Record Keeping – Soft and Hard


Record Keeping – Soft and Hard

November 18, 2021

Business operations usually result in accruing a lot of records over time. It is a challenge to maintain a good record keeping or filing system as well as record retrieval system, due to its sheer volume. These records or documents should be categorised and retained in different formats according to the need and nature of the document.

Paper records and Digital records are the two forms in which records can be retained. As a legacy of business practices, most companies still keep paper records of everything. Digital record keeping, being a new and efficient avenue, does not downgrade the need for Hard copies as well. Both formats have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Digital record keeping uses a dedicated, secured computer, and needs schedule routine backups of that computer, preferably at another physical location, as a measure of precaution against any emergency.

  • You can tweak and revise your file structure as your business grows.
  • Records can be retrieved easily with the help of search tools and software readily available on any Operating system. These applications can index files and folders for the directories we want to navigate through.
  • WMS and TMS can automatically generate necessary documents in Softcopy format as and when the transactions happen and can send it to the stakeholders via Cloud computing.
  • Soft copy can contain signature or any other authentication mark; but due to its virtual form, its authenticity can be questioned.
  • Softcopy can easily be duplicated and can be exposed to multiple parties parallelly, in case of a security or confidentiality breach.
  • Due to the digital network laid out on the internet and over the Cloud, they are highly vulnerable to theft and can be subjected to Malwares and Ransomwares.

Hard records mostly are paper, contracts, and forms based on physical form. There are several limitations in going completely digital for the company, and hence hard record keeping cannot be eradicated completely.

  • The original paper-copy document has unique legal force, such as an executed lease agreement.
  • Hard copies preserve the authenticity of the document and it is very difficult to replace them with Digital form in some domains.
  • Hard copy can be effective in long term storage as Digital storage systems become obsolete from time to time, resulting in a need to transfer data to the new system, which is not the case with hard record keeping.
  • Hard records can easily be destroyed if the need arises and the destruction can be non-reversible; which may not be the case with Soft records.

With the technologically driven advancements and systems on the rise, Soft records have become an utter necessity as digitalization of files helps in its better integration with Blockchain; A platform that is rapidly catching the aspiration of every company. Businesses should maintain documents and records in multiple formats that align with the specific needs & requirements of the company.