The collection of data and storage is one of the hardest parts of running just about any business. You may want to focus on finishing the job you were actually paid for, but doing so generally requires an immense amount of paperwork and communication. The restoration sector is certainly guilty of this, since beginning any sort of rebuild requires all kinds of compliance standards and approvals to be dealt with and met.

Additionally, any sort of data that is generated during a project also needs to be stored and accessible for a considerable amount of time. Organizations need to be able to document that they did everything they were supposed to do during a job and the documentation of this information can be a huge headache for contractors. With that being said, some of the most common forms of storage have some major downsides that administrators need to consider if they want to keep their most important data safe.

Paper is flimsy and inefficient

For the longest time, paper was the best means of data storage that people had. It was cheap and easy to get your hands on, plus putting information on paper was as easy as having a pencil. However, this technology, if you can even call it that, simply hasn’t stood the test of time. While a single piece of paper may not break the bank, costs add up quickly when we consider printing costs, as well as storing and managing paper records. On top of that, paper records can be easily ripped or stained, forcing you to reprint them to ensure the integrity of the information they contain.

“Paper simply hasn’t stood the test of time.”

As if all of that wasn’t enough, archiving and managing records is incredibly hard when working outside of a digital platform. A study conducted jointly by InfoTrends and Brother International discovered that sifting through paper documents to find the one you need costs around $2.30. While that isn’t a lot on its own, the restoration industry often requires employees to retrieve multiple records every day, which eventually adds up to a significant loss of time and resources.

On top of this, the same report stated that when a worker cannot find the document he or she is looking for and ends up having to replace it, the company can generally expect to lose roughly $120. Clearly, relying on paper to store important information is a waste of both company resources and time.

Local storage is an accident waiting to happen

Keeping every piece of relevant information locally is simply asking for major data loss.

Losing important information can cripple a business. Can your company survive complete data loss?

Many restoration contractors still rely on local servers and hard drives to store their job data, but this consists of a major risk management issue. Something as simple as a coffee spill or a major loss could destroy the drive or server and all the information on it.

Others might by utilizing a flash drive to back up the information, which is also an accident waiting to happen. Aside from the fact that these tiny devices are easily lost or stolen, flash drives create a major problem in terms of data security. Employees who are used to working with them often plug flash drives in without considering the consequences of their actions. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security ran a test in 2011 that involved researchers dropping flash drives in the parking lots of organizations associated with the government. Around 60 percent of employees plugged these devices in without a second thought, while 90 percent did the same if the flash drive had an official logo on the side.

The problem here is that anyone with malicious intent could easily download malware onto a flash drive, drop them in your parking lot and simply wait for one of your employees to plug it in. Relying on flash drives to ensure the safety of localized storage can backfire and end up jeopardizing your data security.

The cloud is the best solution

Clearly, other forms of data storage have quite a lot of issues that can have a negative impact on your bottom line and operations. Operating within the insurance industry requires a keen awareness of the importance of data stewardship and these standards will only continue to rise. Responsible and secure handling of data has always been a priority at Next Gear Solutions. This is why so many organizations have decided to switch to cloud-based, which is DASH Enterprise. In the last year, the Next Gear team has gone to great lengths to remove all personally identifiable information (PII) from many outputs of the system that could not be properly protected. We have also gone so far as to deliver encryption-at-rest to our databases; ensuring that data held within the NGS suite of solutions is among the safest in the industry.

Aside from this convenience, another great benefit of cloud storage is the fact that is so much safer than both paper and local digital storage. A disaster that ends up destroying your business won’t affect any data stored on the cloud, and the facilities that house this information have security protocols and server redundancies that make them extremely prepared for any sort of catastrophe life can throw at them.