Where Have You Stored Your Customer Contracts?
By Gail Chiasson
Many Canadian small businesses are putting themselves and their customers unnecessarily at risk by not copying and storing important or sensitive business documents, according to a March survey conducted by Harris/Decima for Epson Canada, a leader in advanced imaging technology.
While 78% of small business respondents indicated they are concerned about properly storing important business documents, only 17% store all of their documents in both hard and soft copy files. In addition, only 10% of small businesses store all their important documents just in hard copy format and only 6% store in just soft copy files. The survey was conducted online among 502 small business owners.
Further, 90% of those who do not store any documents in soft copy say they have not adopted an electronic system to store their important business documents because they believe it is not necessary to do so (50%), or never thought about it (25%) or they think it’s too expensive (15%). The remaining 10% admitted they didn’t understand the importance of making soft copies of important business documents like contracts or invoices and storing them electronically.
Among respondents who make proper file copies, the regular file cabinet in the office is the preferred storage choice for those who make hard copies of their important documents (75%), while the personal computer is the preferred storage place for those who make soft copies (62%). Just 13% indicated they store their hard copies in a fireproof file cabinet in the office. Only 2% indicated they store their hard copies in a fireproof file cabinet offsite.
“Given the easily accessible and affordable copy and storage solutions that exist in the marketplace today and given some of the copying, scanning and printing technology that many small businesses already have in their offices, too many of them are putting themselves and their customers unnecessarily at risk,” says Michelle Warren, senior research analyst, Info-Tech Research Group. “These small businesses need to talk to an IT professional about what can be done to rectify this situation before their livelihoods are destroyed by fire or water damage — and certainly do that before their customers quite rightly begin to hold them to account for taking such a needless risk.”