Common data breaches and how to prevent them

Scan Film or Store data breach blog postThe world has more information in it than ever before. A lot of it is fairly mundane – train timetables and Pink Floyd lyrics and what Sarah had for lunch on Thursday (thanks so much, Instagram). But there is also a lot of highly sensitive information, ranging from individuals’ address details through to launch codes that could destroy the planet.

Getting hold of this information is something the criminal element apply an awful lot of time and energy to. So we thought we’d look at some common ways you might be targeted – and the relatively simple steps to reduce the risk of being subject to a data breach.

Getting hacked because you haven’t put the necessary cyber protection in place

Antivirus? Check. Secure passwords with numbers and symbols and capital letters? Check. Memo to staff to not click on dodgy links that promise lottery wins and unlikely tax rebates? Check. Um…. next?

Protecting your organisation against a cyber attack is a complex process. We know, because we recently got certification under the Cyber Essentials Scheme and it was a heck of a lot of work proving that we really are as secure as we can be. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean we can help you prevent an internal breach but at least you know that if you entrust us with your data, it will be as safe as it is possible to be.

Leaving a bag of top secret government papers on the train

Yes, we know what you’re going to say – no one would be that stupid! But it’s happened in real life as well as fiction. Many data breaches happen as a result of human error so training is essential, as is putting processes in place that reduce the likelihood of documents falling into the wrong hands. In our case, we’re certified to BS10008:2014 standards, which are the same ones used by police when transporting evidence in a case so they can say for certain that it hasn’t been tampered with.

Having customer information nabbed out of the bins behind the office

Chucking confidential documents in the bin is not a good idea. And shredding them first isn’t good enough to prevent a security breach either. Anyone with decent eyesight and enough patience can piece those strips back together and retrieve the information they need. No, what you want is genuinely secure data destruction. We cross shred all confidential waste into confetti and then, for good measure, pulp it so there’s no chance of anyone reading it again.

Finding out your office cleaner is an international spy

No matter how good your internal checks and measures, if you’re giving any external suppliers access to your data then there’s a potential security issue. A data breach might be deliberate or accidental but the outcome is the same. Which means it’s vital that you know you can trust everyone from the office cleaner to the folks who scan your documents to help you create digital files.

Because of the nature of some of our contracts, we deal with information that is literally of national importance. Which means that not only are all our employees DBS and BS 7858 checked but we’ve also all signed the Official Secrets Act.

Getting held up as you transport documents ready for shredding

If you’ve invested a lot of time, energy and budget in creating a secure environment at your HQ then you’ll naturally be wary of creating the opportunity for a data breach by allowing classified documents off site. What if someone intercepts them? Of course, you might need them scanned or destroyed. In which case the answer is simple: get it done on site.

We’ve mobilised our operations so that if you have a high volume of scanning or destruction we can come to you. We can scan documents up to pretty much any size, cross-shred and pulp paper documents and even chip PC hard drives down to 20mm or 6mm. And you can watch the whole process, if you like that kind of thing.

If you have a concern about your data and you’d like to talk to one of our experts, get in touch today.

Is it time to move office?

Wrapped chairs - office move - scan film or storeWhere do you stand on office moves? Does the thought fill you with excitement and give you an excuse to daydream about the fun new breakout space you’re going to create and the inspirational slogans you could paint artily on the exposed brick walls?

Or does it fill you with pure dread and make you consider firing people so you can stay in the cosy little office you’ve come to think of as home?

Whatever the case, making the decision to up sticks and relocate is one you’ll need to consider carefully. Here are some signs that suggest you might want to consider looking for a new home for your team – and also a few ideas that could help you put that decision off for a while if you need to.

You have to turn sideways to get between desks

And even that isn’t working quite so well since Christmas (we blame the mince pies). If you find you’d rather phone or email your colleague across the room than run the obstacle course that is the office, then perhaps you need a bit more space to spread out.

The alternative: Or how about you just re-arrange the desks? If you’ve been growing organically over the years and just adding new desks as the team expands, you probably don’t have an especially efficient layout. While you’re shifting stuff around, consider getting standing desks. Less chairs = more space. Simples!

