January 25, 2013 by Tom Zeliff Categories: Document Management

With the widespread availability of high-speed internet access, telecommuting continues to grow as a means to enable companies to find and utilize qualified staff beyond historical geographic constraints. Recent natural disasters or even outbreaks of the flu have also resulted in far more “working from home” than many of us ever imagined. Cloud document management helps make telecommuting both possible and effective by ensuring that critical business documents are always available, secure and are never inaccessible or lost because of a disaster.

Cloud Document Management, Defined

Document management in the cloud provides a means to help mitigate the effects of a natural disaster, and enable effective telecommuting strategies. Previously known as “SaaS” (software as a service) provided by an “ASP” (application service provider), today’s “cloud document management” is defined as document management software securely and remotely hosted by a third-party. In this way, companies experience remote and secure access and version control of documents that reside outside of your firewall.

The bottom line: it’s a lot cooler to say that documents are now “stored in the cloud” instead of “on a third-party server in a data center.” However, the fact that these data centers are all SSAE 16 and SOC 2 compliant, powered by different electrical grids and guarded like Fort Knox is kind of cool…

As is true with other cloud-based applications, cloud document management continues to become more feature-rich. Not only do they offer document storage, retrieval and tracking, but also workflow capabilities. Staff can access documents and workflow dashboards via a web browser, eliminating the need for any special applications. Document scanning, email integration and integration with line of business applications are also available. One of the best parts: all enhancements are made automatically and seamlessly in the cloud, so there is no need for the dreaded software upgrade rollouts.

Telecommuting

Market research estimates that by 2016, up to 63 million adults will telecommute as a part of their work schedule. This represents approximately 43% of the entire US workforce. The recent AIIM whitepaper, Content Access – Maximizing Availability across the Enterprise, suggests that staff that work outside the office feel that extending content to them is “very useful.” The bottom line is this: telecommuting is here to stay.

In some instances, telecommuting is forced upon an organization due to a natural disaster, like Hurricane Sandy. Offices that used to house staff become inaccessible. Immediately, the organization has a bevy of temporary telecommuters until the office is restored and available. Business does not and cannot stop. Organizations must find ways to access the information that they need to operate their business from remote locations.

Whether intentional or otherwise, cloud document management allows telecommuters both access to the information they need to be productive as well as the visibility to management that they are doing their job effectively.

Defacto Disaster Recovery

One of the primary, though lesser discussed, benefits of cloud document management is being the foundation of a disaster recovery plan. Documents stored in the cloud are automatically backed up in the cloud in multiple locations on redundant servers. No longer are they stored (and lost) on local hard drives, flash drives or filing cabinets—and you can forget about regular back-ups and the worst: having to restore from an offline back-up source. Documents critical to your business are now available despite any business interruption, whether it’s Mother Nature, an electrical outage, a fire or other disaster.

More than Just Rain for the Crops

In addition to allowing secure, remote access to documents, the cloud (document management) allows employers to utilize talent farther afield, whether telecommuting or traveling, and is also the foundation of any disaster recovery plan. Considering that there is no capital investment required and with monthly fees that cost a fraction of what traditional document management costs, isn’t it time you considered implementing a cloud document management system?

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