Paperless Office?

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TP81
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Paperless Office?

Post by TP81 » Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:17 am

I am trying to de-clutter my home office. Just need to get rid of various paper (i.e. receipts, old paperwork, etc.) both business and personal. I have been looking at scanners and external hard drives. Not really into cloud storage right now. I am not very tech savvy but can usually work my way through things.

Any suggestions on the best way to go about this?

Any recommendations for the hardware? I have a MacBook Air (less than a year old).

Thanks

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Hayden
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Hayden » Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:23 am

A few years ago, I bought a printer/scanner with an excellent automatic document feeder. I can put in an old 50 page tax return, and it scans it perfectly. I highly recommend a good document feeder on whatever scanner you buy.

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neurosphere
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by neurosphere » Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:37 am

I've been using a Fuji Scansnap for years and love it. A document comes in, I scan it, then shred the document. Does color, double sided, dozens of pages at once, runs fast enough for my needs. I'm sure there are other brands available which work equally well.

I back up my internal hard drive to an external drive with RAID, and then also backup to the cloud.

Newer versions of he scansnap are wireless and USB 3: http://www.fujitsu.com/us/products/comp ... index.html

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rob
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by rob » Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:39 am

- Sign up for edelivery to stop the bleeding.... sometimes doing that will get you electronic copied of past cred card stmts etc. Download those and junk the paper equal.
- Download and use cute pdf or similar so you can print directly to a .pdf format and start doing that for stuff you used to print.
- Buy a decent shredder :-)
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien

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Toons
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Toons » Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:16 pm

When I was storing documents to an external hard drive(cloud storage now) I used and still use when needed
Canon Pixma All in one wireless scanner ,picked it up @Walmart for less than 100 bucks,No problems.
You can pick up a terabyte external hard drive from Amazon . :happy


http://www.walmart.com/search/search-ng ... %20scanner

http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-Canvio-Ba ... hard+drive
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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Ice-9
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Ice-9 » Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:31 pm

OK, these are software tips, not hardware tips, but...

1. Archives of sensitive documents such as tax returns, bank statements, etc. can be saved to encrypted containers using VeraCrypt (a fork of the old TrueCrypt).

2. If you keep one or two big encrypted containers of sensitive documents on your computer where you may update with new sensitive PDF files throughout the week, you can easily use your MacBook's Automator software to schedule a "Calendar Alarm" to automatically update the file to an external drive or a cloud folder once a week (or whatever schedule works for you). This makes backing up your paperless office a lot easier.

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Toons
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Toons » Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:33 pm

[quote="Ice-9"]OK, these are software tips, not hardware tips, but...


Op asked " Any recommendations for the hardware?"

Scanner,external drive? :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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Ice-9
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Ice-9 » Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:40 pm

Toons, that's why I started my post with a disclaimer. :happy

OP also asked "Any suggestions on the best way to go about this?" and I thought the software tip might be helpful.

DVMResident
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by DVMResident » Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:42 pm

TP81 wrote:external hard drives. Not really into cloud storage
Hard drives can and do fail. If online storage is not an option, I suggest a dual mirrored hard drive backup. You can buy external dual docking ports for $40~50.

Rotate 3 dives: keep 2 in the dock for mirrored backup and periodically (once a year, after taxes?) rotate 1 copy to a safe location protected from disasters (e.g. in a fire resistant safe).

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Toons
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Toons » Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:44 pm

:sharebeer
Ice-9 wrote:Toons, that's why I started my post with a disclaimer. :happy

OP also asked "Any suggestions on the best way to go about this?" and I thought the software tip might be helpful.
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

Buffalo Chuck
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Buffalo Chuck » Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:06 pm

I think "scanning in" is backwards. Or rather, the paperless concept needs to be explored primarily from the retrieval viewpoint. Not the Input.

Fuji ScanSnaps offer some ability to give Keywords to a saved 'file' (scanned images) and these Keywords are how Searches & Retrievals are done.

Some users rely on developing a good File Naming System. A "good for THEM" file-naming process.

Just consider how often you like to read a list of 300 file-names. Or 3,000. File Names shouldn't be sentences, either - these need to be short, succinct and precise. Alas, only the user can develop HIS system with this. Even using a database index/keyword search, those keywords have to be considered and developed.

And perhaps retyped, over time, to make the Database Retrieval easier and easier. The second year of data entry is always more precise than the first year's, by the way. It's exactly like any paper filing system - it just takes time to be refined.

That's the name of the game - making the Search & Retrieval EASY. Not the Scan-In Process. That's nuthin'. Trying to find needles in the haystack - that's the real issue to consider.