You haven’t been into the archive room for months

Not because you haven’t needed to find stuff, it’s just you’re afraid you might cause an avalanche and be discovered only when some other brave soul else ventures in to find the source of that nasty smell. The solution: move to a bigger office with a bigger archive room.

The alternative: You could just have a clear out. Figure out which documents need to be kept as originals and get them stored off site. Scan anything that you don’t need originals of and have those originals securely destroyed. Then use the old archive room to create that break out space! NB: Don’t make your staff do this. You need them to keep doing what they do to earn money. We can help – just call us for a free assessment of your needs.

Everyone always looks mopey on a Monday

Sure we joke about Monday blues but it doesn’t have to be a thing! Creating a positive working environment can give staff morale a huge boost. So if your office is lacking in natural light, if it’s drafty or not very easy to get to or any one of a hundred things that could make it unpleasant to work in, moving could be a very good, well, move.

The alternative: Redecorate! You’re welcome, oh daydreamer. Now’s your chance to get the spray paint and stencils out and slogan up those walls to your heart’s content. Seriously, whatever is making your current office less than enjoyable to be in, fix it. Less expensive and time consuming than a move, right?

There are just too many people to fit

You’re a close team but no one wants to be that close, right? Like close enough to hear your neighbour chewing their cheese and ham sandwich at lunch. That’s the stuff nightmares are made off. If everyone is crammed into a small space, tempers are likely to start fraying and quickly. Moving to a bigger office gives everyone their own little patch where they can work happily and efficiently without wanting to punch anyone for that annoying little sound they make when they’re concentrating.

The alternative: Get rid of a few people. Not by firing them, obviously; that would be a little drastic (and illegal). But could some of your team work from home? If a couple of people got to work from their home office each day, you’d find things less of a squash at your HQ. They’d also be most likely be much happier without the commute, the parking, the need to wear office appropriate clothing etc.

Whether you’re planning to move offices or need help making your current one more space efficient, give our team a call to see how we can help out on the document storage, document scanning or secure data destruction side of things.

Why we’re the perfect match for the engineering, manufacturing, defence and aerospace industries

Heart jigsaw puzzle - perfect matchWe don’t like to play favourites but we do seem to have attracted a lot of clients from the engineering, manufacturing, defence and aerospace industries over the years. And though we also don’t like to sound immodest, we’re not all that surprised. You see, we’re well set up to deal with their particular needs – we’ve got the security, the capacity and the right equipment.

As it’s Valentine’s Day later this week, we thought we’d write up a little dating profile, if you like, to show you we’re the perfect match for someone in the engineering, manufacturing, defence or aerospace industry.

Government approved security

We’re the kind of team who, if we’re going to do something, like to do it properly. So when we say our document storage facilities are secure, we really do mean it. In fact, we’re government approved to hold and process classified documents and data, our premises and procedures have been audited by government security advisers and all digital files are held in a special secure network to protect them from unauthorised access.

We’ve got BS 10008:2014 certification too, which is to do with “evidential weight and legal admissibility of electronic information” – kind of like the standards police have to keep when they transport evidence in criminal investigations. And our staff  have not only been vetted to BS 7858 standards but have actually signed the Official Secrets Act. Let’s face it, we’re practically spies.

Set up for working with you in-house

Of course if that still isn’t secure enough for you, then we can always come to you. Yes that’s right, we can actually up tools and move in with you for a bit, scanning and digitising your documents on your premises so that no data or paperwork ever crosses your boundaries. And remember, our staff are checked and double checked, so you need not worry about letting them past the perimeter fence.

Not your ordinary scanners

We know that if you’re in the engineering, manufacturing, defence or aerospace you haven’t just got a few sheets of A4 that you want to put through the scanner. You’ve got endless technical drawings, blueprints, not to mention procurement documents, personnel records and so on.

We’re set up for high capacity runs and we can scan up to A0 in width and pretty much any length. We’ve even scanned a tonne of 40ft aircraft drawings (although we can’t tell you who for because you don’t have clearance!).

Lots of added extras

So you know that we scan stuff and we store stuff. But that’s not all! We can also extract information from legacy documents and feed it into document management and ERP/MRP systems. We can convert analogue data into digital data and documents into microfilm or microfiche that’s guaranteed for 500 years, creating information backup systems that meet contractual obligations.

