The idea behind paperless offices is slowly gaining traction in large and small businesses throughout the U.S. alike. With greater emphasis being placed on green initiatives and operating businesses in environmentally-friendly manners, it’s no surprise that the widespread use of paper in businesses is a common target among those interested in protecting the planet. Before you decide to dive right in, though, it’s wise to explore the good, bad, and ugly side of a paperless office.
The Good News about Going Paperless
Paperless offices are not only great for the planet, they also happen to cut down on the costs associated with buying, handling, and storing paper. Some businesses, such as medical and dental practices or law offices, go through a literal ton of paper on a regular basis.
The ability to access all client/patient records quickly and easily with nothing more exerting than a few keystrokes on the computer, however, is highly eneficial for busy medical practices and countless other small businesses as well.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits is one that isn’t often discussed. The Small Business Administration reports that 40 to 60 percent of small businesses never reopen in the aftermath of a disaster. Storing documents and records electronically not only makes it possible for you to retain clear records of what was going on in your business prior to the disaster, but also helps you touch base with former clients, patients, or customers to keep them apprised of what’s going on with your business as you attempt to recover from the disaster.
Keeping up with all patient records, storing them properly, and even properly destroying papers that are no longer of use is problematic in today’s society of identity theft and privacy issues. Paperless offices do not share the same worries over physical documents falling into the wrong hands.
The Bad News about Paperless Policies
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows when making the move to a paperless office though. A paperless office requires a high-tech infrastructure in place including massive servers or cloud computing plans in place in order to store the volumes of information the business needs.
Additionally, you need the means of getting documents into those places as well as the equipment from which to access the information (and a system of protecting that information) for those who need it.
Your machine shop may need to invest in tablet devices, software systems, and cloud information storage programs in order to begin the move to a paperless workplace. Getting started, in other words, can be costly.
Additionally, paperless offices are vulnerable to things like equipment failure, bugs, glitches, and even power outages at your location or in the offsite location of cloud servers.
The Ugly of Paperless Offices
Medical offices, law offices, and even small town banks and barbershops enjoy many benefits of choosing to go paperless. However, this decisions leaves these businesses vulnerable to breeches, viruses, bugs, and hacking. If pertinent identifying, medical, legal, or financial information is compromised as a result your small business may face big legal trouble.
The good things about making the move to paperless, or as paperless as possible in today’s society, are often bigger than the risks for small business owners. However, if you decide to make the move to a paperless office, or even if you don’t go paperless just yet, please consider the importance of Valuable Papers Insurance and Equipment Breakdown Insurance, as well as Cyber Liability Insurance for your business.