The Dangers of DIY Scanning for Businesses

DIY scanning - Woman uses a scanner in an office

In today’s highly competitive market, businesses are always looking for easy ways to streamline their operations and enhance efficiency. 

As a result, a growing number of companies are abandoning their paper record keeping systems in favor of more modern digital document management solutions. 

The switch to digital document management promises a wide array of benefits, including improved efficiency, increased productivity, and enhanced security.

However, the process of transitioning from paper to digital files can be difficult to navigate. 

There are important decisions that need to be made when moving your existing records into your new electronic system, particularly whether to manage the scanning process in-house or to hire a professional scanning company to handle the task.

Both methods come with their own advantages and disadvantages, but in the end, it is a decision that can have serious ramifications for your business, especially when it involves sensitive and legally protected information.

In this article, we will discuss the potential dangers of DIY scanning and prepare you for potential pitfalls you may encounter along the way. 

The Decision to Go DIY: Early Considerations

When choosing between in-house (DIY) scanning and professional scanning services, businesses need to weigh various factors to understand what best suits their specific needs. It’s a decision that involves analyzing not just the volume and nature of the documents but also considering the legal and strategic implications.

There are certainly scenarios where DIY scanning is perfectly acceptable. For instance, businesses with only a few boxes of documents, especially those that don’t contain sensitive information, might find in-house scanning a feasible option.

In such cases, understanding the capabilities and limitations of different scanning methods is crucial. Both consumer grade scanners and mobile scanning apps have their merits, each being a great resource for smaller, manageable scanning projects.

On the flip side, opting for a professional scanning service involves looking into the provider’s reputation, technological capabilities, security measures, compliance standards, and cost-effectiveness. This route is often more suitable for larger volumes of documents, or when dealing with sensitive or confidential information.

Ultimately, the decision between DIY scanning and professional services hinges on a variety of factors, including budget, legal compliance, and long-term records management strategy. Each path has its unique advantages and challenges, and understanding these will guide you in making the most informed decision for your business.

What are the pros and cons of DIY scanning?

When it comes to scanning documents in-house, or DIY scanning, businesses must weigh the advantages and disadvantages to make an informed decision. Both aspects should be carefully considered to determine if this method aligns with the company’s goals and resources.

Pros of DIY Scanning

Immediate Control

DIY scanning provides businesses with full control over the scanning process, allowing them to manage the quality, timing, and scanning methods according to their specific needs. The business is always in possession of its original documents, eliminating the need to orchestrate a back and forth with your scanning provider each time you need a document pulled.

Potential Cost Savings

Initial perceptions of DIY scanning often include cost savings, especially if the volume of scanning is low and does not justify outsourcing the task to professionals.

Customization

In-house scanning can be tailored to the unique needs of the business, ensuring that the digital documents adhere to the company’s internal standards and preferences.

Confidentiality

Handling sensitive documents internally might give some businesses a heightened sense of security and control over confidential information. Companies who are skittish about passing off their sensitive documents to a third party provider may also feel more comfortable scanning their documents on-site.  

Cons of DIY Scanning

Lack of Expertise

Without specialized knowledge and experience, DIY scanning can lead to errors, inconsistencies, and ineffective organization, undermining the entire process. Professional scanning companies have trained staff, the proper equipment, and years of experience handling large scale scanning projects. 

Investment in Equipment and Training

Purchasing and maintaining commercial quality scanning equipment, as well as training staff in proper document handling, can be costly and time-consuming. 

Equipment costs, maintenance, and upgrades also tend to pile up over time, making the initial cost-saving assumption a fallacy. 

Potential Legal Risks

Improper handling and non-compliance with data privacy laws can expose businesses to legal ramifications, especially when dealing with sensitive or regulated information.

Resource Allocation

Managing a scanning operation in-house puts a drain on internal resources, pulling your employees away from their primary duties, which could potentially impact the overall efficiency and productivity of your team.

Scaling Challenges

As business needs grow, scaling a DIY scanning operation can be cumbersome and costly, often requiring additional investments in technology and personnel.

