When a national restaurant chain became overwhelmed by managing paper records ranging from receipts to payroll, it turned to a cloud-based archiving service provider to digitally scan and retain the documents.
The project of digitizing paper records for Baja Fresh is still in its early stages, according to its human resources director John Waldo. The restaurant chain just signed a five-year contract with Casdex Inc., whose technicians are on site scanning in about 25,000 to 35,000 pages per day from stacks of document boxes that were taking up rented warehouse and office space.
When the scanning is finished, Baja Fresh will have between 13 TB and 16 TB of data stored with Casdex, Waldo estimated. It will take years to get through the backlog. The files will also be classified according to details, such as store location, date and accounts payable, and an index will be created for later retrieval.
"In addition to the costs of maintaining storage space, with paper there are hidden costs of retrieval," Waldo added. Those costs include taking staff time to go and pull a file, or paying warehouse or storage area staff to help find that file. "Retrieval has become overwhelming," he said, a bad idea in an era of increasing data compliance regulations.
Casdex has developed a cloud-based storage archiving service with a compliance focus and offers features, such as redundant fingerprinting (using two different hashing mechanisms) during transfer and ongoing reindexing of data to ensure chain of custody. The service also collects an audit trail of those fingerprints and allows for granular, multidimensional retention periods, as well as legal hold. The service was launched last February.
One concern about the cloud is its ability to provide security for documents that contain sensitive private data. Waldo said he feels safe because Casdex offers encrypted channels and SSL for transmission to its cloud. It stores data on the back end behind biometric physical security and stripes it between multiple devices. As a result, no one disk contains an entire file.
Baja Fresh has about 300 restaurants in addition to its headquarters, which is located in California. The six IT administrators on staff are split between supporting franchise locations and everyday office functions, such as file and print services, and break/fix.
A cloud-based service was the best way to keep costs down while creating a digital archive and an off-site disaster recovery plan, Waldo said. "If we were going to do this -- the additional servers, programming to set it up, run and maintain -- it would've had to be done by somebody," he said. "Overall, services just made sense to us."
The next step for Baja Fresh is a new digital workflow process that will access data from Casdex's cloud through a Web browser. That project is planned to begin around next April, Waldo said. "It's hitting that 'phase two' that will make such a difference for us."