More and more, paper-based files and printing are being eclipsed by digital options. Why are businesses coming to rely on software solutions? The answer lies in the benefits they provide. Modern software solutions can trim expenses, increase data security, and boost productivity.
Software Solutions That Support The Paperless Office
Document Management Systems (DMS) are a kind of software solution that can handle a business’s documentation needs. Digital documents offer a number of advantages over paper files, invoices, HR documents, marketing images, etc.
Paperless office software solutions are far more efficient than a physical filing cabinet or nested series of computer folders. Documents can be tagged with any number of important pieces of information, including customer IDs, the date, or the product referenced. Meanwhile, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in PDF files makes them quickly searchable for key terms. All of this means that files can be created, organized, altered, and disseminated with a few key presses.
Some features of these software solutions include:
- Scanning paper documents, creating a searchable and editable digital version.
- Managing and organizing files through folders and tags.
- Document check-in and check-out, locking the file as it’s being edited so another user can’t create conflicting changes.
- Version control, including archiving and potential roll-back to a previous version of the file.
- Audit trails, annotations, and time stamps.
- Increased security and access control (see next section).
- A streamlined review and approval process that enhances overall office efficiency.
Software Solutions That Increase Data Security
We touched on data security briefly above, but it’s so essential in this digital age, that it deserves to be discussed in more detail.
What can leave your business vulnerable to a security breach? There are obvious threats, like cyber attacks and user error (i.e., leaving a secure device unlocked). However, even if you take steps against these issues, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Surprisingly, the weak links in your company may not be your computer networks. Instead, your company may be most vulnerable when it comes to the devices connected to your networks.
‘Smart’ printers with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity can make things run faster, creating a more streamlined office. They’re also prime candidates for hackers. In order to print a document, the device must receive a current, complete file. If the printer itself is unsecured, a savvy hacker can access that file and all the confidential information in it. Even worse, once the printer’s security been breached, a hacker may be able to identify and infiltrate other unsecured devices throughout the company.
Keeping your printers patched and on the latest firmware update is one strategy to reduce this risk. Security-based software solutions can also help bolster protection in your imaging fleet. Along with data encryption, you may want to have software installed that creates user permissions, Follow Me printing with authentication, and access control and reporting.
User permissions can be set to a single employee or group; for instance, the team working on that particular project. This software solution restricts printing sensitive data to only the right people. On a broader scale, these permissions can allow remote access, useful for employees working from home or in different time zones.
Follow Me or Find Me printing works similarly to two-factor authentication. A print job is sent to a specific device and waits there, securely, until a user authenticates the job. This may be done by proximity, inputting a PIN, or via a password. These software solutions secure the document and creates a digital paper trail, ensuring data security.
Access control and reporting software let you monitor who is printing and for what purpose. This allows you to tighten up non-work related printing, such as personal emails, online recipes, etc. If your office is running through an unreasonable amount of paper and other consumables, you can identify who is abusing the printer and wasting company resources.
Software Solutions That Reduce Costs
The software solutions on your printing devices don’t just increase security. They also reduce your overall office costs in a number of ways.
Reduced printing waste. A significant percentage of office paperwork is never read or used. Inappropriate print jobs, such as personal emails or Pinterest boards, also waste paper. The software that accompanies Managed Print Services reduces how much is printed, trimming the costs of consumables like paper and toner. It also slashes your recycling and energy bills.
Reduced number of devices. Lighter printing loads means that your company will need to purchase and maintain fewer devices. For many businesses, one centralized multifunction printer (MFP) that offers printing, scanning, copying, and fax functionalities may suffice for the entire office.
Increased productivity. How much time are your employees wasting in line to use a printer, wrestling with paper jams, or looking for misplaced documents? Digitalizing your paperwork frees them up. It can also allow your IT department to focus on more pressing issues, like computer maintenance and security threats.
Improved workflow. Large offices, or smaller businesses dealing with a surge in demand, can become a chaotic place. You can contain this by managing data from one central location. This allows control over who a document is going to, when a file is released, what changes may be allowed, and more. This approach streamlines workflow, creates better adherence to protocols, and improves security on all levels.
Greater security against digital and natural threats. We’ve already covered digital security measures like encryption and password authentication. However, digital files also create a more flexible and resilient company. These digital documents can be copied and backed up in multiple secure locations. If a major problem occurs, whether it’s a cyber attack or natural disaster, the company can access an untouched copy of their files. This allows the office to return to business more quickly.
The increased control and flexibility offered by software solutions can give a company a competitive advantage. These software solutions increase your data security, speed document searches and alterations, and allow backups and reversion as needed. They also reduce your reliance on printers and scanners, cutting other related costs, including consumable materials and repair fees.
Are you an Ohio-based business that is interested in software solutions to streamline workflows and cut costs? Contact the Modern Office Methods team today to learn more about how to get started.