COVID-19 has shown us how vulnerable we all are to big unexpected shifts in the status quo. Collectively we’ve never faced a pandemic of this magnitude and many businesses were caught completely off-guard by the speed at which the virus spread. Virtually overnight, businesses were shuttered, streets were bare, and people were sheltered in place waiting out the worst.

COVID-19 has hit car dealerships particularly hard. With over 30 million people out of work, people have less money to spend, which means fewer large purchases. But many dealerships are also facing another issue, how do you continue running a largely paper-based business when the majority of your employees are forced to work remotely? How do you retrieve customer records when they are buried in a file cabinet in a storage facility that is temporarily closed?

It also begs the question, what happens when the next disaster hits? Unfortunately it’s not a matter of “if,” but “when.” It may not come in the form of a global pandemic, but what about a fire, flood, or tornado? Paper-based businesses are particularly vulnerable to these types of natural disasters, because even the slightest issue can cause huge, costly headaches. A simple filing error can cost a dealership thousands of dollars if a document is lost. What happens when the whole file room is turned upside down? For businesses without a plan B, it’s usually bankruptcy. 

Digital document management to the rescue 

Okay, so you’re sufficiently terrified. Now what? The simple answer to the paper problem that all dealerships face is cloud storage and digital document management. You may have heard about the benefits of digital document management before, but COVID-19 has shown us that it is more urgent than ever to digitize your paper files. Below we examine how digitization can help protect your business from unforeseen events.

Everything is backed up in the cloud

There are major benefits to cloud storage. The first of which, is that no matter what happens, fire, flood, locusts, plagues, your documents will always be secure. Cloud backup solutions store your data in off-site servers housed in secure facilities that are connected to the cloud. This keeps your data safe from threats, and allows you to restore your data to a new device at any time via your internet connection. 

For a long time it was prohibitively expensive to store your documents in the cloud, but in the past few years storage costs have dropped significantly. Now it is much more cost-effective to store documents digitally than to store files on-site, or manage an off-site file room. Migrating your paper files to a digital file management solution will give you peace of mind and protect your business. It will also free up space for revenue-generating activities, and make your business much for efficient

Access files from anywhere

COVID-19 has highlighted the need for remote access to important documents. The shelter-in-place orders implemented by the majority of states forced many businesses to close their physical locations. Businesses that rely solely on paper files had no way of accessing important data, slowing productivity and decreasing revenue.

Backing up your files in the cloud means that they can be accessed from any digital device with an internet connection. Simply log into your online portal and all of your relevant files are available with a simple search query. This is especially useful for back-office employees such as accounting or HR that need to frequently pull files to check commissions or handle a warranty audit. The flexibility makes it easier for your dealership to adapt to anything that might come your way. Putting the foundation in place now means you will be better prepared for the next big disruption. 

Secure sensitive data

Dealerships manage all kinds of sensitive data. Customer addresses and payment information, employee records, insurance claims etc. While you can take precautions to secure paper files, no system is ever 100% foolproof. All it takes is one mistake, one file left unattended, to have potentially disastrous consequences. If employee records are compromised or a customer’s personally identifiable information is stolen, the dealership can be held liable and sued. Lawsuits can take months if not years to resolve and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawyers fees and penalties.

Storing your paper files in the cloud secures sensitive data and guards against any potential mistakes. All documentation is stored in password-protected portals that can only be accessed by certain employees. Many document management solutions also have permissions settings that can be applied to certain files or folders. For example, you could only allow the service department to access customer ROs, while blocking access to employee records. 

Protect your business from the next big disaster

As much as we would like to, we can’t predict the future and we can’t prevent natural disasters. All we can do is learn from the experience and prepare better for next time. The bottom line is that storing paper documents on-site is a catastrophe waiting to happen. One that your business may not be able to recover from. 

Digital document storage is the only option that can guarantee the safety of your data. Scan123 is a document scanning and storage solution that can move all of your paper files to the cloud for a fraction of the cost of what you are currently paying for on-site storage. If you would like to learn how Scan123 can help you securely digitize your dealership at surprisingly affordable prices, click here.