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Cottons
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Cottons » Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:45 pm

neurosphere wrote:I've been using a Fuji Scansnap for years and love it. A document comes in, I scan it, then shred the document. Does color, double sided, dozens of pages at once, runs fast enough for my needs. I'm sure there are other brands available which work equally well.

I back up my internal hard drive to an external drive with RAID, and then also backup to the cloud.

Newer versions of he scansnap are wireless and USB 3: http://www.fujitsu.com/us/products/comp ... index.html
+1 this. Our entire office uses them, and in the 2 years I've been here we have had only 1 fail. They don't hold a ton of paper, but if you're looking to do 1 piece at a time, the ScanSnap will be perfect.

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neurosphere
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by neurosphere » Fri Feb 06, 2015 6:39 pm

Cottons wrote: +1 this. Our entire office uses them, and in the 2 years I've been here we have had only 1 fail. They don't hold a ton of paper, but if you're looking to do 1 piece at a time, the ScanSnap will be perfect.
I routinely do 10+ pages at a time (as long as they all get scanned into the same file). I think it scans much more than that pretty easily?

My only issue/problem with my Scansnap is that I think I have a dead scan pixel (not sure of the correct term). But it is intermittent. This causes certain scans to have a vertical red streak at the same place. This is fine for documents I want to archive for reference. But annoying when scanning certain things that need to look "good". It comes and gos, and I can't figure out why. I assume its related to the particular settings at the time of the scan (i.e. resolution?), but am not sure. But I'm sure any brand scanner has the potential to have a bad scanning "pixel" at some point. There is not a cheap fix, as far as I know. But if I were to ever replace my unit because of it, I would buy the same device (or similar/upgrade).

NS

TP81
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by TP81 » Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:12 pm

Thanks for the replies I will be checking out the products.
Good point Buffalo Chuck. I will keep that in mind.
Ice-9 that's a bit over my head but seems like it will be worth it to give it a shot. I like easy😊

madbrain
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by madbrain » Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:16 pm

Buffalo Chuck wrote: That's the name of the game - making the Search & Retrieval EASY. Not the Scan-In Process. That's nuthin'. Trying to find needles in the haystack - that's the real issue to consider.
I do have a very simple file naming system, which include the date of the document, usually the name of the company, and type.
It can be pretty long. Not a full sentence, but long.

My scanning software, Paperport, combined with Omnipage, has built-in OCR . I use it for everything I scan.

When a command-line
DIR *WHATEVER*
(yes, I'm old school)
doesn't find the right document, I fire up Adobe Acrobat reader and do a word search inside the PDFs.
That takes a little bit longer (minutes instead of seconds). But I have been successful this way at quickly locating receipts for items that had broken down which needed warranty service, or specific tax documents, etc.

Quickfoot
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Quickfoot » Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:24 pm

Rotate 3 dives: keep 2 in the dock for mirrored backup and periodically (once a year, after taxes?) rotate 1 copy to a safe location protected from disasters (e.g. in a fire resistant safe).
Please, please, please do NOT put hard drives, cds, dvds, or flash drives in a fire resistant safe to protect from disasters. In a fire even fire resistant safes allow the contents of the safe to reach temperatures that will melt cds and thumb drives and cause physical hard drives to warp and their plastic pieces to melt. Even paper can reach near autoignition temperature which is around 424–475F and that's far higher than necessary to destroy a hard drive or cd/dvd disc or thumb drive.

If you are rotating drives (a good idea) you'll want offsite storage, more than likely a safe deposit box or some other physically secure location.

Law.74
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Law.74 » Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:03 pm

Another vote for scansnap. Our S1300i works great.
I also recommend getting a larger shredder than you think you will need. I used to sort out what needed to be shredded from what could go straight into recycling. I now shred it all. Keeping it simple.
"Don’t let the miracle of long-term compounding of return be overwhelmed by the tyranny of the long-term compounding of costs” -John C Bogle

davebarnes
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by davebarnes » Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:30 pm

Well, my earlier post disappeared, so here is the short version.

buy hard drive 3x size of airbook
buy SuperDuper! and use Time Machine
buy VueScan for software
buy legal size scanner
PDFs

declutter before scanning
do it again
Last edited by davebarnes on Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
A nerd living in Denver

texasdiver
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by texasdiver » Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:48 pm

Why are you guys not using cloud storage at least as a secondary backup?

