Part 1: Converting paper to digital to preserve original copies
As we get ready to roll into the fall season, it’s an excellent time to take inventory. For some, that might mean securing and backing up documents and photos. You may be among many who have recently shifted to working remotely and had to purchase new computers, phones, or other office equipment. In a rush to get up and running, you may have forgotten about the need for backup and security. Recently, businesses have been hitting the news with large scale data loss problems. But what can you do at home? We can help you protect your most valuable paperwork and images. Ask yourself:
- Do you know where your documents are saved?
- Are your photos and videos secure?
- Can you access photos and documents from anywhere?
What steps do I take to backup all my photos and documents?
You can start by making backup copies of your paper items and store them off site for safe keeping in paper format. Then you can make a digital backup copy which you should store on a local drive and in a cloud account. We will go into greater detail about those processes in the next article in this series.
What’s the best way to transfer printed formats to digital files?
Some documents need to be saved in their original form for archive or legal purposes. These items should be kept in a dry place, a locked cabinet, or a fireproof safe. We like our paper because we can hold it in our hands, take notes on it, label it, and view it without computer screen fatigue. But there is a downside:
- Documents and photos can be damaged
- You don’t have access to them away from your home or office
- They might be the only copy you have and can get lost
Luckily, technology makes it easy to reproduce your originals by creating a digital copy and archiving it on your computer. If you have a small project, start by scanning documents on all-in-one printers or photo scanners. The cost for a printer is minimal, but for high-quality images, I personally use an Epson photo scanner that has OCR (optical character reader) settings so that the text is captured and can be edited in a PDF version. It can be purchased for around $500.
Digital information is designed for effortless reproduction and storing, but what if you have large quantities? Look for a document scanning specialist like Mountain States Imaging in Denver that does it for you.
Scanning paper documents and photos
To preserve your original images of legal documents, personal paperwork, and photos of life and family history start with scanning them into your computer. Before you begin, do the following:
- The scanner must be clean of dust and debris
- Documents can be scanned to a PDF file format
- Document file names should be Year-Company-Item.
- Ex: 2020-FarmersInsurance-HomePolicy.pdf
- Photos should be scanned to a JPG with dpi settings of 600 for high-quality resolution
- Photo files can be found more easily when named by YYYY-MM-DD-Event/Document Title
- Ex: 2020-05-10-MothersDay_IMG 2020.JPG
Digital files and photo backup
Now that you’ve converted your paper files, you can organize them with other documents and photos that are already on your digital devices. Combine files according to date, event, or document type, and then everything can be securely stored in multiple versions and locations. You just need to decide on the most convenient options. Choose between:
- Two different cloud backups
- One cloud backup in addition to your local backup
- Two local backups – not recommended*
*Adding a cloud option minimizes the risk of natural disaster, theft, and computer failure in your home or office, causing damage or loss to your items.
We use many backup and storage processes, depending on your existing computers, tablets, and phones that access them. You can relax knowing that personal items are preserved and can be found or shared easily from any location. Once you have done the initial scanning and sorting, the backup processes can be done automatically according to a set schedule without any hassle.
In part 2 of this article series, we will talk more about backing up documents and photos from computers and smartphones. We share tips for securing your files on Apple, Windows, or Android devices and how you can sync them with different cloud applications like BackBlaze and OneDrive.
Picture This Organized knows creating a backup process can be time consuming. If you need help making sure important papers and photos are safe and accessible, contact us for help!