Recent industry reports suggest that the volume of digital data stored by companies will rise 25-fold, from a humble 20 TB’s to a formidable 500 TB’s over the next decade. Are organizations prepared to handle such leviathan volumes? Do they have any contingency plans in place to store, manage and archive their information?

To preserve data, it needs to be first converted into digital content. The digital content needs to be converted into new accessible formats, or the environment in which it was created must be stimulated and updated. In today’s times, software is becoming obsolete quicker than ever before. Sometimes, the file format used for storing data becomes obsolete, especially in case of proprietary formats, where the newer versions do not support previous versions. The Viewers made for the file formats also become obsolete as they are not supported on the new Operating System. There is a constant need to upgrade, failure to do so means flirting with the risk of leaving data inaccessible for future users.

There are three major recommendations for companies that want to protect and preserve their digital assets:

  • PDF/A format should be used as it fulfills the criteria for long term archival of documents, and ensures authenticity and integrity
  • Standardized Quality Check of digitized documents before long term archival
  • A standard Document Management System with Record Management capabilities for ensuring Reliable Access

In an ideal world, users could ask of a document they wanted and have access to it instantly. In the real world, we need to strive to build such an ecosystem that does not place restrictions on the tools available to us. With the kind of technology available to us to digitally preserve documents and organizational data, no matter what system they are made for, what format they are stored in, or how old they are, there is no excuse not to take advantage of it. In the end, companies must remember that the gain is their own and so is the loss.

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