Why Do Offices Still Use Filing Cabinets?

Rohan Mathew

What do you see when you walk into a modern Brisbane office? You’ll see modern furniture, plants, sunshine streaming through windows, sleek and cutting-edge computer equipment, wireless printing, wireless charging devices, and everyone connected with digital wizardry. It’s amazing, right? But what’s that in the corner? Filing cabinets? Really? In 2022, do we still need to use these filing cabinets for your Brisbane office?

Didn’t We All Go Digital?

People share files nowadays through the cloud, and everything is stored, opened, modified and moved around in virtual spaces. When was the last time you actually physically saved something to a portable hard drive that wasn’t just some kind of “plan B” ultimate offline backup precaution?

At least flash drives are still a relatively modern and digital product. Why oh why would we still be storing anything in filing cabinets, though? That’s the big question.

  1. Paper Isn’t Going Anywhere

We might be happy to use the term “paperless world” right now, but it’s not an accurate reflection of the real world. We’ve cut down our need for paper massively, but that doesn’t mean paper is useless. Businesses everywhere still value certain important things in paper for a number of key reasons:

  • Paper is real, meaning it’s not just some virtual file someone can edit and change without others easily seeing, nor can it just be whipped up apparently out of thin air. Paper leaves a trail, it proves a process was followed, and it’s a tangible material that we can trust.
  • Paper is unhackable and incorruptible. It’s hard to express the frustration one can feel when they go to open a digital file they’ve been working on for days only to find it has become corrupted and the work is lost. Furthermore, no one can hack into your filing cabinet remotely and steal its contents!
  • Paper is easy to read and feels good in-hand. There’s weight and substance to paper and many still enjoy the feeling of reading a paper file over something on a screen. They read it more accurately and can read more closely, paying attention to key details. When you’re talking about sensitive company documents, details are important.

So, it’s easy to see why people still like paper, and to store paper efficiently, a filing cabinet is perfect.

  1. Filing Cabinets Are Still Useful

You might think that some of the reasons people like to cling to paper are rather nostalgic, but there are still tons of practical applications for paper that companies depend on every day. Some things need to be done on paper, with copies and records kept. For instance, check stubs need to be kept and stored securely, as do special reports, customer files, personnel files, bills, receipts, important legal documents like insurance policies, wills and contracts.

There are some things that you just can’t trust entirely to the digital realm. The threat of security breaches, file corruption, or one day the whole system just going down and taking your hard work with it. Of course there are things that can happen to paper records, too, but that’s why we have sturdy metal filing cabinets offering the flimsy bits of paper a literal suit of armour to look after them.

  1. Filing Cabinets are Secure

Finally, this is something that we touched on above, but it’s incredibly important. We’ve said already that filing cabinets can’t be hacked remotely like a computer or cloud service. Even when you consider physical theft, however, filing cabinets are still the most secure option. Protecting files from outsiders as well as those inside an organisation who might misuse them is easier in a filing cabinet. 

When placed in a room with surveillance cameras, for instance, no one can access those cabinets without being seen. They may even need to request a key to open them, further removing their ability to frame others or take files covertly. All of these things are easier on a computer-based system.