I use CrashPlan to backup all the computers in my house. But I also use DropBox to store all of my important financial records which actually automatically creates 4 hard drive backups plus the cloud backup. I have Dropbox running on 4 computers so my files are synced on all 4 hard drives in addition to being stored in the cloud. It would be hard to imagine how I could have all of them fail on me as 2 computers are at home and two are in my. office.

I also make backups of my work files to two different external hard drives mainly because I have too many files to fit onto dropbox (lots of large video files).

crg11
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by crg11 » Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:00 pm

My system for protecting my documents:
- Scan & OCR documents onto my encrypted main hard drive
- Encrypted Time Machine backup that happens hourly to my Time Capsule router
- Backblaze cloud backup (with private encryption keys enabled) constantly, ensuring an offsite copy is kept.

I'm going to be adding a HD to my safe deposit box shortly for added redundancy, even though it's going to be out of date on my most recent items.

lightheir
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by lightheir » Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:03 pm

Buffalo Chuck wrote:I think "scanning in" is backwards. Or rather, the paperless concept needs to be explored primarily from the retrieval viewpoint. Not the Input.

Fuji ScanSnaps offer some ability to give Keywords to a saved 'file' (scanned images) and these Keywords are how Searches & Retrievals are done.

Some users rely on developing a good File Naming System. A "good for THEM" file-naming process.

Just consider how often you like to read a list of 300 file-names. Or 3,000. File Names shouldn't be sentences, either - these need to be short, succinct and precise. Alas, only the user can develop HIS system with this. Even using a database index/keyword search, those keywords have to be considered and developed.

And perhaps retyped, over time, to make the Database Retrieval easier and easier. The second year of data entry is always more precise than the first year's, by the way. It's exactly like any paper filing system - it just takes time to be refined.

That's the name of the game - making the Search & Retrieval EASY. Not the Scan-In Process. That's nuthin'. Trying to find needles in the haystack - that's the real issue to consider.
This actually has not been an issue at all for me. In fact, it's wayyy easier for me on my all-digital archive of 12 years compared to had it been paper (that would have been truly awful!)

I've found that at least for me, the best way to organize stuff is old-school, in an hierarchical folder system. Nothing fancy or tricky about it, but it's logical, and comprehensive,and works great for individual records, even many thousands of files deep. (Wouldn't be so good for public databases with millions+ of records.) I would highly recommend it. Filing is easy too - you just need to be a bit organized up front, and it's a cakewalk. Best part is that if you want to reorganize, it's still extremely easy to do that.

Def go paperless.

wassabi
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by wassabi » Sat Feb 07, 2015 9:33 am

texasdiver wrote:Why are you guys not using cloud storage at least as a secondary backup?

I use CrashPlan to backup all the computers in my house. But I also use DropBox to store all of my important financial records which actually automatically creates 4 hard drive backups plus the cloud backup. I have Dropbox running on 4 computers so my files are synced on all 4 hard drives in addition to being stored in the cloud. It would be hard to imagine how I could have all of them fail on me as 2 computers are at home and two are in my. office.

I also make backups of my work files to two different external hard drives mainly because I have too many files to fit onto dropbox (lots of large video files).
Crashplan is excellent. :thumbsup :thumbsup It's gotten a little pricey, but I love the fact that I can create my own encryption key so my data encrypts locally and then sits on their servers in a form that no one can read.

Regarding Dropbox, it's a good idea for most but I could never trust financial or other personal documents to the service. I won't store anything personal in the cloud unless I can encrypt it locally before transmitting. :happy

texasdiver
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by texasdiver » Sat Feb 07, 2015 9:49 am

Regarding receipts.

Have any of you had any issues with using a scanned receipt to make a return or for any other purpose? Seems to me that there are basically two reasons for keeping receipts: (1) for taxes, and (2) as proof of purchase to make a return or warranty claim sometime down the road. Am I missing a 3rd reason? I was wondering if anyone has used a scanned and reprinted receipt for the second purpose? Do stores care?

Also how do you scan receipts in batches and save them as a single document (i.e. receipts for Jan 2015) or do you scan and save each receipt individually with a unique file name?

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neurosphere
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by neurosphere » Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:00 am

texasdiver wrote: Also how do you scan receipts in batches and save them as a single document (i.e. receipts for Jan 2015) or do you scan and save each receipt individually with a unique file name?
In my case, both my personal transactions and business transactions are listed individually in quicken. So I tend to scan the receipts in batches with a label such as "January 2015 personal receipts". If I ever need to find a particular receipt, Quicken tells me the folder to find it in, and it will among 2-10 or so receipts. This works for me.

