Cloud-Based Document Management: The Complete Guide

Cloud-Based Document Management: The Complete Guide

In November 1860, Pony Express riders delivered the news that Abraham Lincoln had won his election to become president of the United States. The journey from Nebraska to California took 5 days and was, at the time, a record speed.

Today, you can make the drive in less than a day, but you can move documents even faster: once you’ve uploaded a document to the cloud, you can access it nearly instantly from Nebraska, California, or any other location with an internet connection.

Cloud-based storage (including cloud-based document management) is radically changing the way organizations and individuals approach communication. With the ability to send information anywhere in the world within seconds, cloud-based document management software is leading the charge toward a more connected, more productive world.

Key Takeaways:

  • Document management has moved digital and is now moving cloud-based.
  • Cloud-based document management is more secure, affordable, and efficient than traditional solutions.
  • FileCenter gives you the tools to master document management both in and out of the cloud.

Document Management Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Historically, “document manager” was a job title — it was a person’s (or group of people’s) job to manage documents by sorting files in file cabinet drawers, restricting access to documents, making copies, and keeping documents secure. With a traditional paper-based system, document management was unreliable, frustrating, and costly.

Today, cloud-based document management software has taken over as the new default way for companies to manage documentation.

Document management software stores documents digitally, which has several important advantages over the traditional paper system: unlike paper documents, digital documents are sortable, searchable, editable, and convertible.

Most companies use a combination of on-premise and cloud-based storage
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Most companies today use a hybrid of both traditional document management and document management software. While this helpful software has several key benefits and savings compared to traditional storage, many companies still have a few activities that require paper and ink. For example, some companies must “wet sign” certain contracts or may require paper procedures for activities that don’t involve computers. 

Many companies are still catching up with document management software and are gradually working to go paperless. Major companies like Bank of America have already reduced their paper consumption by 32%, and many smaller businesses are following suit.

In the future, more and more companies will move from traditional document management to cloud-based document management software in order to take advantage of the lower costs, higher performance, and increased functionality of this tech-enabled frontier.

What’s Unique About Cloud-Based Document Management?

The advent of the internet is likely the single largest revolution in the history of business. The internet has changed the way we communicate, the way we shop, the way we work, and it’s also changed the way we manage documents.

When a document management system is “cloud-based,” your documents are stored on the hard disks of a server rather than the hard drive of your computer. This has several unique benefits for your organization:

Access Your Documents Online

Cloud-based documents are available anywhere with an internet connection. Paper documents only exist in one location, and while digital documents afford you more flexibility because you can copy, edit, and move them, cloud-based document management truly revolutionizes document management. As the number of people working from home tripled from 2019 to 2021, remote accessibility is more important today than ever.

Use Safer Storage

Cloud-based document management is more secure than on-premise storage. While many people associate the internet with malware and viruses, cloud-based storage is actually safer for several reasons. One of the ways cloud-based storage can keep you safe is because it outsources security to the cloud provider rather than your own internal staff. One of the main security benefits of cloud-based document management is that it allows you to better segment your network so hackers can’t exploit a vulnerability in one segment to access data in another.

Reduce Storage Costs

Finally, cloud-based document management can lead to significant cost savings. As opposed to in-house storage servers, cloud storage can reduce your storage costs by as much as 87%. Since cloud-based document management stores your files on the cloud rather than on local servers or hard drives, you aren’t paying for the overhead like utilities and labor to keep your storage secure and functional.

Efficiency, cost savings, and availability are all reasons that many companies are turning to cloud-based document management
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Challenges of Cloud-Based Document Management

Cloud-based document management is at the forefront of the industry, but it also has weaknesses.


While cloud-based storage is still safer than on-premise storage, cloud storage has its own unique security concerns. In fact, 79% of companies have experienced a cloud data breach in the last 18 months, but despite knowing this risk, less than half of all companies evaluate their cloud security posture more than once a month. While cloud storage saves overhead and labor costs, it comes with a loss of control as companies have to trust their cloud provider with certain elements of their security.


Regulation like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) requires companies to follow certain rules for what kinds of data they retain and how they store it. While some cloud vendors are SOX-compliant “out of the box,” other solutions require additional input to stay compliant.

Lack of Experience

Paper has been around for about 2,000 years, while cloud computing has been around for less than a century and has been a mainstream document management solution for only a few decades. As such, many decision-makers are still uncomfortable trusting their documents to a cloud provider.


While cloud-based document management solutions are generally reliable and secure, companies are still reliant on the performance of the cloud provider to access their documents. In the event of an outage, users won’t be able to access their documents without an internet connection, which is a significant roadblock for most businesses.

Document Management with FileCenter

Technology has moved in leaps and bounds over the last few decades, and the business world has run to catch up with it. Cloud-based document management is just one such way that business practices have changed for the better in recent years.

FileCenter is a robust document management software that offers full cloud integration with popular services like Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive while also giving you the flexibility of managing documents stored on your local computer.

Rather than struggling against technology, let technology work on your behalf by simplifying your storage process, giving you access to additional features like OCR and format conversion, and keeping you secure and productive at an affordable price.

To learn how FileCenter can help you manage your documents both in and out of the cloud, contact us today to get started.