Fire_London_BBCIn this digital world, securing and backup up data is often understood to encompass an organization’s mission-critical digital data, and appropriately so. However, many of an organization’s critical information assets exist only in paper form where they are just as susceptible to loss from fire, flood, and theft.

Googling “fire document warehouse” yields dozens of stories about the recent Brooklyn fire at a document warehouse that burned for days, destroying health records and other sensitive documents. But this is not an isolated incident. As you browse older results you’ll find stories like the BBC article about fires at Iron Mountain facilities in London, UK, and Ottawa, Canada, (LINK) and stories about fires at an Iron Mountain facility in Buenos Aires, Argentina (LINK).

Buenos_Aires_Fire_Computerworld_590This is not to pick on Iron Mountain – they probably do the best job in the world protecting the paper documents they store, but some still burn, and events like Katrina still happen from time to time. The point is that a complete Risk, Security, and Compliance (“RSC”) program that fails to evaluate paper documents is not complete. Critical paper records should be backed up and stored at different locations, just like digital records.

After all, trying to recover from a loss of sole-copy paper records can take decades. For example, over 40 years after the US National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis burned, the government still employs teams of people who attempt to reconstruct records (LINK and LINK).

Two of the principal reasons that paper documents are not backed up digitally is the high cost of scanning or digitizing them in the first place, and the challenge of then being able to index and access them after they’re digitized. BeyondRepro, a member of the BeyondRecognition network of companies, has new technology that addresses both issues, as well as a business model that makes it even more practical to backup paper documents.

St_Louis_DOD_Fire_590The largest component of scanning costs are labor charges and BeyondRepro has new technology that enables it to operate high-speed, double-sided, color digital scanners at near rated capacity, greatly increasing the throughput per labor hour.

BeyondRepro then clusters visually-similar documents so clients can quickly determine which documents are actually records that need to be retained, enabling significant winnowing of retained content. If clusters are retained, clients designate the document types to be associated with the clusters. To fully content-enable the documents, BeyondRepro also assists clients in creating searchable text and extracting document attributes from the clusters, both of which greatly improve retrieval and management of the content.

Perhaps as important as the technological advances, BeyondRepro also offers a significant new pricing model to make managing the costs of creating digital backups manageable and budgetable.

BeyondRepro has a dual phase pricing model based on annual requirements, where images are captured at cost with per page fees associated with the documents that are actually retained and content-enabled, which can be a relatively small proportion of the documents scanned. Other approaches incur high labor charges to review the paper or scanned images to determine if they ought to be retained.

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