Contract storage isn’t just about where you keep your contracts, it’s about how you store them too.
How you store your contracts affects everything from version control to security and searchability. Luckily, this post explores how to best store contracts in 2022, and why you should follow these best practice.
If you want to know what best-in-class contract storage looks like, hit the button below to find out more about Juro. Alternatively, keep reading to learn all about contract storage.
The importance of storing contracts securely and effectively can’t be understated. Effective contract storage is extremely important, particularly for scaling businesses.
Firstly, effective contract storage makes it far easier for you to find, edit, review and track your contracts, regardless of which stage of the contract lifecycle they’re at. If they’re scattered across shared drives and filing cabinets, finding these versions can be extremely time-consuming. In some cases, it may even be impossible.
Storing your contracts securely and in an organized manner doesn’t just make them easier to find and access, but it’s also often a prerequisite for receiving the funding you need to facilitate your company’s growth.
I know what you’re thinking: but why? Well, before an investor decides to back your business, they'll want to do their due diligence.
They need to know that the figures you’re presenting are reliable and that you have a repeatable process in place to maintain and track these. Since most revenue is captured using business contracts, having these at your disposal is critical.
Yet, still, effective contract storage tends to be the exception rather than the rule.
That means plenty of businesses are still failing to capitalize on the benefits that better contract storage can offer. More importantly, they're failing to eliminate the risks associated with poor contract storage.
How are contracts traditionally stored?
Historically, contracts have typically been stored in two ways: as physical documents in a filing cabinet, or as static files on a shared drive. Let’s dig into these contract storage methods in a bit more detail.
1. Physical contract storage
Let’s think back to a time where contracts were drafted on paper and signed using wet ink. It was a messy approach to contract creation, and one which required plenty of office space (if you were lucky to close plenty of deals!).
Once signed, paper contracts were traditionally placed within a filing system and stored inside a filing cabinet. Perhaps they were separated by clients, or by contract type. Either way, it’s typical for the contracts to sit collecting dust when stored like this. Or worse, be susceptible to damage, loss or tampering.
It’s no secret that physical contract storage is an inefficient approach. That’s why businesses have started to create and redline contracts in Word and then store them in shared drives instead.
2. Storing contracts in shared drives
With digital contracting on the rise, many in-house legal teams store digital copies of a contract within shared drives instead. In doing so, they hope to make contracts more accessible to other contract stakeholders and protect them from damage and tampering.
This paperless approach is an inherent improvement on physical contract storage, but it’s certainly not without its faults.
It’s common for there to be multiple versions of the same contract within shared drives, which can complicate matters and result in costly mistakes. Contracts stored in shared drives typically remain unsearchable, too. This means that contracts can’t easily be filtered by different values, like type, owner, value, status and more.
This is distinct from more advanced contract storage systems like Juro, which focus on ensuring that legal and business teams can not only store their contracts securely, but that they can find and access them with ease thanks to OCR technology.
How can businesses improve their contract storage system?
We now know what poor contract storage looks like. But now for the important part: how can you improve it? It’s simple. The best way to store contracts is using a platform that’s designed for just that.
Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive weren’t designed for specifically storing contracts. They were designed for storing files like Word documents and PDFs. But unfortunately, shared drives lack a lot of the features required to store and manage legal agreements safely.
Businesses would be far better placed to manage and track their contracts if they used a contract storage system, or software with a contract repository. This is because they would benefit from the following contract storage features:
Granular access controls: enhanced control over who can access, edit, approve and sign which contracts, meaning confidential contracts are stored securely
Fully customizable contract dashboards: review data from all contracts stored in a glance, with fully customizable dashboards to capture important contract data
Consolidated document records: detailed records and audit trails made available for each individual contract - perfect for tracking the progress of specific agreements
Advanced search functionality: search for any word, phrase, number or value within your contract repository to find the right contracts at the right time
Contract reporting: receive analytics based on the contracts you’ve stored
And if you do decide to move away from shared drives, many contract tools, including Juro, have a two-way integration with shared drives. This makes it easy for you to sync your legacy contracts with Juro and ensure that all new contracts are also pushed into shared drives for extra visibility.
What is the best way to store contracts in 2022?
As we’ve just established, the best way to store business contracts in 2022 is using a contract storage tool.
Or, better, you could use an all-in-one contract automation tool like Juro that offers smart contract storage and the functionality required to manage contracts throughout the contract lifecycle.
Juro empowers legal teams to retain full ownership and visibility into contracts, making them faster to find and more valuable for your business. To find out more about how Juro helps fast-growing companies to store their contracts, fill in the form below.