The Ultimate Guide to Document Storage - Ricoh Scanners Skip to main content


The Ultimate Guide to Document Storage

An organized document storage system is key to peak operational efficiency.

Few things can upend a work environment like a cluttered mass of documents spread across every flat surface. Tax forms, invoices, and other miscellaneous forms an organization produces will find a way to take up valuable space whether you’re working in an enterprise-level office or from home. Every workplace needs a solid document storage system to keep papers organized and, ideally, digitized. This guide will break down the basics of document storage, how to create a document storage system, and the best storage services available, so that any organization can clear up its paper clutter.

Shop Scanners Now

Digital imaging solutions built with your business in mind.

Shop Now

What is document storage and how does it improve businesses?

Document storage is the process of organizing and categorizing documents to ensure that they can be accessed intuitively. While document storage once meant boxes of documents and rows of file cabinets, the definition has evolved. Today, document storage is largely a digital affair, where on-premise or cloud-based solutions maintain a library of digitized documents.

A document storage system can make a marked improvement in a business when leveraged properly.

    Challenges of document storage:

  • Configuration: Errors in the setup can leave systems vulnerable.
  • Security controls: Cloud document storage providers can help ensure cybersecurity measures are properly implemented.
  • Data governance: Companies need an established protocol on managing electronic files from creation to deletion.

Operational benefits of document storage

Reduced costs

Storing physical documents securely can be expensive, especially for law offices, hospitals, and similar organizations. By increasing productivity and lowering storage costs, businesses can reduce their net operating expenses.


Higher productivity

Organizations can save time by going digital, making it easier to send, transfer, and share important documents.

Better standards

Organizations that use document storage and a process-oriented management system will find that they have an easier time adopting new workflows, implementing new formatting standards, and enforcing best practices at scale.

For more information about leveraging document storage, read our blog post “5 Reasons Why Online Document Storage Improves Business Operations.”

Did You Know?: The fi-8170 can scan up to 70 pages per minute and 10,000 pages per day. Click here to learn more.

How document storage benefits remote workers

Digital document storage is particularly beneficial for remote workforces, which have become popular in recent years. Remote work carries some operational benefits, such as lower stress levels, but employees still need to be able to communicate and access documents as efficiently as they can in a physical office setting to operate at full capacity.

    Features to look for in document scanners:

  • High-quality scans: To avoid costly errors and misunderstandings, scans should be clear and high-quality
  • The right form factor for the space: Scanners range in sizes, and what’s right for an office space isn’t going to work in your remote employees’ homes.
  • Speed: Document storage can actually enhance productivity, but not if your scanner of choice takes eons to get the job done.

Considerations of adopting a document storage system

Organization size

Most document management system software is scalable, but enterprise-level businesses may need specialized solutions.

Document volume

Document Management System (DMS) solutions often charge based on the number of documents that need to be digitized, so this may affect your budget.

Type of information

Any documents that contain sensitive information about employees or clients will need extra security considerations.

You can find more information about remote workers and document storage in our guide, “How Digital Documents Allow Remote Workforces to Thrive.

Why secure digital document storage matters

While digital document storage is an efficient way to keep a vast library of documents, organizations must take proper precautions to ensure that every piece of information they keep is secure. Failure to securely store documents can result in harsh penalties should client information be compromised. Additionally, many regulatory bodies require paper trails for auditing purposes, including taxes. For instance, the IRS recommends saving documents for seven years.

To ensure that documents are safe, businesses need to form airtight document storage plans that cover every facet of their document management process, from access conditions to backup strategies. That also includes factors like price and ease of use, which will partially determine the ideal document storage system for an organization.

Most effective document storage strategies

Implementing access control

Protecting sensitive information is critical, so businesses must ensure that only specific individuals can access these files — whether physical or digital.

Keeping documents in a single location

By securing records in one place, organizations can reduce the risk of losing or misplacing files.

Evaluating environmental threats

Sometimes, the biggest threats to document storage systems aren’t people, but the environment. Floods, pests, humidity, fire hazards — all of these represent threats to physical files, so risk assessment is necessary before settling on a storage plan.

Our guide “Why Secure Document Storage Is Still Important in a Digital World” has more information on the importance of document storage.