And we can securely destroy everything from paper and photographs to digital records and microfilm (which, if you didn’t know, is a really very difficult and dangerous process – microfilm has an extremely high burning point and releases dangerous chemicals so you don’t want to be looking after that yourself).

What our engineers, manufacturers, defence and aerospace clients say

Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what the procurement manager of a large West Country aerospace firm had to say about using our services:

“As one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in Europe we rely on fast, accurate access to our archive records – particularly build records and data sheets. We have used Scan Film or Store Ltd since it was established and they have always provided us with a first class service, Their prompt attention to our changing needs – from microfilm to digital scanning and document storage – has been impressive. I would recommend Scan Film or Store Ltd to any organisation that has complex or varied needs for cost-effective document management.” Ian Mitchell MCIPS, Procurement Manager

So what do you think? Ready to swipe right? (That’s a Tinder reference, by the way. Which is a dating app. Where you… never mind, it’s not that interesting). Anyway, if you think we’d be a good match for you, get in touch with the team today and we can arrange a first date!

Document storage and scanning – your FAQs answered

Document scanning and storage - your FAQs answeredDocument storage and scanning is our bread and butter, so it’s sometimes easy to forget that not everyone knows the ins and outs of it like we do. From technical jargon to the processes, we’ve got so used to it being second nature, we sometimes forget that not everything is quite as obvious to the rest of the world!

There are a few questions we get asked time and again. So we thought it would be helpful to pull them all together and answer them in a single FAQs blog post. It might seem altruistic but frankly it will save us an awful lot of time repeating ourselves!

Do I need to provide my own storage boxes?

Nope, we’ve got that covered. We’ll provide high quality boxes that won’t fall apart or weather, bring them along and even pack up all your stuff for you so you don’t have to lift a finger. We’ll also barcode the boxes so they’re easy to find in the warehouse and we can get the right file back to you whenever you need it.

How easily can I access the documents I’ve stored?

Because of the way we barcode the boxes we store, it’s super easy for us to find them at pretty much a moment’s notice. Then it’s just a case of couriering them to you wherever you are in the country, whether Bridgewater, Bristol or beyond. Or we could scan them and you can either use them in their electronic format or print them out at your end. We’re nothing if not flexible.

What security measures do you have in place to protect classified documents?

Glad you asked! We have all sorts of things in place. For a start, our purpose built storage HQ in Bridgwater is environmentally controlled, monitored and alarmed 24-7. We’ve got ISO 9001:2015 and BS10008 compliance, which means we can ensure the integrity of files from the point of collection to the point of return (kind of like when the police transport evidence). And all of our staff are DBS checked, security vetted to BS7858 standards and have signed the Official Secrets Act. We’ve even got Cyber Essentials Scheme certification! We’re basically the James Bonds of the document storage and scanning world.

Can you scan colour documents?

Sure thing – colour, greyscale or monotone (black & white to you) single or double sided. We’ll manually take out any paperclips and staples too, adding separator sheets between documents so the scanner can distinguish where one finishes and another starts. We’ll even separate any post it notes out and scan them on separate sheets of paper so you don’t end up with missing information in your digital archive.

How do you organise scanned documents so we can find everything?

We don’t like to boast but we’re really rather good at creating digital filing systems. Our scanning services include a full indexing service as well as optical character recognition (OCR) for .pdf documents, creating digital filing cabinets full of readable, searchable documents. We usually start by taking a sample of your documents and scanning those so you can get a feel for how it’s going to work – we won’t charge you for this bit, so there’s no risk. Then we’ll not only create a logical and ordered system but we’ll even train up your staff so they can use it quickly and easily.

What kind of digital files does your scanning process output?

We can produce .pdf, .pdf/a, .tif or .jpg files depending on your needs. And if you don’t know what you need, you can either have a read of this blog post on Do you know your PDF from your TIFF? or give us a call and we’ll talk you through it.

What happens to my hard copies after they’ve been scanned?

It’s up to you. We can return them to you, store them here at our purpose-built HQ in Bridgwater or we can securely destroy them. Either way we offer 30 days free storage so that you’ve got time to check through your new digital files before making any decisions.

