Published: Jun 29 2021

Cloud Document Management 101: What is a Cloud Document Management System and Why Should You Use One Today?

A cloud document management system is a web-based data storage and information management system that can be a game-changing implementation for many businesses today. If there’s one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic emphasized about many organizations’ operations, it was how woefully behind they were when it came to digital transformation and multi-site operations. And, at the start of the pandemic, many businesses struggle to move some of their systems to the cloud in an effort to facilitate a multi-site, remote working environment.

However, as organizations continue to develop their long-term solutions and their broader technological infrastructure, there remain many questions about cloud deployments and cloud safety.

Here’s everything you need to know about the cloud and the benefits of a cloud document management system in 2021.

What Are the Biggest Concerns with Cloud Document Management?

The term “the cloud” usually refers to a network of servers, each of which has a specific function or purpose. When individuals or companies move something like a document management system to the cloud, they are generally making a switch to cloud-based infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or software-as-a-service (SaaS).

The problem? The first cloud-based solutions came with their fair share of problems, including concerns surrounding:

  • Security: Many organizations had misgivings about storing their data on a third-party server, thinking that this made their information more susceptible to hacks or other cyber-attacks.
  • Data privacy: In the same vein, putting data into the cloud could force businesses to relinquish certain privacy controls, which was a huge concern for businesses in heavily regulated industries.
  • Lack of control or loss of data: If something affects your cloud system provider, your data could be lost.
  • Technical issues: If the system goes down, you can lose control to your mission-critical information (and you have no way of resolving the matter in house).

And in many cases, these were (and are) legitimate concerns. That said, as cloud systems have continued to mature over the past several years, many providers have addressed these challenges head-on to made document storage in the cloud more safe and secure.

Meridian's cloud-based electronic document management system, for example, addresses these concerns with features like:

  • Encryption
  • Role-based security
  • Automatic backups
  • Secure document sharing
  • Access control and certifications
  • Environmental control

And there are marked benefits to deploying such a system.

What Are the Benefits of a Cloud Document Management System Today?

A secure, modern and effective cloud-based system can offer many key benefits to your business, including:

Security

Many cloud providers are vigilant about encryption, patches, and other security protocols. Additionally, these updates are generally automatic, which can both take pressure off your IT team and make sure that your system is consistently secure.

This is a far cry from many on-premise systems, which requires manual upgrades, additional fees and significant time to carry out updates – all of which can hamper efficiency and increase vulnerability to threats.

Agility and Scalability

By taking out the hardware component of document management, a cloud-based system inherently offers more flexibility and scalability than its rigid on-premise counterparts. Additionally, it’s easier for teams to add or remove users as they organization grows or down-sizes, which can be ideal for any modern organization.

A Lower Price Tag

Cloud solutions can lead to short-term and long-term savings thanks to:

  • Lower up-front costs
  • Less troubleshooting (and increased employee efficiency in turn)
  • More data safety
  • Lower software maintenance costs

Increased Connectivity

Cloud solutions generally lend themselves to a much more connectable and well-integrated technological ecosystem. This is crucial for any digital transformation effort, as data silos and disparate tools can lead to out-of-date information, incomplete insight and hobbled transformation efforts.

Remote and Multi-Site Capabilities

With an on-premise system, you need physical proximity to be able to operate the tool. This limits access or and requires significant IT resources to expand. A cloud document management system, on the other hand, is hosted, managed and monitored by your provider on the cloud. This allows users to freely access the DMS via desktop, tablet, laptop or mobile device. This can increase efficiency and revenue by allowing for real-time updates, up-to-date communication, accurate record-keeping and more.

Improved Disaster Recovery

On-premise systems can make disaster recovery more difficult, particularly for large, multi-asset, multi-site operations. On one hand, on premise systems require manual backups and regular intervals. What’s more, this information is nearly impossible to access in a lock-down or fully remote situation.

A cloud-based system, on the other hand, can help organizations access their information from anywhere, anytime – thereby increasing agility and flexibility in the face of a crisis.

How to Find the Right Systems for Your Business

Still unclear about where your business is going and what tools and platforms you need to achieve sustained success? Check out our eBook, Asset Management Trends for 2021, to evaluate the latest trends and see where your business stands.