Another shortcut is to have one folder/file for all related documents. For example, I have a folder for "2014 received tax docs". I know that it contains any W2, 1099, or other "official" form received from a financial institution related to the 2014 tax year. I know the specific folder to find my Vanguard Brokerage 2010 1099-B, for example. I can easily browse one file which contains many forms to find exactly what I'm looking for, or open 10 individual files if I've scanned them individually with "random" file names, i.e. the time-date stamp assigned by the scanner. I don't necessarily feel the need to scan each item individually and call it "Taxi cab ride from home to the airport Jan 17 2014 for the Philadelphia annual meeting $43.25" Although, I was doing that for a while and it was tedious so I stopped. :D

lightheir
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by lightheir » Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:09 pm

texasdiver wrote:Regarding receipts.

Have any of you had any issues with using a scanned receipt to make a return or for any other purpose? Seems to me that there are basically two reasons for keeping receipts: (1) for taxes, and (2) as proof of purchase to make a return or warranty claim sometime down the road. Am I missing a 3rd reason? I was wondering if anyone has used a scanned and reprinted receipt for the second purpose? Do stores care?

Also how do you scan receipts in batches and save them as a single document (i.e. receipts for Jan 2015) or do you scan and save each receipt individually with a unique file name?
I've never had a problem with a scanned receipt. I even used a scanned (downloaded) energy bill to register my kid for kindergarten no problem. The bank mortgage underwriters also were 100% fine with all scanned or pdf'd documents in their reviews. Stores never care. I've had several electronics warrantees honored with them.

I actually do NOT scan receipts for the most part, as I try and order things that I might return on Amazon where there's already a clear automatic paper tail, so I can't provide info on the best way to file receipts. I do keep tax-related receipts (I don't have too many of them) and stick them in a folder called "Tax Receipts" in my document file and then don't look at it again until its filing time.

Leesbro63
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Leesbro63 » Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:16 pm

texasdiver wrote:Why are you guys not using cloud storage at least as a secondary backup?

I use CrashPlan to backup all the computers in my house. But I also use DropBox to store all of my important financial records which actually automatically creates 4 hard drive backups plus the cloud backup. I have Dropbox running on 4 computers so my files are synced on all 4 hard drives in addition to being stored in the cloud. It would be hard to imagine how I could have all of them fail on me as 2 computers are at home and two are in my. office.

I also make backups of my work files to two different external hard drives mainly because I have too many files to fit onto dropbox (lots of large video files).
Be careful with Dropbox. It's not really a backup. If, for some reason, files get deleted, Dropbox will "sync" that delete everywhere. And I assume if a file gets infected with a virus, that can sync too. Yeah, there are "prior versions" of files available from Dropbox, but they are not in the same order that you're used to and a nightmare if you have to retrieve them.

Ninegrams
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Ninegrams » Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:56 pm

texasdiver wrote:Why are you guys not using cloud storage at least as a secondary backup?

Despite encrypting my critical files, I have reservations about using unknown cloud companies to host that data. Maybe it's an unwarranted concern, but it's mine. I keep a rotation of DVDs to my SD box, USB sticks to my woodshed, and I carry a USB stick on my keychain. Good enough for my purposes.

crg11
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by crg11 » Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:02 pm

Ninegrams wrote:
texasdiver wrote:Why are you guys not using cloud storage at least as a secondary backup?
Despite encrypting my critical files, I have reservations about using unknown cloud companies to host that data. Maybe it's an unwarranted concern, but it's mine. I keep a rotation of DVDs to my SD box, USB sticks to my woodshed, and I carry a USB stick on my keychain. Good enough for my purposes.
The downside of your method is none of those DVDs, USB sticks, etc are going to be 100% up to date since they aren't constantly attached to your computer and backing up data. All it takes is a mistake where you miss a backup.

If you use Backblaze, they offer the ability to encrypt your backups using your own private passphrase. No one, not them or even you, can access the backups without that private passphrase. https://www.backblaze.com/backup-encryption.html

TP81
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by TP81 » Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:44 pm

The main reason for not using cloud storage for us is security. It just makes me a little uneasy having personal information stored on a server somewhere. It seems nothing is secure today.

I like the sound of crash plan and backblaze though. I will be checking them out.

lightheir
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by lightheir » Sat Feb 07, 2015 3:04 pm

TP81 wrote:The main reason for not using cloud storage for us is security. It just makes me a little uneasy having personal information stored on a server somewhere. It seems nothing is secure today.

