What are the best requirements to follow for a manageable commercial document archiving process? What’s more, how can you implement and master these requirements in your IT space, so you become comfortable with a secure storage process?
A legitimate archiving solution will give you the ability to retrieve a document and prove its authenticity to an auditor. In recent years, some useful technological features and information processes have emerged to help you certify the legal compliance of a document your organization has produced, stored, and retrieved.
There are multiple ways to achieve this. Some methods are less complex and more cost-effective while still offering archival compliance for commercial or trade documents. Furthermore, the archiving system itself will not fulfill the requirement of compliance entirely: it requires a balance of processes and technology. In this article, we will highlight how to simplify your means of archiving documents by combining digital document management with cloud document archival storage. Using this process, the digital document management solution easily matches all archiving requirements, benefiting from direct connectors between the systems producing the documents and the cloud document storage hosting them.
Let’s detail a few archiving requirements and straightforward ways to match them. Some of these methods may be appropriate to your organization or better fit your desired security level. The connection features mentioned here are part of Compleo Suite, a digital document management software, offering drivers to populate Cloud Storage Platforms with archived documents.
Requirement #1: Scalability and Performance
Enterprises tend to produce a lot of business documents. The IRS, lawyers, accountants, banks, and government agencies all seem to have different ideas about how long you should retain trade documents, depending on your individual circumstances. Cloud options are now offering large capacity and scalability, so it has become easier to choose a cloud storage provider and expand both your cold disk space and the number of documents you can legally have archived.
Enterprises want to achieve a secured and compliant storage in the cloud to bypass the headaches associated with on-premises implementation, and are looking for cost-competitive legal archiving systems to do so.
Fortunately, cloud document storage providers offer calculators to estimate cost. Whether you choose Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure, it’s easy to run an estimate based on the number of documents you produce and archive each year, as well as the average PDF size, percentage of documents subject to searches, and percentage to be offered for download.
Requirement #2: Safety and Reliability
Digital document storage must be kept exclusively in a non-rewritable and non-erasable format, as defined by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Current digital signature technology requirements warrant that a trade document PDF locked by valid digital signature can’t be changed. This read-only requirement is easy to fulfill. As for preventing a document from being replaced or discarded, a vault lock policy may be implemented either within the chosen cloud storage, such as Amazon Glacier, with its unchangeable bucket option, or at the feed system level by applying a GUID to reference the PDF, preventing file replacement.
With such features, and as long as the system feeding the cloud storage with trade documents released by the ERP, CRM, or BMP is an uninterrupted workflow, all commercial or trade documents eligible for archiving are rendered safe and reliable.
It’s also possible to enforce safety and reliability with additional features, such as the PDF/A format for long-term readability and time-stamp. One of the most efficient ways to do this is by embedding metadata inherited from producing and archiving the commercial document. The document ID then becomes part of the document itself, offering any auditor relevant information regarding the document’s origin, date of creation, date of digital signature application, process names involved in workflow, historic details, and much more.
Requirement #3: Searching and Retrieval
A document must be stored independently from the application that produced it. Keeping commercial documents independent from support, system, or version is essential.
Searching and retrieving commercial documents from a cloud repository can be quite simple, provided the relevant metadata or properties are passed to the archiving system. This is the job of the digital document management solution feeding the repository. Identifying metadata in the content of the document without indexing the whole text on multiple pages allows you to speed up searches and narrow the results to the most relevant documents.
Search forms, provided by the archiving application, offer various means to navigate through buckets and search for a specific document. However, there are ways to improve searches, and keep connected to the preferred document or bucket.
Feeding the legal archiving system from your digital document management process may keep the archived document’s URL and save it into the relevant application. This will ease searches by offering a direct connection from the application to the archived document.
By combining processes and technology, your organization can push commercial documents into an appropriate cloud storage bucket as soon as they are created. Various Compleo Suite connectors and drivers exist to bridge S4/HANA to SAP Cloud Platform, IBM i to AWS3, or Windows Application to Microsoft Azure.
Meeting all of the above requirements will mean a document is archived properly, not only because it’s stored in a secured place to be retrieved later, but because the process to transfer the document from its source to the safe repository is truly secure.