Like it or not, the digital age has changed the way we do business. From streamlined communication to managing electronic files, going paperless is a must for any modern organization.
In business, we create, receive, and store many electronic files. With so many important documents, it’s crucial to have a contract management system for managing them effectively.
Here are the top 10 electronic file management best practices to keep your team in the loop.
Table of Contents
- 1. Create Specific Folders for Each Type of File and Keep Them Well-Organized
- 2. Use Keywords and Tags To Help You Locate Files Quickly and Easily
- 3. Backup Your Files Regularly to an External Drive or Cloud Storage Service
- 4. Delete Old Files That Are No Longer Needed
- 5. Keep Software Up-to-Date and Install Security Patches Promptly
- 6. Protect Your Computer With a Firewall and Antivirus Software
- 7. Use Strong Passwords and Change Them Frequently
- 8. Encrypt Sensitive Data
- 9. Limit Access to Important Files and Folders
- 10. Be Vigilant About Opening Email Attachments
- Key Takeaway
1. Create Specific Folders for Each Type of File and Keep Them Well-Organized
One of the best practices for managing electronic files is to create specific folders for each type of file and keep them well-organized. It helps you find the files you need when working on projects.
For example, if you have a folder for all your word documents, you will know exactly where to look when you need to open a specific document. It will save you a lot of time and frustration.
Additionally, well-organized folders can help prevent errors and the accidental deletion of important files. For example, suppose you have a folder for project-related documents. In that case, you will be less likely to accidentally delete a critical file if it is stored in its dedicated folder.
2. Use Keywords and Tags To Help You Locate Files Quickly and Easily
If you’ve ever struggled to locate a specific file on your computer, you know how frustrating it can be. One way to avoid this problem is to use keywords and tags to help you quickly and easily find the files you need.
By tagging your files with relevant keywords, you can ensure they appear in a search when you need them. This is especially useful if you have a large number of files or if you need to search for specific types of files frequently.
In addition, by using keywords and tags, you can also organize your files in a way that makes sense for you.
For example, tag all your music files with the genre or artist name. This would make it easy to find the file you’re looking for when you’re ready to listen to music.
3. Backup Your Files Regularly to an External Drive or Cloud Storage Service
Backing up your files is one of the most important best practices for file management. Here’s why: if your hard drive crashes, if you accidentally delete a file, or if your computer is lost or stolen, you’ll be glad you have a backup.
Let’s say you’re working on an important project for work, and you’ve been saving all your files on your computer’s hard drive. But then, suddenly, your hard drive crashes, and all your work is gone!
If you had backed up your files to an external drive or cloud storage service, you would still have all your work and wouldn’t have lost any progress. Another reason to back up your files is that it provides redundancy.
So if one backup device fails, you have others to rely on. For example, you could back up your files to an external drive and a cloud storage service. That way, even if one failed, you’d still have a copy of your files stored elsewhere.
Backing up your files regularly is one of the best things you can do for file management. It’s quick and easy to do and could save you a lot of time and hassle down the road.
4. Delete Old Files That Are No Longer Needed
One of the top ten electronic file management best practices is to delete old files that are no longer needed. The importance of this practice is twofold. First, it helps to keep your electronic filing system organized and efficient.
Deleting old files frees up space on your computer or other storage devices, making it easier to find the files you need. In addition, deleting unnecessary files can help to improve your computer’s performance by reducing the amount of data it has to process.
Second, deleting unneeded files can help to protect your privacy and security. Old files may contain sensitive information that you do not want to fall into the wrong hands.
By deleting these files, you can help to ensure that your personal information remains confidential. So, deleting old files is a great place to start if you’re looking for a way to declutter your electronic filing system and improve your computer’s performance.
5. Keep Software Up-to-Date and Install Security Patches Promptly
Keeping software up-to-date and installing security patches promptly are best practices for electronic file management. Here’s why: First, out-of-date software can be a major security risk.
Oftentimes, software developers will release updates that address specific security vulnerabilities. You may be susceptible to attack if you’re running an older version of the software.
Second, outdated software can be incompatible with new hardware and software, leading to compatibility problems and data loss.
Finally, new updates often include features and improvements that can make your workflows more efficient. For these reasons, keeping your software up-to-date and installing security patches promptly should be part of your routine for document management.