How long do I need to keep my files for?

That’s not a question we can answer succinctly. But we have written a whole other blog post on it. Have a read of Paperwork – what to keep and what to chuck.

Why can’t I use a shredder to destroy my confidential documents?

You can. It’s just that if someone has the time and inclination they can sit down and piece the strips of shredded document together. And if we’re talking microfiche or microfilm then it’s even worse because the images they contain are so very small that they might only get chopped in half by a standard shredder. We use cross shredding to destroy paper documents and then pulp the results so that no one, not even the most cunning super villain, could extract the data from it. And we incinerate microfiche and microfilm in a specially ventilated, crazily hot incinerator (seriously, it burns at a really high temperature so you do not want to try this at home).

Can I scan old, delicate or oversized items?

You can with us. We’ve got a pretty exciting range of tech on hand to help us tackle the most specialist of jobs. For example, we have a Book Eye Pro 4 scanner which means books don’t have to be taken apart to be scanned. They don’t even have to be laid entirely flat, so the spine is protected (and the software takes out what we lovingly refer to as the ‘buttock crease’, which is useful too). And then there’s the Canon OCE large format scanner, which scans up to A0 in width and basically as long as you like. We’ve done aircraft drawings that were 40ft long! Basically we love a challenge. So, if you have an awkward item that needs scanning then let us know and we’ll do our best to help.

Have you got any other questions that we’ve not answered here? Send them over to us at info@scan-film-store.co.uk and we’ll update this post with new questions and answers so everyone can benefit.

Super simple ways to save your business money in 2019

Hands up who wants to be rich in 2019? Sorry folks, we don’t have any magic bullets nor the winning lottery numbers. No, don’t leave yet! Rather than telling you how you can get rich, we thought we’d share some tips that will help you save money. Which is pretty much the same thing, right?

Here are some of our top ways to save your business money in 2019:

1) Go flexible

The flexible working movement is going great guns at the moment as everyone from millennials to mums realise that life is a whole lot easier – and more fun – when you’re not chained to a desk from 9 to 5 (we always said Dolly Parton was way ahead of her time). It’s got huge benefits for businesses too, one of which is that it can save you money.

If there’s a function in the business that doesn’t need you to chuck a full time salary at it, go part time. Let some of your team work from home, if that’s appropriate, saving money on office space or desk rent. Taking a long term view, offering flexibility is likely to boost employee morale, wellbeing and loyalty, which means you should see staff turnover drop and therefore save money on recruitment too. Winner!

2) Outsource

It may sound a little counter intuitive to pay someone in order to save money, but think about it. Your time is not free, neither is that of your staff. You pay salaries, right? You could be out winning new contracts. There is a value to what each person on your payroll is doing. And if they’re doing stuff they’re not good at, taking twice as long as a professional and producing a shoddy end result then are you really being particularly cost effective?

Outsourcing anything from your content marketing to your archive management can take the pressure off, improve results, save time and yes, even save you money in 2019.

3) Ditch the archive

Another way to reduce your spend on office space is to seriously reduce the amount of stuff you have. Why would you pay however much it is you’re paying per square foot on office rent just to keep a roof over a bunch of archive boxes? Instead, could you have them scanned and then securely destroyed? Or would it be more cost effective to look into off site storage? (Ahem, we can definitely provide you with a quote to get you started, if that’s of interest.)

The other advantage of scanning your documents is that they’re ever so much easier to find. If we do say so ourselves, we’re really very good at creating well organised systems and we can even train your staff in how to use them so you can access whatever you need at a touch of a button. Which means no-one wastes time going on dusty expeditions through the archive room, which, given that time is money, is a money saver in itself.

4) Leverage technology

So we’re living in a digital age now, in case you hadn’t noticed. Which can be disconcerting for those of us who grew up with only five TV channels and phones that were wired into a wall. But the good news is that technology offers huge opportunities for saving money as a business.

For example, rather than paying someone to man the phones all day answering mind-numbing questions like, “What time do you open?” and “Can you ship items to the Isle of White?” you could get a chatbot to answer them for you on your website or use a virtual telephone answering service like our friends at Good Call.

