Planning Your Digital Storage Costs After Scanning

Woman using a computer at work planning digital storage costs

Switching from paper to electronic recordkeeping is a big step for any business. Not only will your office be more efficient and less cluttered, but you’ll also be able to eliminate many of the unnecessary expenses associated with paper recordkeeping.

However, storing records digitally has its own costs, and being able to calculate and manage them ahead of time is crucial for budgeting purposes.

In this guide, we’ll help you get a clearer picture of what to expect when planning your business’s digital storage costs by addressing a few key questions that can influence them. We’ll also explore ways you can reduce your record keeping-related expenses by making informed decisions about your data storage options.

By the end, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to plan ahead for your digital storage costs, while ensuring that digitizing your records with our document scanning service is both cost-effective and efficient.

How Do You Plan To Use Your Digital Data?

Understanding how often you access certain data can make a big difference when planning out your digital storage costs. Sorting your data into different categories based on usage frequency can help you choose a storage solution that maximizes your records’ utility without overspending on unnecessary bandwidth.

Consider categorizing your data into the following three groups:

  • Hot Data: This is data you access a lot and need quickly. It’s often crucial, like active customer records, ongoing projects, or frequently updated files. Hot data should be kept in high-performance storage.
  • Warm Data: You access this data occasionally. It’s not as critical as hot data but still needs to be fairly easy to get to. Examples include archived project files, semi-active databases, or less frequently used customer information.
  • Cold Data: This is data you rarely access. It can be stored in cheaper, slower storage solutions. Cold data includes long-term archives, old records, or backups kept for compliance purposes.

By storing your data according to how you plan on using it, you can manage your records storage budget more efficiently. 

Keeping hot data in high-performance systems ensures that frequently used records can be accessed and retrieved much more quickly, at the trade of paying a higher cost per GB of storage.

On the other hand, storing cold data in a more cost-effective storage option like Amazon Glacier helps control costs while ensuring your data is still accessible when needed. In this case, storage costs are generally lower per GB, though accessing the data is slower and more expensive. This makes it ideal for archival purposes where the data needs to be stored but not frequently accessed.

This is why understanding your data access patterns can help you to plan for future storage needs while ensuring your system can handle changes over time.

What Storage Option Best Meets Your Needs?

Now that you have a good understanding of the types of data you will be managing and the various options available, it’s time to choose a storage solution that balances cost and performance to meet your business needs. Different storage technologies offer varying benefits, so it’s important to evaluate your options carefully.

Self-Hosted Storage

Self-hosted storage gives you complete control and security, as your data is stored on servers within your own facility. This option often requires a significant upfront investment in hardware and ongoing maintenance costs to keep things running smoothly. Additionally, you will need to employ IT staff to manage and maintain the system properly. Self-hosted storage may be suitable if you have stringent security requirements or prefer to keep direct access to your data isolated.

Cloud-Based Storage

Cloud-based storage offers flexibility and scalability with pay-as-you-go pricing, meaning you only pay for the storage you use. This makes it a cost-effective solution for many businesses. 

Cloud storage also provides remote access from any location, which is beneficial for businesses with remote teams or multiple locations. This ease of access and ability to scale storage resources quickly makes cloud-based storage an attractive option for businesses looking to manage costs while maintaining flexibility.

Well Then, Which One is Better?

The truth is, each storage option has its own pros and cons. Self hosted storage offers control and security but requires a larger initial investment by your business. Cloud storage provides flexibility and lower upfront costs, but may involve data transfer fees and less control over data security.

Key Cost Factors

When evaluating these storage options, consider the following cost factors:

  • Cost per Terabyte: How much does each terabyte of storage cost? This can vary significantly between on-premises and cloud-based solutions.
  • Data Transfer Costs: Some storage solutions charge for data transfer, especially when moving data in and out of cloud storage. 
  • Compression and Deduplication: Compression reduces the amount of space occupied by your files by reducing the size of each file by doing something.. This can reduce the amount of storage needed, lowering costs. However, files that are compressed generally need to be uncompressed in order to be used
  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO):  If you are going to be storing your digital files on your own servers, you should evaluate the long-term costs, including maintenance, upgrades, and potential migration expenses down the road.

How Much Will It Cost to Store Your Scanned Documents?

Calculating storage costs can help you budget effectively and choose the right storage solutions for your needs. Here is how you do it:

Step 1. Determine Your Average File Size

The size of a scanned document can vary based on the resolution and format you choose for your scanning project. For example, scanning at higher resolutions like 300 dpi (dots per inch), will produce larger files, compared to lower resolutions like 150 dpi. Just keep in mind that if you need the extra fidelity, storing your documents at a higher resolution will cost you more. 

The file format you choose will also impact the size of your archive. PDF and TIFF are the most common formats for scanned documents, each with different characteristics and file sizes. PDFs can be compressed to reduce file size, but this might affect image quality slightly.

If you plan on using OCR to digitize the text in your files, your file sizes will continue to grow. On average, the typical size you can expect when scanning at 300 dpi are:

  • Black and White: Around 38KB per page
  • Grayscale: Around 301KB per page
  • Color: Around 577KB and up per page

Step 2. Estimate The Volume Of Documents

Multiply the average file size by the number of documents or pages you plan to scan. For example, if you have 100,000 pages of color documents at 577KB each, you would need approximately 57.7GB of storage. 

  • 1,000 documents at 577KB each = 577,000KB = 577MB
  • 10,000 documents at 577KB each = 5,770,000KB = 5.77GB
  • 100,000 documents at 577KB each = 57,700,000KB = 57.7GB

Step. 3 Select a Storage Solution

Select the storage option that meets your needs and budget based on what we discussed about access. In our case, lets go ahead and assume you will be using Amazon S3 Simple Storage. The current pricing is $0.023 per GB/ per month.  

Step 4. Run the Numbers

Use the information from the storage provider to calculate the costs based on your total data volume estimated in step 3. 

Cost=Storage Volume (in GB)×Cost per GB
Cost=57.7 GB×0.023 $/GBCost=57.7GB×0.023$/GB
Cost= $1.3271 per month. 

So, storing 57.7GB at a rate of $0.023 per GB would cost approximately $1.33 per month.

The Final Word

Switching to digital recordkeeping is a crucial step for any business, offering significant benefits such as increased efficiency and reduced clutter. However, it’s essential to understand the associated costs of storing digital information and how to manage them effectively. By evaluating the size of your scanned documents, categorizing your data based on usage, and choosing the right storage solutions, you can optimize your storage costs and ensure your data is accessible when needed.

At SecureScan, we specialize in helping businesses transition to digital recordkeeping. Our comprehensive scanning services ensure your documents are converted to high-quality digital files, while our expertise in digital storage solutions can help you reduce costs and improve data management. Let us assist you in making the switch to digital, saving you money, and streamlining your recordkeeping process. Contact SecureScan today to learn more about how we can support your business in achieving efficient and cost-effective digital storage solutions.

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