I like the sound of crash plan and backblaze though. I will be checking them out.
I think it's not as bad securitywise as you think for personal files. Criminals aren't looking to steal all your files to go through the laborious process of impersonating you - but they DO want your bank accounts, credit card numbers, and other things that they can quickly use for purchases and cash. Unfortuantely, you have very little control over these things - your banks already store most of your critical data in the cloud, like it or not. (And unfortunately, those do get hacked.) I do take the precaution of not storing sensitive things like my Keepass file on the cloud.

texasdiver
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by texasdiver » Sat Feb 07, 2015 3:54 pm

Leesbro63 wrote:
texasdiver wrote:Why are you guys not using cloud storage at least as a secondary backup?

I use CrashPlan to backup all the computers in my house. But I also use DropBox to store all of my important financial records which actually automatically creates 4 hard drive backups plus the cloud backup. I have Dropbox running on 4 computers so my files are synced on all 4 hard drives in addition to being stored in the cloud. It would be hard to imagine how I could have all of them fail on me as 2 computers are at home and two are in my. office.

I also make backups of my work files to two different external hard drives mainly because I have too many files to fit onto dropbox (lots of large video files).
Be careful with Dropbox. It's not really a backup. If, for some reason, files get deleted, Dropbox will "sync" that delete everywhere. And I assume if a file gets infected with a virus, that can sync too. Yeah, there are "prior versions" of files available from Dropbox, but they are not in the same order that you're used to and a nightmare if you have to retrieve them.
It is my 3rd backup.

I keep primary backups of my important files on two external hard drives
I use CrashPlan as a secondary backup in case theft, fire, tornado, etc. destroys my house or at least my computer and external hard drives. We have the family plan so it backs up all 4 computers we have in the house
I use dropbox as a third backup and place to store files that I might want to access remotely on short notice because I can get to it on my mobile devices or from any PC. I also use it for all my work files (I'm a teacher so no big security issues) because it syncs automatically between home and work
I use google and iCloud for photo backups (although they are also backed up by Crash Plan.

As for being worried about security on the cloud. I'm not really. I use long complicated passwords stored in Lastpass for all my cloud accounts. And I'm not that interesting enough of a person for someone to spend a great deal of time trying to hack. Assets are pretty much all in retirement accounts with Vanguard with no online redemption options available. My understanding is that the pro hackers really target big corporations where they can steal millions of IDs at a time so that they can sell them in bulk. Super high net work individuals and celebs could also be direct targets. But the ordinary joe who's storing costco receipts and credit card statements on the cloud? Not so much if at all. What would be the point? Probably just much easier to break into someone's house to steal their paper files if that's what you wanted. I hear about data breaches all the time at big corporations but I never hear about someone getting their dropbox hacked.

Ninegrams
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Ninegrams » Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:15 pm

crg11 wrote:
Ninegrams wrote:
texasdiver wrote:Why are you guys not using cloud storage at least as a secondary backup?
Despite encrypting my critical files, I have reservations about using unknown cloud companies to host that data. Maybe it's an unwarranted concern, but it's mine. I keep a rotation of DVDs to my SD box, USB sticks to my woodshed, and I carry a USB stick on my keychain. Good enough for my purposes.
The downside of your method is none of those DVDs, USB sticks, etc are going to be 100% up to date since they aren't constantly attached to your computer and backing up data. All it takes is a mistake where you miss a backup.

If you use Backblaze, they offer the ability to encrypt your backups using your own private passphrase. No one, not them or even you, can access the backups without that private passphrase. https://www.backblaze.com/backup-encryption.html
I have a daily backup run via Syncback free to an attached second drive. My data isn't so time critical to where the loss of a day( or two ) of work will set me back significantly, annoying but hardly life changing. So, I don't need raid or the cloud hanging around to do instantaneous backups, and I would wager most people unless maybe they're running a business out of their home perhaps. In any event, you don't need the cloud to do instantaneous/continuous backups if that is your need.

texasdiver
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by texasdiver » Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:36 pm

Ninegrams wrote:
crg11 wrote:
Ninegrams wrote:
texasdiver wrote:Why are you guys not using cloud storage at least as a secondary backup?
Despite encrypting my critical files, I have reservations about using unknown cloud companies to host that data. Maybe it's an unwarranted concern, but it's mine. I keep a rotation of DVDs to my SD box, USB sticks to my woodshed, and I carry a USB stick on my keychain. Good enough for my purposes.
The downside of your method is none of those DVDs, USB sticks, etc are going to be 100% up to date since they aren't constantly attached to your computer and backing up data. All it takes is a mistake where you miss a backup.

