7 Tips on Improving File Management for Small Businesses

improving file management

About 1.7 megabytes of data is created by every person on earth every single second. That comes out to 146,880 megabytes or 146.88 gigabytes of data a day.

You’re constantly creating spreadsheets, taking pictures, posting on social media, checking out the news online, and so much more. With so much data being created, it can be very difficult to keep up with it.

That makes improving file management system a top priority. That will make your life much easier as you go organize your documents and a big part of your life that lives online.

Read on to learn to top tips to keep your important files safe and organized.

1. Filing Systems for Physical and Digital Documents

The first step to improving your file management organization is to assess what your file management needs are. You’ll want to go through your file systems and see what documents you need.

You’ll then want to prioritize documents and files by importance, category, and usage. For example, if you’re a small business owner, you’ll have financial files, documents for clients, and personal files like music and photo files on one machine.

Documents such as profit and loss statements are critical to know the health of your company. You’ll update these and review them once a month, so they need to be filed in a place that’s easily accessible.

Small business owners also have to maintain physical records, including payroll records and receipts. This is necessary in case of a labor dispute or tax audit. You’ll need to be able to produce physical copies of these documents to pass any audit.

You need to have a system in place for your physical and digital documents. That starts with how those documents are filed, when, and where those files are kept.

2. Have One Place for Digital Documents

One common solution for managing digital documents is to upload them to the cloud. This saves room on your computer, and your documents are available from any device.

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The most common cloud solutions are Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive. Each solution offers a free plan and a premium plan to store your files online.

Where people get caught is that they use more than one cloud service. It can be confusing to know which files are stored where. The best solution is to sign up for one cloud service and keep all of your files stored there.

3. Always Create Backups

Even though you keep your files stored in the cloud, it is always possible that those servers can fail, and you lose your critical data.

This can be the difference between free and paid for cloud services. Most free cloud services have limited data recovery policies, which means that you can lose everything.

Before you sign up for a cloud service, you should know what the policies are for data recovery. Paying a few dollars a month to keep your data safe is well worth it.

No matter what cloud service you use, you need to have a local backup of your documents and files. This is done through an external hard drive that you use as a backup device.

You should back up your data to the external hard drive regularly. If you create a lot of important documents each day, then back up on a weekly basis. Otherwise, a monthly backup is adequate to protect your data.

4. Create Document Processes

Another way to improve file management is to create a process for your documents. At larger organizations, documents like purchase orders have to go through an approvals process.

Each department should have a process to manage documents, including standardized naming conventions. They can have folders dedicated to the department that are accessible only by members of the department.

The IT department needs to develop a singular policy that everyone can turn to. That will make it much easier for everyone in the organization to keep all files organized.

5. Keep Highly Sensitive Documents Protected

Since more people and businesses are turning to the cloud for file management, hackers are following suit to steal sensitive information.

You have to take a few steps to prevent common cyber threats from becoming a problem for you. Start by using strong passwords and two-step authentication to prevent easy access to your files.

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Microsoft rolled out a Personal Vault to users last year. This provides another layer of security for your most important documents. This is a set of files that are unlocked through another authentication.

6. Utilize New File Standards

One way to organize and manage files is to check for new file standards. For example, MKV is an emerging file standard that lets you keep your media files and combine them into one large media file.

If you have a lot of videos that you use for social media, you can save them in MKV. When you need to access an individual file, you can then convert MKV to MP4.

7. Clear Old Files Regularly

You can keep your files organized by regularly purging files that you no longer need. This can be done for physical and digital documents.

Once a quarter, take the time to go through your files and get rid of things that you no longer need. You may find opportunities and ideas to improve your filing systems.

By clearing out old files, you’re managing the amount of space that they take up and you make it much easier to find the files when you need them.

Improving File Management One Document at a Time

If you’re like most people, you have your most important documents and files stored on your computer and you have a physical copy, too. With so many important files floating around, improving file management is a must.

A good file management system will let you keep your files online and keep them safe and secure. You’ll have a system in place for clearing out old files and deleting files that you no longer need.

For more helpful tech tips, check out the Tech section of this site.

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