Document Management and Cloud Storage may appear to do the same function, but they differ greatly. Both methods store your documents and make them accessible from multiple devices and allow you to create folders and organise documents. But that’s where the similarities end!
Whilst Cloud storage is just a collection of stagnant data, a Document Management System (DMS) allows documents to move through workflows like a well-oiled machine. Documents can be shared with co-workers and clients, allowing people to collaborate on documents, edit them, and sign them. As soon as one person’s task is complete, the DMS can shuffle the documents along to the next person. This increases efficiency and allows you to get tasks done much more quickly than you could with only a Cloud-based storage system.
If you handle any kind of sensitive data—client financials, employee health information, etc.—you need to ensure that that information is protected. A DMS will have security features in place to protect every document you upload to the system, whether it’s a Cloud-based or on-site system.
Many industries have retention policies for documents—both how long you should keep documents, and how long you should not keep documents. Depending on your industry and the type of document, you may be required to keep information for a minimum of 5 years but be required to destroy it after a maximum of 7 years. Keeping track of how long you’ve kept each individual document can be exhausting and keeping documents too long or destroying them too soon can cause compliance issues for your company.
Most document management systems will come with the capability to set retention policies for documents. You can set the amount of time you want the software to retain a document; from there, the system can either delete the document, archive it, or move it to a new folder, depending on your preferences. It beats manually deleting the documents from your online drive.
In the end, Cloud storage can be a very important part of your document storage system. However, it should not be your sole means of document management. Just remember, a Cloud storage system is just a filing cabinet; it’s all about storage. Document management systems, on the other hand, are your personal secretary; they’re all about organizing and preserving the documents you store, and they give you multiple options for how to store that information—in the Cloud, or on your own computer.