If you use Backblaze, they offer the ability to encrypt your backups using your own private passphrase. No one, not them or even you, can access the backups without that private passphrase. https://www.backblaze.com/backup-encryption.html
I have a daily backup run via Syncback free to an attached second drive. My data isn't so time critical to where the loss of a day( or two ) of work will set me back significantly, annoying but hardly life changing. So, I don't need raid or the cloud hanging around to do instantaneous backups, and I would wager most people unless maybe they're running a business out of their home perhaps. In any event, you don't need the cloud to do instantaneous/continuous backups if that is your need.
What will you do if you have a house fire or come home some day to find your home burgled and your computer and drives gone?

I don't do cloud backups for the instantaneous thing, but because I want to be sure that 20 years of family photos, movies, documents, and records don't vanish on me because of a fire, tornado, or burglary.

Ninegrams
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Ninegrams » Sat Feb 07, 2015 8:55 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Ninegrams wrote:
crg11 wrote:
Ninegrams wrote:
texasdiver wrote:Why are you guys not using cloud storage at least as a secondary backup?
Despite encrypting my critical files, I have reservations about using unknown cloud companies to host that data. Maybe it's an unwarranted concern, but it's mine. I keep a rotation of DVDs to my SD box, USB sticks to my woodshed, and I carry a USB stick on my keychain. Good enough for my purposes.
The downside of your method is none of those DVDs, USB sticks, etc are going to be 100% up to date since they aren't constantly attached to your computer and backing up data. All it takes is a mistake where you miss a backup.

If you use Backblaze, they offer the ability to encrypt your backups using your own private passphrase. No one, not them or even you, can access the backups without that private passphrase. https://www.backblaze.com/backup-encryption.html
I have a daily backup run via Syncback free to an attached second drive. My data isn't so time critical to where the loss of a day( or two ) of work will set me back significantly, annoying but hardly life changing. So, I don't need raid or the cloud hanging around to do instantaneous backups, and I would wager most people unless maybe they're running a business out of their home perhaps. In any event, you don't need the cloud to do instantaneous/continuous backups if that is your need.
What will you do if you have a house fire or come home some day to find your home burgled and your computer and drives gone?

I don't do cloud backups for the instantaneous thing, but because I want to be sure that 20 years of family photos, movies, documents, and records don't vanish on me because of a fire, tornado, or burglary.
Why would 20 years of stuff disappear in case of fire, flood, etc. because I don't backup to the cloud? What did everyone do before cloud backups? The same thing I do today, which is backup to storage media and put offsite ( my person, another building, safe deposit box,etc. ). I feel more comfortable doing that time tested solution then depending on a company that I do not know from Adam. Personal choice.

obgraham
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by obgraham » Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:01 pm

As to how to save your files: you have to decide what you might need to retrieve. Yesterday's groceries and lunch receipt don't fall into that group for me. I simply store stuff in a few subdirectories. "Receipts and instructions" for anything I might need to prove I bought. "Cash2015" for this year's bills. "Tax2014" for tax relevant stuff. Etc. And I actually have a directory called "Filing Cabinet", with names for stuff that I would have previously stuck in a folder in a file drawer.
I guarantee I can find a scanned/downloaded document in less than 30 seconds. Much faster than the old paper days.

I'm with the "non-cloud" bunch here, too. But to each their own.

reason-logic
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by reason-logic » Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:13 am

I am completely paperless.

I used Neatconnect wi-fi scanner and the Neat.com cloud storage that also links to Dropbox.

www.neat.com

Never had a problem.

Leesbro63
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Leesbro63 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:36 am

Ninegrams wrote: Why would 20 years of stuff disappear in case of fire, flood, etc. because I don't backup to the cloud? What did everyone do before cloud backups? The same thing I do today, which is backup to storage media and put offsite ( my person, another building, safe deposit box,etc. ). I feel more comfortable doing that time tested solution then depending on a company that I do not know from Adam. Personal choice.
Actually, going digital is much safer (if you use backups) for that very reason. In the olden days, stuff was stored in a file cabinet and that was it. There was no backup...in a fire or flood the stuff was gone. With digital documents, you can have multiple backups. The only "problem" with being paperless vs the old way is making sure that you actually do regular backups.