5) Seek out budget hacks

We didn’t really like Tesco’s strapline when it first came out but “Every little helps” is definitely quicker to say than “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”. Whichever version you prefer, the sentiment is true. Adopt an attitude of cost saving for 2019 and you’ll be surprised how many opportunities you spot.

For example, if you need stock images then head over to Pexels or Unsplash rather than paying a fortune in royalties. Or switch from sending out physical invoices to using an online system – if things need signing you can always use an e-signature service like Docusign. This last example will reduce your paper usage too, which is good for the planet, so that’s a bonus win right there.

So, which one do you think offers your business the best chance of saving money in 2019? If it’s #3 then give us a shout to see how we can help (you’ll be ticking box #2 and probably #4 too, so it’s an all round winning choice!).

5 things we wish we could store digitally

Bowl of spoons - Scan Film or Store - 5 things we wish we could store digitallyDo you ever get to thinking, “If only…”? Call us naive, but we often stray into the territory of daydreams and wishes. Just the other day we were wondering whether it would be possible to invent a calorie free mince pie. If only, right?

But actually that would come second on our wish list if we happened to stumble across a genie-filled lamp. The first thing would be a digital solution to the many storage challenges that plague humankind both at home and in the office. Yes, it’s a pretty niche wish but just think how great it would be to store these things online…

Teaspoons

Why is it that teaspoons are so darn elusive? Other utensils seem to have no trouble staying put in the cutlery drawer. Ok so they do occasionally take a short vacation into a neighbouring segment so that if you’re not paying enough attention you end up trying to sip your soup with a fork. But teaspoons just disappear, especially from office kitchens. Digital storage would allow you to password protect your spoon so Jason from Sales couldn’t add it to the growing collection in his desk drawer.

Christmas decorations

Oh don’t get us started on this one! For one month every year it’s become obligatory to deck ones halls – and offices and gardens and pretty much everything else – with 10 tonnes of glitter, tinsel and fake snow. Which we don’t really mind, in and of itself. No one could call us Scrooge. It’s the other 11 months of the year that cause the difficulty. Because Christmas decorations are bulky. They’re also usually quite delicate. Which means they need careful packing away – often with fiddly layers of tissue paper to stop the more fragile items from shattering – and take up a ridiculous amount of space. Definitely one of the things we wish we could store digitally.

Tupperware

[Disclaimer: other brands of kitchen plastic are available.] If you could store these boxes digitally we reckon you could probably get rid of half your kitchen units. You’d also be able to search by size or volume rather than having to take a wild guess at whether your leftover casserole would actually fit or not. And you could easily retrieve the corresponding lid without having to try on half a dozen “close but not quite” options first. Heaven, yes?

Socks

Talking of keeping pairs of things together, what about socks? It’s true that very little beats the satisfaction of a perfectly organised physical sock drawer; the rows of tightly rolled cotton all snuggled neatly next to each other (just us??). But realistically, how often is your sock drawer that tidy? Isn’t it more likely that it’s a shambles of odd socks that have less chance of being reunited with their partner than Kylie and Jason? A digital sock drawer would present none of these challenges.

Cables

Every single household and most offices we’ve visited have a box of random cables that 98% of people couldn’t identify if their lives depended on it. These assorted chargers, scart leads, HDMI cables and so on are undoubtedly important and therefore can’t be thrown out, even if it’s unlikely you’ll ever be able to remember what they connect to. So how great would it be to store them online where they wouldn’t get in the way? Come to think of it, pretty much the entire contents of your average “man drawer” could be tidied up in this way. After all, how often do you really need the key to the back door of your old house, or a takeaway menu from an Indian restaurant in town that has almost certainly closed down since you got it?

At least we don’t need to worry about paper cluttering up our homes and offices any more, right? There’s just no excuse for having endless shelves of invoices, receipts, statements and reports cluttering up the place when getting it all transformed into a digital archive is a piece of cake (well, we say that – it’s actually a pretty involved process for us, but for you it’s as simple as saying, “Hey, can you sort this out please?”).

To find out more about how the Scan Film or Store team can help you make the switch to digital – or store those paper documents you still need in our purpose built, climate controlled, 24-7 monitored and alarmed storage unit in Bridgwaterget in touch for a no obligation chat today.

