Digitalization: Will it Make Our Files Safer?
For the sake of the environment, businesses and individuals are encourage to reduce paper waste and consumption.
22:03 12 August 2021
To reduce the waste households and industries generate, businesses and individuals are urged to go paperless. Environmentalists and other experts believe that digitalizing paperwork has stellar benefits. Aside from saving the environment, it also reduces the operational costs of businesses. In households, going paperless decreases clutter.
While paper is biodegradable, paper waste is often burned, causing air pollution. In addition, paper contains toxins that can seep into the soil, leading to ecological damage. Therefore, cutting down our paper consumption can result in a big difference to our environment. We can produce over a third less litter. In turn, states can save hundreds of dollars on cleaning up annually. We can also decrease the likelihood of diseases spreading in a community. That's because paper waste can also create a breeding ground for bacteria, and attract virus-carrying pests.
If going paperless can eliminate all those problems, then why do many businesses and people still use paper? Most offices still have printers and copiers, and brands still issue hard copies of receipts and invoices. Well, the possible reasons for their continued paper usage are safety concerns. While they have digital copies of all their paperwork, they still keep hard copies in case their files get hacked or accidentally deleted. But with advanced file storage systems now available, are hard copies still necessary as a backup?
Digital Backups are More Secure
Ever since the era of diskettes, backing up files has been important for businesses. File backups protect you from data loss, whether from theft, accidental deletion, machine breakdown, or malware.
There are various ways to back up your files. Today, cloud-based storage is the most commonly used backup method. But older methods, such as using USBs or external hard drives, remain popular to this day. They allow you to access your files without connecting to the internet, after all.
Digital backups are more secure because paper is prone to loss or damage. If you lose your digital copy, relying on its hard copy backup alone can put you at a greater risk of data loss, because once the hard copy goes missing, you'd no longer have any other copy left. But if you have multiple digital backups, the loss of one copy won't hurt your business.
What's more, online storage systems are password-protected. So if you're worried about hackers, using strong passwords and changing them regularly will keep hackers away from your data. But of course, no system is foolproof and completely devoid of risks. You need to ensure that the people with access to your files are trustworthy. Cybersecurity threats due to insiders aren't uncommon, after all. So if you have files that only a few members of your organization need to see, you can limit its access to prevent an inside job.
Digital Files Can Have a More Solid Protection
If you're keeping numerous piles of paperwork, chances are you store them in a file cabinet, or inside boxes. But neither type of storage can protect those files from a fire or a natural disaster. If you digitalize all your paperwork and use online storage instead, your files won't go anywhere even if your computers get damaged due to a fire or natural disaster.
That's also why it's better to back up your files online than to use external storage. USBs and external hard drives can also be stolen or damaged, after all. The internet, on the other hand, doesn't have a physical form, so anything you put in it cannot be truly broken. The only threat your online storage will face is hackers, but cybersecurity experts can handle them without fuss.
No Cybersecurity Threat Cannot Be Resolved
Speaking of cybersecurity, the common threats are ransomware, social engineering, third-party software, DDos attacks, and cloud computing vulnerabilities. All of them can affect your files or even damage your computer altogether. But cybersecurity experts can protect you from them. Your strong passwords will also help. And, as much as cybersecurity threats sound menacing, they're not as dangerous as natural disasters or fire. When it's the elements that claim your paperwork or faulty backups, you cannot recover them anymore. But with a secure online storage, and a team of cybersecurity experts to protect your network, going paperless will make your files safer than ever.
Plus, digitalizing your paperwork makes them accessible at your fingertips. Looking for a particular file, or even signing a document, can take no more than ten seconds. And you save the environment in turn. Going paperless may require a lot of getting used to, but you'll eventually realize how much it makes your life easier, and your files safer.