Ninegrams
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Ninegrams » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:48 am

Leesbro63 wrote:
Ninegrams wrote: Why would 20 years of stuff disappear in case of fire, flood, etc. because I don't backup to the cloud? What did everyone do before cloud backups? The same thing I do today, which is backup to storage media and put offsite ( my person, another building, safe deposit box,etc. ). I feel more comfortable doing that time tested solution then depending on a company that I do not know from Adam. Personal choice.
Actually, going digital is much safer (if you use backups) for that very reason. In the olden days, stuff was stored in a file cabinet and that was it. There was no backup...in a fire or flood the stuff was gone. With digital documents, you can have multiple backups. The only "problem" with being paperless vs the old way is making sure that you actually do regular backups.
I agree it's safer, at least in theory, which is why I scan virtually every paper document into digital format, and backup daily( less often to off site media). When I do a significant amount of work in a session ( say taxes ), I immediately backup to my key-chain drive for extra safety. There is always the risk that you can't restore from it for some reason, so keeping a few choice documents( deed to house,etc.) in a safe deposit box is a good practice. I avoid backup solutions that store files in a proprietary format of any kind. My feeling is that many of those who backup to the cloud come to rely on it to the point where it becomes their sole backup or at the least they become less diligent at backing up to their own media. That's fine as long as that file on that cloud provider is available for the day they need that restore. Cloud backups aren't without risk.

lightheir
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by lightheir » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:03 pm

Just one tip for those making the dive to paperless-

When you start, make it a point to discard/shred immediately the documents you scanned. This is a big deal.

You will initially want to keep the paper copy 'just in case', I guarantee. I did that as well. What will happen is that you will cling to those paper files, and after you accumulate about 30-40 scanned/paper copies, you'll completely lose track of which ones were scanned and which ones were not, and as a result, you'll probably just go back to your old paper system.

It was a big scary at first to immediately eliminate any paper I'd scanned, but now it's the #1 anticlutter tool I have for files. Scan, eliminate.

DoubleClick
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by DoubleClick » Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:47 pm

I have the Canon MX series all-in-one. The MX922 costs $100 on amazon currently. It has an ADF (automatic document feeder) including duplex, and of course, uses wifi. Setup was a snap, and the whole system has worked out great so far.

I went fully paperless (apart from a handful of required paper originals) about 7 years ago, and it's been great. I just put a "to-be-scanned" pile right on top of the scanner, and whenever that looks like it's a lot, I spend a few minutes scanning, naming files, and putting them in the appropriate directory. I also immediately sync to my backup (another local computer), and later to the offsite.

One tip to keep in mind is to remember to scan only what's truly necessary. Else, it's easy to build up a huge online trash pile. That's still better than a physical trash pile, but it still does make things more difficult.

stan1
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by stan1 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:14 pm

+1 on the Fujitsu (not Fuji) ScanSnap scanner. It is expensive but it is worth every penny for scanning large volumes of documents as well as single sheets once you've worked through the backlog. It is much smaller than a bed scanner and is transportable if you need to move it occasionally. However, it is not the best choice for photos (you'll want a bed scanner for that). I use the scanning software that comes with the ScanSnap.

More important than the scanner is the software because once you get past the backlog you should be finding that most of what you want to keep is already digital. For organization I use Evernote for some things and a directory structure for other things. For example, I have tax records laid out in a folder by year because Turbo Tax works off a directory structure. There is also now a bundled Evernote/Scansnap software/hardware solution you can buy -- but I don't have that.

I actually scan very little. I no longer subscribe to any magazines or newspapers so I clip things I want to save directly from websites into Evernote. Financial statements are downloaded not scanned. The main thing I seem to scan these days are receipts for my work travel voucher (they don't have a smartphone based photo system yet).

I also very strongly advocate avoiding the tendency to become a digital pack rat/hoarder. A lot of information can be found through search on the internet. Unless you are doing academic-level research/writing I would think strongly about keeping personal copies a lot of information.

lightheir
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by lightheir » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:16 pm

I actually disagree with the 'scan pack rat' problem mentality.

As long as you are ORGANIZED about it, feel free to scan away. The limiting factor will be the volume/time spent scanning, not the actual space or clutter in your archival system.

One of the greatest strengths of the scanner is that you can have copies of papers that you think "might only be important in <10% of the future, but what if?" and not worry at all about space or physical clutter. Again, if you're organized and keep your very important files in a separate directory from these 'meh, barely important' files, they won't overlap. I have never had an issue with finding my important files, and I scan liberally.

When in doubt, scan it, it how I see it. I only don't if it's too laborious to do so. (I consider non-tax related misc receipts in this category).

obgraham
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by obgraham » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:20 pm

I also very strongly advocate avoiding the tendency to become a digital pack rat/hoarder
I plead guilty. (Like the poster just below!)
I like my digital brain. Have you ever tried to search a site like Facebook for "something I read a couple of months ago"? I prefer to scan/clip something I like right away. And lots of web-stuff disappears within a fairly short time.

As I've said, stashing that clip in a place where you can easily locate it is the key.

stan1
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by stan1 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:33 pm

obgraham wrote:
I also very strongly advocate avoiding the tendency to become a digital pack rat/hoarder
I plead guilty. (Like the poster just below!)
I like my digital brain. Have you ever tried to search a site like Facebook for "something I read a couple of months ago"? I prefer to scan/clip something I like right away. And lots of web-stuff disappears within a fairly short time.

As I've said, stashing that clip in a place where you can easily locate it is the key.
I'm more of a minimalist (higher quality, lower volume) with physical and digital possessions. At least with digital content one's heirs won't need to hold an estate sale and bring in a dumpster prior to putting a house up for sale. I'm sensitive to that having spent months cleaning out the lifetime accumulations of my grandparents and mother. My mom was a school teacher and for much of her life she organized, cataloged, and indexed all of her belongings. She had hundreds of recipes typed up on index cards that she never cooked. I've stopped taking photos when I travel (unless I'm feeling artistic and then I'm looking for a special shot).

I can honestly say I've never needed to find something on Facebook or Twitter that I read a couple months prior. I do occasionally save items from the Web or Feedly to Evernote (I use Twitter for headlines and Feedly for articles). Stuff does disappear from the web but there's also new content that's updated. Again, if I had an interest in something like medical research or was writing a scholarly paper I'd want to keep better records in that area -- but if I'm a consumer/hobbyist I'll generally just search again.

Leesbro63
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by Leesbro63 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:30 pm

Yup. Cleaning out one's stuff after a death should be a requirement for graduation from high school or something. It makes you realize how trivial your stuff is to someone else. Even photos...I have stuff from the early 1900s from my great grandparents. Other then a few nicely posed shots of them, most of the rest is people who are unknown. I recently settled the small estate of an elderly relative with no children, I scanned all the photos....I'm not sure why except that there weren't that many...and destroyed the originals. I'm sure my kids would have just pitched them when I'm gone. Digitizing them at least keeps the images alive during my lifetime at no cost/space just in case. But it's made me aware of how little my kids will want/need and to only save stuff that I will need during my lifetime.

nordsteve
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by nordsteve » Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:35 pm

I'm another happy ScanSnap owner.

I scan all of the PDFs into one folder, and then do a background OCR run on the whole folder. When they're done OCRing, I move them to a separate "permanent archive" folder that is a) on OneDrive and b) periodically copied to my in-house server. Once they're copied over, the scanned documents go in my "shred" pile.

I do nothing to organize the files -- they get their default file names from the scanning process. I find everything by search.

Saves a bunch of time compared to paper files.

TravelforFun
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by TravelforFun » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:49 pm

This is what I have done:

1) Gotten a good quality multi-page scanner and scanned and filed all important documents
2) Downloaded and saved statements from financial firms, insurance companies, utility companies, etc...
3) Downloaded owners' manuals from manufacturers and thrown out hard copy manuals
4) Scanned, cataloged and files all pictures; and thrown away tons of old photo albums
5) Maintained adobe files of tax returns
6) Made a backup copies of all files above.

Technology is awesome!
Last edited by TravelforFun on Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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corner559
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by corner559 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:17 pm

I use an app on my iPhone called "TurboScan" which I use to scan all my paperwork. I actually could not have closed the sale of my property in the US without this app. I was able to scan all my paperwork and have it sent back to the US. Copies are kept on my phone and backed up on my external hard drive when I sync my phone with my computer. Then, my external hd is backed up to the cloud. No bulky scanner is necessary. TurboScan does exactly as advertised (sorry this sounds like a plug).

davebo
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Re: Paperless Office?

Post by davebo » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:55 pm

I have the Fujitsu Scansnap and use it with Evernote to keep everything organized. I wouldn't say that I'm totally there, but it's helped me to purge a lot of the stuff that I used to keep around.

TP81
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Location: Delaware

Re: Paperless Office?

Post by TP81 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:19 am

Awesome stuff here.

I checked out Backblaze for backup. 1 question I have... If I put the documents on an external hard drive and delete it from my computer will Backblaze delete the document after 30 days if I continue to back up the HD along with my computer?
I am hoping to use the HD as extra storage. Is this possible? I just don't want to overload the storage on my computer with receipts, manuals, etc.

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