7 ways to tackle stress in the workplace

Scan Film or Store - 7 ways to tackle stress in the workplaceHi there! How are you today? No, don’t just say “fine” without thinking. How are you really? Might you be just a little bit stressed? Or even a lot stressed?

Government figures show that in 2016-17, over half a million workers in the UK were suffering from work-related stress, depression and anxiety. This caused 12.5 million working days to be lost. Which means stress doesn’t just suck for the people who are feeling it but for the companies they work for too.

So is there anything that can be done? Of course there is! If you run a business – or a team within a business – you’re in a unique position to change the culture and reduce stress in the workplace. Which makes you something of a superhero really.

Here are a few ideas to get you started…

1) Think flexi

Chaining your team to their desks from 9am to 5pm really isn’t the ideal way to get the most out of them. Some people are early birds who will be much more effective on an 8-4 arrangement. Others will be happier if they can squash their weekly hours into four days so they can have Fridays off. Still others will be far more productive if they can work from home. Flexible working can seriously reduce people’s stress levels, so ask your team about what might suit them. Even the fact that you’re asking will help them feel like they’re being looked after.

2) Get people moving

Physical exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress levels. Even something as simple as a walk at lunchtime can help people clear their heads, get mental space from their inbox and their deadlines, and get those endorphins pumping to raise wellbeing levels. We’re not suggesting you turf them all out in the cold a couple of times a day, but why not get a lunchtime walk club started, or sponsor their gym passes?

3) Have an open door policy

Here’s a little pop quiz for you. If someone in your team is stressed, are they likely to:

A: Come and talk to you about it

B: Moan to their other half about stressful work is

C: Pour a stiff G&T (or three)

D: Do nothing and carry on regardless

If the answer isn’t A, you need to do something about it. You can’t fix problems you don’t know about, right? People need to know they can talk to you about their stress levels without it impacting their status in the business.

4) Get your filing system sorted

Seriously, it’s bothering your staff – not to mention kicking their productivity levels down a notch or two and actually costing you money. Need proof? Research shows that a third of office employees see searching for documents as “difficult” or “frustrating”, with 42% saying it takes up to 15 minutes to find a document or file. Just think about that. If someone were to search for 16 files in the course of the day, they’d have spent half their time in the office doing that!

[Plug time! If you need help creating a filing system that is anything but stressful, get in touch – if we do say so ourselves, we’re really, really good at organising stuff. We can store your physical documents and deliver them back as you need them, or scan them and create a digital archive. Or both. Both is always a good option.]

5) Ban desk lunches

There are so many reasons why eating your lunch while you work is bad for your wellbeing. Firstly, you don’t get a break. Secondly, you don’t get to socialise. Thirdly, you don’t actually get to taste and enjoy your food. Banning desk lunches might seem extreme but it will show your team that you prioritise their wellbeing over the need to get stuff done. Consider creating a break out space in your office where people can eat and chat, or why not organise a weekly event like a bring and share lunch or pizza party?

6) Say thank you

Sometimes we all have to work hard. That in itself doesn’t have to be stressful. If you manage the situation properly then powering through an important project together can actually help your team bond and feel proud as they achieve a big win. But if you don’t encourage them along the way, recognise their efforts and say thank you at the end… well, you probably won’t get the same level of effort next time. Saying thank you is easy. Saying sorry is harder.

7) Lead by example

If you want your kids to eat vegetables and you’re busy scoffing an ice cream, you’re fighting a losing battle. And since leadership is a lot like parenting, the same principle applies in the office. Are you stressed? Are you doing what you can to reduce your stress levels? Remember that old example of putting on your own oxygen mask before you help others. You can’t help your team if you’re stuck at home recovering from a breakdown.

Reducing stress levels will improve your team’s productivity and make your office a nicer place to work. Which is good news for everyone. So think about whether you could implement one of more of these suggestions, then ask your team what else they’d like to see change.

7 fun things to do in an empty office

Scan Film or Store man on trampolineImagine, just for a moment, that you had a free office. As in empty rather than rent free. Like if you somehow managed to eliminate several dozen boxes of paper archives (you know, by getting them digitised, or having them stored off-site) and could actually see further than a  metre  into the archive room. Just think what you could do with all that space! We do a lot of driving to go and see our clients in person, and these are a few of the ideas we came up with while traversing the highways and byways of the South West.

