Affordable Online Data Storage

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My firm uses Dropbox for storing our files online, and I love it. If you want to have a paperless (and mobile) office, I highly recommend using Dropbox. If you elect to go paperless, you also need to invest in a solid scanner, like the Fujitsu ScanSnap s1500. Dropbox costs $9.99 a month for 50 gigs of storage, and a ScanSnap will run about $420, depending on where you buy it.

There is another option though. OfficeDrop is a new service that basically handles all the scanning for you. You can either upload documents and email them, or send them via snail mail. OfficeDrop will then scan the documents, create searchable PDFs, and store them online. You can organize files however you like, and also grant certain people access to various files. For an extra fee, OfficeDrop will also securely shred any documents you send. Click here to view the various pricing options.

If you have the money, and need the time, OfficeDrop looks like a nice service. Rather then spending your time scanning, labeling, and shredding, they will do it for you. Other then that, I see a number of problems with using this service for legal work.

One, it is not incredibly affordable, at least compared to the alternative of Dropbox and self-scanning. OfficeDrop has limits on the number of envelopes you mail each month, and limits on the number of sheets per envelope. Unless, of course, you want to pay more then the most expensive plan of $59.95 per month. There are also limits on the number of pages they will store online.

Two, what happens when you need to access the documents, but they are in transit to OfficeDrop? I suppose you could scan them yourself, and then email them to OfficeDrop, but that is not efficient.

Three, OfficeDrop uses OCR to make all the text searchable, which is really nice. But, the ScanSnap can do the same thing. Our firm generally does not do it because it takes time. But once you have a PDF, you can also have Acrobat OCR the document, if you really need to search it.

(photo: sgroi)

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  • Greta Kirkland

    When Hurricane Ike hit, I had a backup of our files on an external hard drive here with me. After the storm, with no power for almost three weeks, I was able to get back up with my laptop, an air card and my car battery until I gained access to a generator. I now have an additional backup on Dropbox, so I could access our files from anywhere should something happen. Dropbox is seamless and I haven’t had any issues with it. And I used it to upload our files to my new computer, which made that process much easier.

  • Healy Jones

    Randall,

    Thanks for taking the time to write about OfficeDrop! We’ve definitely had interest from law firms in paper intensive areas like litigation. But our service is not for everyone. I hear your point that there will be some firms for whom our solution does not make sense. In particular, firms with a lot of spare time, not a lot of paper, or people who do not really value their time will probably find self-scanning to be a better solution. We’ve gotten the most traction recently with firms that have a hundred thousand to several million pages that they need scanned and converted to text searchable PDFs. If you only have a document or two a week you need digitized then self-scanning is the solution we typically recommend.

    Additionally, our visual search and cloud-based OCR has won a number of awards for making paper-based information more easily accessible. ScanSnap’s OCR is good, but as you mention it does take a lot of compute effort (thus time) to work. But if you are only OCRing the occasional document and don’t need search it is likely to be the best solution for you.

    Finally, DropBox is a great service. I use it for my active files, whereas OfficeDrop is more of an “active archive” for files I know I’ll probably need eventually and that I want to be able to search for from anywhere.

    Healy Jones,
    Head of Marketing, OfficeDrop