How to develop a document storage system

A document storage plan is essentially a detailed explanation of how to scan and store documents. Failing to put a storage plan in place can result in security breaches, which can lead to violations of regulations like HIPAA and GDPR. Those violations not only result in hefty fines but also take time and resources to rectify — on top of causing general disarray.

    What to include:

  • Document classification: Your document storage plan should include a system with detailed criteria for determining how a document should be classified.
  • Scalability: Organizations change size over time. Designing a scalable document storage system will save valuable time and resources.
  • Backup and recovery: All systems need safeguards. Backup and recovery procedures will mitigate losses in the event of an error that corrupts document data.

On-premise document storage solution options

Secure, organized file cabinets

This timeless solution is ideal for start-ups and businesses on a budget. Make sure your file cabinets have the appropriate security, like a combination lock or key.

Dedicated archive room

If your business demands keeping a large number of documents on-site, reserve some office space for storage (preferably a whole room with card-based security).

External solutions

Once your company reaches a certain size, keeping documents in the office may not be realistic anymore. Global enterprises often hire an external document storage solution to handle sorting, filing, destruction, and security.

We’ve created the guides “The Most Important Document Storage Strategies for Businesses” and “6 Document Storage Ideas for Businesses” to shed more light on developing a document storage strategy.


Finding the best document storage solution

Organizations can build their own document storage solutions from the ground up, but it isn’t the most practical option. Document storage services can provide easy access to both physical and digital records, while also including key features like user permissions and document classification out of the box.

    Features to look for:

  • Startups: Affordability and scalability
  • Small/mid-size businesses: Archiving, retention, compliance tracking, classification, on-premises and cloud-based options
  • International corporations: Version control, collaboration tools, mobile access, email management, file conversion

Best document storage solution options

Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive is a convenient solution for Windows users because it comes with Windows computers. The software gives users access to 15GB of cloud storage for free, though it's highly scalable for paid members. Organizations can sync their documents from the Office Suite with OneDrive seamlessly, making it a valuable tool for those in the Microsoft ecosystem.


DropBox is a staple solution. It puts simplicity first, allowing organizations to get cloud document storage up and running in as little time as possible. Users can upload files and images with just a few clicks, and the platform regularly creates document backups. It also features e-signature capabilities, making it easier to collect legally binding signatures.


M-Files is a straightforward document storage solution for businesses in accounting, management consulting, financial services, life sciences, and manufacturing. It’s tailored for small businesses and features impressive search mechanics. Like OneDrive, M-Files also integrates with Microsoft’s Office Suite.

Did You Know?: The fi-7300NX securely scans your data to cloud locations with a touch of a button. Click here to learn more.

Scanning documents to digital formats

Unless an organization relies fully on potentially costly document scanning services, it will need to scan documents itself. For that process to go smoothly, organizations must choose their scanners carefully, considering scan speeds and quality to reduce the risk of inefficient, low-quality imaging. Working through large volumes of scanned documents dictates high-quality scanners, so it’s imperative to weigh business needs against available options. Optical character recognition can help with organization and meta tagging, making it easier to manage and find documents across an entire enterprise. A scanner’s physical footprint makes a difference too; one well suited to an office may not work as well in a remote environment.

Shop Scanners Now

Digital imaging solutions built with your business in mind.

Shop Now

Our recommendation: fi and SP Series scanners

Those in the market for a scanner to assist with document storage have no shortage of options. We take great pride in having spent the last 50 years researching, designing, and developing some of the most advanced and powerful electronics in the world, including our professional grade fi and SP Series of scanners.

Built to purpose for the most demanding document handling jobs, fi and SP Series scanners are capable of processing tens-of-thousands of pages per day at the highest levels of accuracy. Their intuitive integration capabilities with all existing work suites minimize time-to-value for businesses looking to invest in tools that will pay dividends for years to come.

The fi and SP Series of scanners feature options for organizations of all sizes, though they’re all built on the foundational principles of ease of use and high scan quality. With flexible, cloud-ready options like the fi-7300NX, organizations can supercharge their digital document storage efforts. Click here to learn more or shop the rest of our production scanner line.


Note: Information and external links are provided for your convenience and for educational purposes only. PFU America, Inc. makes no representations about the contents, features, or specifications on such third-party sites, software, and/or offerings (collectively “Third-Party Offerings”) and shall not be responsible for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of such Third-Party Offerings.