1) Trial trampolining desks for your more energetic staff

Everyone scoffed at standing desks when they first went on sale, didn’t they? And now look at all the trendy kids with their, “Oh ya, it’s just so fantastic for the posture, don’t you know?” Some of them even have treadmills attached to make them into walking desks. Well, you’ll show them. They won’t be laughing when you’ve cornered the trampolining desk market and have the world’s fittest staff.

2) Start a mini petting zoo

There are studies out there from eminently sensible, scientifically qualified people who have proven that spending time with animals can lower stress levels. You’d need the right kind of animals, obviously. No one’s going to feel especially relaxed after half an hour enclosed in a former storage room with a silverback gorilla or a pack of wolves. But some nice ducklings and puppies and things would be fun.

3) Practice your wallpapering skills

Putting up wallpaper is one of those annoying and fiddly jobs you don’t have to do often. Which means it always starts badly and by the time you start getting good at it, you’re done. And then when it’s time to do it again in a few years, you’ve forgotten everything you learned. The answer? Daily practise. Get in there and make those bare walls beautiful!

4) Build the world’s largest collection of promotional stress balls

Everyone needs a hobby. It’s proven to be very relaxing (like being around animals – it might have been the same study). And there’s something just so satisfying about a stress ball. Like chewing gum for your hand. If you go to even a moderate number of conferences and exhibitions you’re bound to come across dozens of them, and they’re free too, so this won’t be an expensive hobby. That’s the definition of win-win, right there.

5) Make a Bat cave

You know you want one. Yes, you do. You do really. Ok, we want one, but we kind of have to dedicate our space to our clients’ documents, so it would be really great if you could make one and then invite us round. You can be Batman, we don’t mind being Robin. Or even Arthur. We’ve always thought he was the unsung hero of that franchise.

6) Have a team-building sleep over

Everyone can bring their sleeping bags and their PJs, and stay up late eating chocolate biscuits and telling ghost stories. It will be just like Scouts, when they go off to get all their outdoor survival type badges. Only with less trees and mud and, well, the actual outdoors. But still super fun.

7) Install a panic room

Not one of those impenetrable bunkers sealed with reinforced steel bars designed to keep assassins at bay. Just a room where people can go when they’re panicking. You know, because they’ve only just remembered that report is due tomorrow and they haven’t started it. Or they heard on the grapevine that Laura in accounts is after volunteers for the company karaoke night.

So there you have it – seven perfectly good ways to use an empty office. Can you think of any more? Tweet us your ideas at @scanfilmorstore or post a note on our Facebook page, and we’ll reshare the best ones.

And if you’re feeling blue because you don’t have any spare office and you’d like one, get in touch today to find out more about how we can help give you the space to make even your craziest dreams a reality.

Do you know your PDF from your TIFF?

PC vs Mac. Ketchup vs HP Sauce. Bristol City vs Bristol Rovers. As consumers, we’re spoilt for choice, which can make decisions tricky. When it comes to document management, the big choice is between PDFs and TIFFs.

So what’s the difference? Well, we’re very glad you asked, seeing as how that’s what this blog post is all about.

Let’s look at a few of the key characteristics of each one…

The PDF aka Portable Document Format

According to its inventor, Adobe, a PDF is “a file format used to present and exchange documents reliably, independent of software, hardware, or operating system.”

PDFs are by far the most accessible file format. Everyone has a free PDF reader on their computer, so there’s no need to buy any new software, or even faff about with a free download.

And if you should upgrade to the Pro version of the Adobe Acrobat software, you’ll be able to access all the other great functions that PDFs have. Things like links and buttons, form fields, audio, video, and even business logic.

Oh, and PDFs can also be signed electronically, so you really don’t ever have to print them and create unnecessary paperwork. Ideal if you’re aiming for a paperless office.

Fun fact: The PDF was developed as part of The Camelot Project, which was created by Adobe cofounder Dr John Warnock to launch a paper-to-digital revolution way back in 1991.

