Photo: Jesse Orrico, Unsplash

How to store docu­ments digi­tally and securely

Up to 11,500 charities store their documents privately in a trustee’s home. This gives rise to a significant security risk and the danger that data might be lost – which need not be the case.

In Switz­er­land, around 63,000 people curr­ently serve on boards of trus­tees. The average board of trus­tees has 5.3 members, most of whom perform their duties on a volun­tary basis. 87.3 percent of all chari­ties are led by indi­vi­du­als working on an extra-offi­cial basis.1 

In other words, up to 11,500 chari­ties store their docu­ments in lever arch files or on a compu­ter at the home of one of their trus­tees. Unfor­tu­n­a­tely, this makes it impos­si­ble to guaran­tee that the trus­tees can inde­pendently access the infor­ma­tion, and the risk of data being lost is high. Even today, digi­ta­li­sa­tion offers a raft of possi­bi­li­ties for data orga­ni­sa­tion that could help ensure that boards of trus­tees will be able to func­tion properly in the long term.

Boards of trus­tees face a veri­ta­ble tsunami of diverse docu­ments, and they need to be stored and archi­ved sensi­bly, whether in the form of hard copies, images, videos or emails. Howe­ver, many trus­tees are reluc­tant to use docu­ment manage­ment systems (DMS). There are many bene­fits to a DMS: 

  • a good DMS works in a manner that is intui­tive, self-explana­tory and saves a lot of time.
  • The usual work proces­ses do not need to be changed.
  • Digi­tal data can be stored secu­rely in the ‘cloud’. These tech­no­lo­gies are very advanced.
  • There are reason­ably priced entry-level solu­ti­ons for fewer than 12 people that can be set up in two days. 

The barri­ers preven­ting a DMS from being set up can be easily overcome

  • if you use a provi­der specia­li­sed in DMS with a data centre in Switz­er­land and 
  • enter into a non-binding pilot phase so that you can see the bene­fits of a DMS for yourself.

1Accord­ing to the Schwei­zer Stif­tungs­re­port 2017, pp. 4 and 7, 12.7 % of chari­ties have profes­sio­nal management.

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