Efficient file management is a requirement for all businesses, and small organizations are particularly susceptible to letting this slip.
If you feel that your files are getting out of control, or you find that your current strategies are not producing the results you desire, the following tips should steer you in the right direction.
Use online tools to your advantage
Gone are the days when you would have to rely on locally installed software to take charge of the files at your disposal. Instead, we live in an age where web-based solutions exist to do all sorts of document-related tinkering that benefits business and personal users alike.
For example, having a one-stop PDF to JPG editor at your fingertips will mean that you can convert files between formats in a matter of moments.
Likewise, you can migrate your entire file system to the cloud, and use web-powered platforms like Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365 instead. This will make it simpler to share files, collaborate with colleagues and ensure data integrity, without being reliant on in-house hardware and software.
Another vital tactic for file management that often gets overlooked is the need to take a consistent approach to the way that documents are named and formatted.
Firstly, from a naming perspective, having all of your files titled in a uniform way will avoid a lot of confusion, especially if you end up creating multiple versions of the same document over the course of a project.
You should also introduce a standardized way of filing these documents. Assigning each department its own top-level folder, with distinct subfolders within it, will save a lot of time and money.
Second, consider the advantages of formatting your documents consistently. If the layout of internal docs, as well as those which are externally accessible, is the same every time, it will present your business in a cohesive way and also improve things like readability.
Most importantly, be sure to document the processes and best practices you decide upon for naming and formatting your files. This will give you a set of rules for employees to adhere to, and ensure that there is no room for inconsistencies to slip through.
The files your business has access to need to be properly protected from the multitude of cyber threats that are circulating at any one time. If not, you could fall victim to a breach and be hit with reputational damage as well as regulatory fines.
Again there are a number of potential ways to go about bolstering file security. You could migrate all of your storage to the cloud so that on-site systems are not a point of vulnerability. You could implement a policy that manages how employees are allowed to use their personal devices for professional purposes.
Whatever the case, you need to take security seriously and plan for worst-case scenarios so that you are prepared as and when they do strike.
Implement regular backups
Backing up your files is just as important as protecting them from cybercriminals, as you want to be able to restore crucial docs and data if something goes awry.
The cloud can ride to the rescue here, and there are plenty of platforms that allow you to store files on remote servers where backups can be automated to minimize the effort involved.
Likewise, it makes sense to purge files relatively regularly, since keeping unnecessary documents will eat into your resources and come with a cost. Always stick to official guidelines when it comes to retaining finance-related files, but still carry out culls when necessary.