The TIFF aka Tagged-Image File Formats

The TIFF is “a flexible raster image format” – but don’t worry too much about deciphering that. The truth is that TIFFs are most often used by people like designers who need all of the detail that a raw file would contain, in order to manipulate the image. Put it this way – if you need a TIFF, you probably already know what it is.

Because of the information the files contain, TIFFs are bigger than PDFs, so they take up more digital storage room. The other downside of using TIFFs is the fact that you’ll need to source and possibly pay for software in order to read them. Back in the old days (yes, we do remember them!) every PC had a TIFF reader as standard, but as they say, there’s nothing as constant as change.

So what does all of this mean to you? Well, just that when you have your documents scanned, it’s worth having a little think about how you want to use the scanned files and which format will suit you best.

If you need any more guidance around your specific needs, just give us a call and we’ll help you make the right decision. And we promise not to use any more jargon than we have to!

Check out the tech on that!

Scan Film or Store - check out the tech on that!If there’s one thing the document scanning industry does well, it’s technology. We might not go as far as to say we love the machines we use to scan our clients’ documents, but we certainly like them a lot. (Oh, who are we kidding – we love them.)

It’s understandable that if the only scanner you’ve seen is the one that comes as an integral part of your office photocopier, you probably don’t think they’re all that flash. But if you were to visit us at our offices in Bridgwater, Somerset – which, incidentally, you’re welcome to do any time – you’d see they’re exceptionally clever bits of kit, with all sorts of extra features that make them really rather useful indeed.

You see, we may be an old fashioned bunch who believe in things like personalised customer service (remember the old lady we picked up from the train station recently??), but when it comes to technology, we’re giving the Silicon Valley kids a run for their money. Here are three of our favourite scanners (and the reasons why we love them)…

The Book Eye Pro 4

This German-built machine is the one we use to scan books that need to stay intact. Featuring a multi-angled base plate and moving scanner head, it can deal with the most delicate of volumes without damaging the binding, plus flat items of up to A3 size. Each page is turned by hand – with cotton gloves, in the case of delicate items – so it’s not a quick process, but the results are worth it. We’ve used ours to scan everything from ancient manuscripts and 150-year-old old leather bound council records to collections of vintage football magazines.

The flashy bits:

  • In-built software takes out the unsightly ‘buttock crease’ (you know what we mean, right?) and flattens out the image.
  • The same software can enhance the image if necessary, and can cut a double page image into its single page components.
  • Because there’s no need to feed the originals through a roller, it can scan thicker items too, such as art canvases.

Why you should love it: Using this bit of kit means you don’t need to have your books or ledgers taken to pieces in order to be scanned – even the spines will stay perfectly intact.

The OCE Large Format Scanner

For technical drawings, architectural plans and anything else above A3 size, this is the machine you need. It can take documents of up to 36 inches wide and 15mm thick, but here’s the thing – there’s no limit on length. So we can scan documents like hospital ITU charts and 25ft long aircraft drawings with ease.

The flashy bits:

  • Single camera and mirror formation ensures super accurate colour capture.
  • Preset modes can be used to scan non-standard documents such as blue prints, transparencies, dark originals etc.
  • Special configuration takes documents up to 15ml thick so we can scan items like mounted artwork.

Why you should love it: If you regularly deal with large format documents, this is the machine that will enable you to create a digital archive – and save yourself a awful lot of storage space.

The Kodak i4600

This is our main volume scanner. It will knock out around 40,000 images a day, which we think you’ll agree is pretty darn quick. It can do colour, black and white, and greyscale scanning up to A3 size and is as accurate as it gets, outputting images as PDF, jpeg or TIFF files.

The flashy bits:

  • Creates super high res pictures up to 1200 DPI (as a comparison, glossy magazines tend to use pics of around 300 DPI quality).
  • A super accurate alarm system to prevent more than one page going through at a time.
  • Built-in OCR (optical character recognition) software, which means you can search your scanned digital files for text in up to 50 language.

Why you should love it: This is the reason we can turn your bulky, possibly chaotic archive room into a state of the art, easily accessible digital archive, without taking several months to do it.

If you fancy having a gander at our beloved tech for yourself, and finding out how we can use it to help you create a digital archive of your paperwork, get in touch today.

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