Legal Ramifications: Navigating the Quicksand of DIY Scanning

The process of transitioning to a paperless system becomes particularly treacherous when dealing with sensitive documents. 

DIY scanning opens the door to numerous legal ramifications if documents are mishandled, particularly when confidentiality and data privacy regulations are involved. 

Documents containing private information could be accidentally exposed or inadequately secured, leading to potential lawsuits, reputational damage, and hefty fines.

Some examples include:

Fines and Penalties

Most data privacy regulations stipulate hefty fines for non-compliance. For instance, under HIPAA, any person who knowingly obtains or discloses individually identifiable health information may face a criminal penalty of up to $50,000 and up to one-year imprisonment. This is just one of the many regulations that may affect your migration. 

Litigation

Individuals whose privacy has been violated, purposely or not, may sue the offending company. These lawsuits can result in additional financial penalties, as well as damage to the organization’s reputation.

Regulatory Scrutiny

Non-compliance may lead to increased scrutiny by regulatory bodies, which could involve audits, investigations, and ongoing monitoring. This can be a time-consuming and expensive process for any business, diverting key resources away from core business functions.

License Revocations or Restrictions

In some cases, regulatory authorities may revoke or restrict an organization’s license to operate, particularly if the violation is severe or repeated. This can have catastrophic consequences for a business, effectively halting its operation.

Criminal Liability

In some jurisdictions, particularly egregious violations of data privacy laws might lead to criminal charges against the organization or its executives. This could result in imprisonment, community service, probation, or other criminal penalties.

Reputational Damage

While not a legal consequence in itself, the negative publicity associated with violating data privacy laws can cause lasting damage to a company’s reputation. This can lead to a loss of trust among customers and partners, impacting future business opportunities and relationships.

Contractual Breaches

If an organization is handling data on behalf of another entity, failure to comply with data privacy laws may constitute a breach of contract. This could result in termination of contracts, financial penalties, and legal disputes.

Weighing the Costs of DIY Scanning

If you think scanning your documents in-house seems far more economical and convenient than hiring a professional, you are not alone. 

Businesses often perceive the DIY approach as cost-effective and straightforward, believing they can save money by leveraging their existing staff and equipment to handle the scanning process.

In some cases, especially for businesses who only have a few documents to scan, they may be right. 

Contrary to common belief, DIY scanning can prove to be more expensive than professional services. The accumulated costs of equipment, maintenance, staff training, and potential errors can surpass the fees charged by professional scanning services. 

To help businesses assess these costs associated with document scanning, we created a Document Scanning Price Calculator, which provides you with tools to estimate the number of documents you need scanned and the total cost of your project. 

Professional scanning companies like SecureScan offer competitive pricing, with the added benefits of expertise and high-quality results. We utilize state-of-the-art equipment and software, ensuring optimum scanning quality and efficient document organization, which in turn saves your business money in the long run.

Staying Compliant: The Role of Professional Scanning in Data Privacy Protection

In-house scanning can be a minefield when dealing with data privacy laws, especially when personal information is at stake. 

In this area, professional scanning services can provide a lifeline. 

At SecureScan, we are well-versed both in state mandated retention requirements and federal data privacy regulations that may affect your project, and can guide businesses through the scanning process, ensuring that the digitization and storage of documents adhere to all necessary legal standards.

The Benefits of Hiring a Professional

When it comes to bulk scanning, hiring a professional is the way to go. We provide expert handling of documents, superior quality scanning, and a streamlined process that eases the burden on your internal team. By guaranteeing the integrity and security of your digital files, we can save your business from potential legal pitfalls and data loss.

Partner with SecureScan: Your Ally in Professional Document Scanning

At the end of the day, the question is not whether to go digital, but how to do so most effectively and securely. SecureScan, as a leading provider of document scanning services, is committed to helping businesses navigate the intricacies of document digitization. We provide affordable, efficient, and secure scanning solutions tailored to meet your business needs. Get a free quote or contact us to get more information from one of our scanning technicians.

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