What types of businesses need a Document Management System (DMS)? Can I use a DMS for legal and financial documents?
Everyone creates documents.
Whether you’re a marketer, graphic designer, recruiter or CFO – you need to know where your files are, and you probably need to share them.
Document Management Systems (DMS) are launching in the cloud in order to meet the needs of many users. Solutions that were created for private file sharing (e.g., Dropbox and Google Docs) are entering the business space with the most intuitive and familiar dashboards you’ve ever seen – because you’ve already seen them.
While there are many benefits of leaping into the cloud, other long-standing DMS solutions keep you grounded and behind a firewall on-premise.
So, how do I know if I should invest in the cloud or an on-premise solution?
The easiest answer is that if you’re asking, you should probably go for the cloud. If you don’t already have on-premise servers and a dedicated IT team, picking a cloud solution is less expensive, quickly scalable, and highly accessible.
But the biggest caveat is data security.
What if my data requires top-notch protection?
If you’re in a financial, legal, or healthcare related industry (the type where your files need to be securely stored and very carefully shared), the safest route will always be to store the data yourself on-premise in your own servers.
Your next safest option: encrypting all documents shared on the cloud. Cloud solutions have the goal to replace your hard drive, but must overcome many practical barriers before that’s a real possibility.
On-premise solutions use a variety of file storage methods, and they approach data security in many ways. The point is that you’ll be in full control instead of relying on cloud services to maintain your data.
What about the size and specialty of my team?
You can allow any sized team access to a DMS.
Pricing per user is typically lower for cloud solutions, but costs vary per product depending on storage, services, and subscription fees.
Whether users are spread across departments, distinct projects, or even separate locations, the goal of a DMS solution is to centralize those documents and allow access to those who need it.
Within my business, who will have control over the DMS?
All DMS solutions give total access to administrator roles – these are users you assign when setting up the system.
Administrators are able to control security, accessiblity, and other behind-the-scenes aspects of managing documents.
With cloud solutions, managing users is more streamlined, especially with quick administrative tasks such as linking mobile devices, tracking account activity, adding and removing users, and other one-click actions. Cloud solutions relieve the administrator of many data responsibilities, which is why it’s easier to be an administrator of a cloud solution.
On-premise solutions often offer hybrid capabilities for allowing cloud and mobile integration, so these cloud tasks are optional in most solutions if not built-in. However, when maintaining all of your own security, the role of an administrator becomes much more important. Administrator roles for on-premise solutions are typically handled by IT. Managing user access along with data sources requires a more tech-focused type of user.
The bottom line
If you plan on giving admin access to a non-IT employee, you probably want a cloud solution. If you want IT involved, consider investing in an on-premise solution. This all comes down to who will be accessing the system, and how private their documents need to be kept.
Vendors will always have services for helping businesses manage their documents, but when you invest in maintaining your own data, how your users access that data is largely up to you.
Here, we’ve put together great vendor resources on the types of employees and industries that incorporate DMS: