Is Transferring Documents Digitally Safer Than Physically?

Millions of documents, records, data and information that used to be produced and stored physically is now being transferred and kept online. More and more processes are being digitalized in an effort to make access to such huge amounts of information a lot easier, quicker and accessible, while reducing paper usage. However, is the transfer and storage of digital documents finally at a place where it is safer than physically looking after and handing over such information?

Human Error

What is often seen as a big advantage for any automated or digital process is that it cuts out the risk of human error ruining proceedings. When it comes to sensitive and private documents, there is always a risk of humans losing or accidentally damaging them, such as when a civil servant left secret al-Qaida intelligence files on a train.

Digital storage and transfers in theory reduce the risk of this happening, as only those authorised should have access to them and be able to send them back and forth. However, as it will be humans accessing such documents, an element of risk does remain in the event of transferring these sensitive documents to the wrong people or accidentally deleting them.

The Hacking Threat

Physical theft or an accident is always a threat when physically sending documents, yet hacking remains a growing risk to the transfer of documents online. With everything from bank details to medical records at the risk of hacking, this can suggest that digital transfers aren’t always the safest option.

Yet online security is constantly being developed and updated to deal with online hacking threats, getting ever more sophisticated. While physical documents cannot be hacked, they can go missing when sent through the post or become victim to theft, vehicle accidents such as a fire and destroyed.

Options Available

Email will likely be the main method of digital transfer most people use. This is free, quick and easy and most of the time safe, though there have been instances of email hackings in recent years, so for the most important documents it can be advisable to seek out alternative methods.

For truly sensitive reports, records and documents using a professional business courier service may cost a little extra but provides a better safety guarantee. There is no risk of hacking and deliveries can be tracked in some cases, meaning that if something does go missing there is accountability.

Overall, there are positives and negatives to transferring documents both digitally and physically. Once the main issues surrounding digital transfers are significantly reduced though, it will likely be the main method used by most individuals and businesses.

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