An example of this would be making sure your computer has the latest updates for Windows 10 installed as well as installing any available updates for your Office 365 applications.
Taking these precautions can help keep your computer safe, and your workflows running smoothly.
6. Protect Your Computer With a Firewall and Antivirus Software
Firewalls and antivirus software are two of the most indispensable tools you can use to protect your computer from outside threats. A firewall acts as a barrier between your computer and the internet, blocking incoming connections that could be harmful.
Antivirus software scans your computer for viruses and other malware and removes any that it finds. Together, these two tools can help keep your computer safe from a wide range of security threats.
Of course, no security system is perfect, and firewalls and antivirus software are no exception. That’s why it’s important to keep your security tools up to date and be careful about the websites you visit and the files you download.
Even with these precautions, there’s no guarantee that your computer will never be hacked or infected with malware. That’s why it’s a must to have a good backup plan in place so that you can recover your data if something does go wrong.
Protecting your computer with a firewall and antivirus software is vital to keeping it safe from harm.
7. Use Strong Passwords and Change Them Frequently
Regardless of your organization’s size, data security should be one of your top concerns. One simplest and most effective way to protect your data is to use strong passwords and change them frequently.
Strong passwords are at least eight characters long and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. They should be difficult for someone to guess but easy for you to remember. Many people use a passphrase like “I Love2$hop@Amazon!” which is easy to remember but hard to crack.
Changing your password regularly helps to further protect your data by ensuring that even if someone manages to guess your password, they will only have access for a limited time.
For maximum security, it’s best to change your passwords every 30-60 days. While strong passwords are essential, it’s also important to make sure you use different passwords for different accounts.
If someone manages to guess one of your passwords, they will have access to all of your accounts if you use the same password for everything. Using a password manager can help you keep track of all your different passwords and ensure that they’re all strong and unique.
LastPass is a popular option that offers a free version with basic features and a premium version with more advanced features.
8. Encrypt Sensitive Data
Data encryption is one of the most important electronic file management best practices because it helps protect information from being accessed by unauthorized individuals.
When data is encrypted, it is converted into a code that someone with the appropriate key can only decrypt. This makes it much more difficult for someone to access and read encrypted data, even if they can obtain a copy of the file.
For example, if your personal tax information were encrypted, it would be much more difficult for thieves to get and use your social security number.
In addition to preventing unauthorized access, encrypting sensitive data also helps ensure that the data will remain confidential if it is intercepted in transit. This is because anyone who intercepts the data cannot read it without the proper key.
Encrypting sensitive data is an integral part of keeping information safe, and it should always be used when transmitting or storing data that you do not want others to be able to access.
When transmitting sensitive files, ensure that you use 256-bit end-to-end encryption for secure file transmission.
9. Limit Access to Important Files and Folders
As you know, electronic file management is important for maintaining the security and organization of your electronic files. One of the best electronic file management practices is limiting access to important files and folders.
By limiting access to these files and folders, you can control who can view and modify the contents of these files. For example, if you have a folder containing sensitive information, you may want to limit access to this folder to only certain team members.
By doing this, you can ensure that only authorized personnel can view and modify the contents of this folder. This is just one example of how limiting access to important files and folders can help you manage your electronic files better.
This best practice has many other benefits, so be sure to implement it in your electronic file management system.
10. Be Vigilant About Opening Email Attachments
Lastly, one of the electronic file management best practices is always to be vigilant about opening email attachments. Email attachments can be a vector for malware and viruses infecting your computer and network.
Malware and viruses can allow an unauthorized person to access, use, or even delete electronic files without your knowledge or permission.
One way to protect yourself from these attacks is only to open attachments from trusted sources. Another way to protect yourself is to scan all attachments with antivirus software before opening them.
These precautions can help ensure that your electronic files are safe from malware and virus infections.
Key Takeaway on Top 10 Electronic File Management Best Practices
So there you have it—ten electronic file management best practices ways to keep your data safe. Of course, this is just a basic overview, and you can do many other things to protect your information.
But these tips should help get you started. And if you want even more efficient document management, check out our app, Fill. With Fill, you can electronically sign documents and organize all electronic files in a unified, easy-to-use dashboard.
Keep them well-organized, use keywords and tags to help you locate files quickly and easily, and save them to our cloud storage service.
Always remember that regardless of the size of your business, file management should be a priority for a seamless workflow for your teams.