Advantages & Disadvantages of Traditional File Organization

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Many small business owners don't need elaborate filing systems.
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Traditional file organization refers to an approach to organizing computer-based or electronic files. Prior to computer databases, many businesses simply organized files by creating folder structures and placed documents and files into folders based on category or type. This method has given way to database systems in many cases. However, traditional filing is sometimes advantageous if you have a relatively small number of files.


Simple to Use

The traditional filing system is very simple to set up and use, assuming the number of files you maintain is small. If you have five basic categories of documents and a limited number of files in each, for instance, you don't need a database system to easily store, maintain and retrieve your files. You also don't have to worry about learning a software system and training employees to use it.

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Minimal Investment

If you're using a traditional filing system, you also don't have to make an investment in a software database that may include an upfront purchase and ongoing licensing fees. Naturally, you need a computer, which is fairly commonplace in business whether you store files or not. Your basic file structure is maintained right in your computer's hard drive. Alternatively, you can purchase a very inexpensive external hard drive that allows you to transport files from one computer to another.


Poor Data Integration

A major deficiency of the traditional filing system is that it doesn't enable cross-file data integration or data sharing. With a software-based filing system, you can maintain various folders but you can cross-match searches to retrieve documents in multiple files. Additionally, you can enable multiple employees to search through shared data files. This integration reduces time to search through all individual files, a benefit that's especially important if you maintain a large amount of files or have a large client base.



Duplication and Lack of Security

You also risk duplication of data if you don't integrate your files through a database. In a traditional system, your computer doesn't recognize that you create similar documents and store them in different file locations. Additionally, your traditional filing system doesn't offer nearly the level of security that a carefully crafted database filing system does. Encrypted data and current security are key features as company's regularly develop enhanced database systems.



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