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN Act) to facilitate the adoption of electronic signatures.

However, questions regarding the legal standing of electronic signatures remain among many business people – who are justifiably warry of an unscrupulous client trying to get out of a contract by claiming it isn’t legally binding. Both of these acts confer the same legal status upon electronic signatures as given to those signed by hand on paper documents.

As outlined by SignEasy, an electronic signature must meet the following requirements per the two acts to make it legally binding:

Electronic Signatures, Digital Document Management, Secure Digital Media, Cybrsecurity A clear intent to sign – Just as with a hand-signed signature, electronic signatures are valid only if a user demonstrates a clear intent to sign. It means that you should also have the option of declining the electronic signature request.

Prior consent – The concerned parties must express or imply their consent of doing business electronically.

Clear attribution of signature – This can be determined based on the context and circumstances under which the document was signed.

Association of signature with the record – An electronic signature should be connected to the document that is to be signed.

Record retention – According to the ESIGN Act, the validity of the electronic signature is legitimate as long as the records accurately reflect the agreement and can be reproduced in a court of law as and when required. Leading electronic signature platforms provide users with a fully-executed signed copy, or allow you to download a copy of the signed document.

Making digital management safe and secure, DocuServe offers industry-leading cloud-based solutions for every aspect of your organization. With DocuServe, you get complete control over your content, right down to the document level. Contact us to learn more.

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