Questions from prospects and customers about FileHold software are welcome. Some of these FAQs are documented in this section as a learning resource.
- Document Scanning
- FileHold Cloud
- Integration With Other Applications
- Library and Metadata Structure
- Server Security
- Software Technology
- User Rights
FileHold Cloud This section has common questions and answers about FileHold Cloud.
FileHold offers comprehensive daily backups through Azure Backup. All databases, documents, repository and full text indexes are fully protected from accident or disaster. Full backups are done daily with snapshots of the last two days for quick recovery. Incremental backups extend this protection for the next two weeks. Then we keep a weekly, monthly and yearly backup for as long as you need coverage. FileHold can also be configured for soft delete protection at the application level, for the last thousand days, so you can un-delete any accidents.
SQL Data is a special protected instance. The SQL Data disk is backed up as part of the Azure VM, but Azure Backup connects to our SQL Databases specifically pulls the data into its own backup. So we have a double backup of SQL in effect.
Daily Backup of all required data is on a 2-week backup rotation. Azure Backup uses a full back up on its first invocation and then uses incremental backups for every backup after that. The default backup program is: Daily for 14 days, weekly for 12 weeks, monthly for 60 months, and yearly for 10 years.
We pass through Microsoft Azure’s uptime guarantees from the IaaS perspective. As for restoring from backup, our standard backup retention: Snapshot retention last 2 days. The default incremental backup program retention is: Daily for 14 days, weekly for 12 weeks, monthly for 60 months, and yearly for 10 years.
RPO: 24 hours (daily backups)
RTO: 4 hours
These are currently set to standard values for tier-3 non-critical applications. We aim to respond to all support issues between our support hours of Midnight to 4pm Pacific. So we like to say our RTO is best effort to get you running as soon as possible. Snapshots from the last 2 days can be restored quickly. If you request to restore from backup (files, or snapshots) then that can be a billable service as per our SLA.
The most typical restore is undeleting a file in FileHold. FileHold can be configured for soft delete protection at the application level, for the last thousand days, so you can undelete any accidents.
Here are the number of restore points based on the default (non-immutable) retention policy versus a yearly immutable retention for a typical 1 year contract.
Immutable backups are write-once read many (WORM) backups that cannot be deleted before retention expiry, not even by FileHold.
FileHold Cloud Standard:
Daily Retention = 14
Weekly Retention = 12
Monthly Retention = 60
Yearly Retention = 10
Overlap Retention 5+3+2 = 10
Total Restore Points 96-10 = 86
The most recent 26 restore points are stored in vault-standard storage, and the remainder are stored in vault-archive.
Immutable Retention for a 1 year customer contract:
Daily Retention = 14
Weekly Retention = 12
Monthly Retention = 12
Overlap Retention 3+2 = 5
Total Restore Points 38-5 = 33
All restore points would be stored in vault-standard storage.
** Costs of orphaned Immutable retention into year 2 will incur small premium.
Every FileHold Cloud system consists of a dedicated Application Server VM and a shared SQL server within that region’s data center.
Application Server contains:
Your entire document repository and full text search indexes
Database Server contains:
Your users, metadata and library structure contained in 4 separate and dedicated databases that only your dedicated Service Account has access to. Your Service Account cannot access anyone else’s databases on that shared SQL server.
Please note that none of our customers have administrative access to the virtual network where FileHold Cloud runs. None of our customers have administrative access to their own dedicated Application Server. This access is reserved only to the FileHold Support team under NDA.
** FileHold Cloud network architecture topology diagram available upon request.
Implementation Answers about the FileHold implementation process.
Yes. The document management software is certified by Microsoft to be user installable. Detailed software installation guides are available for customers who want to install themselves. The document management software ships with a complete auto installer package. Once a server is properly configured installation will be less than 2 hours.
Most organizations have an ever-increasing number of privacy regulations and directives to comply with. These include, but are not limited to, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), Personal Information Security Specification, Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), etc. Penalties for violations could be fines, civil liability, loss of customer or public confidence, and more.
There is no silver bullet to compliance or safety when it comes to privacy. An organization must put in place policies, systems, and change culture as needed to minimize their risk. One of the first things that can be done is to put in place a centrally controlled secure library of documents such as FileHold.
With FileHold you can:
- Control your documents in a secure central location.
- Categorize your documents including whether or not they contain privacy sensitive information.
- Automatically minimize the documents you are managing according to retention rules you define.
- Conserve documents where the normal retention rules must be overridden for special legal or contractual reasons.
- Automatically keep an audit trail of updates, accesses, destruction, and other document actions.
Yes, the document management software utilizes a web services oriented architecture allowing for a variety of advanced configurations. The system can scale to many millions of documents being stored with the right hardware configurations and consulting expertise.
Integration with other applications Do you want to know more about how FileHold can integrate with third party applications?
FileHold provides a complex yet customizable Active Directory (AD) synchronization subsystem in the form of the optional FileHold Active Directory integration tool kit. This toolkit includes consulting and implementation time. Synchronization tools are configured by FileHold personnel working with the customer's AD administration group. A synchronization utility is set to run as a Windows scheduled task using a read only Active Directory user account to pull in Active Directory Users and Groups. The scheduled task can be set to run at a frequency defined according to the requirements of the site or set to run only on demand.
AD synchronization results are stored in the FileHold database, but the authentication of domain users is always done in real-time with the domain.
The software provides Microsoft Office integration with Word, Excel, Visio, PowerPoint and Outlook. In the Outlook integration you can send individual emails and their attachments as a .MSG file format to the document management software directly from the Outlook Desktop client. If there is an attachment it is included, and the entire email and attachment are full text indexed for future search.
Library structure and metadata Need more information about how the FileHold library structure is designed? Have questions about metadata or classifying documents? This section is for you.
The software is a document management system, not a folder management system. What we mean by this is that in reality you could get by with one large folder for the entire Library because the software is designed to find documents using a dynamic and robust search engine. So instead of thinking that each and every item has to have a place, the motto should be “metadata for all” with a place for appearance sake. In reality, the series of cabinet, drawers and folders is to provide the user with a visual with which they can relate and an organizational hierarchy.
FileHold does not have sub-folders, the Cabinet/Drawer/Folder hierarchy is as far as the Library extends. The initial question we often ask is why a sub-folder is needed. Although all organizations are unique, there are typically four main reasons:
1. It's what we're used to.
This is probably the most common reason - everyone is used to Windows, where the only way to group or organize documents was with sub-folders. Because Windows was so sparse with information, everyone got used to seeing documents with the filename, date, size, and application only. Most people needed very disciplined file-naming conventions to make them appear organized onscreen, and if you wanted to show how two documents were related, it was file-name or sub-folders. A DMS offers many more options for this, and it comes down to something new - there is often inertia that needs to be overcome.
2. The sub-folder is doing the work of a schema
Sometimes documents are put into their own area because they are all the same use type, like a folder full of invoices, or HR records, or whichever related documents want to organized and classified together.
FileHold offers schema to classify documents by how they are going to be used. This creates a filter that can be used when looking at Folders or Searches to locate the exact type of document needed. This means you will not need to cluster them to show their relationships - that is built in with the schema. Of course, schema do more than just classify - they also allow for control over access, setting unique retention schedules, workflows, Courier, auto-filing, etc. If you file documents by client, the schema lets you filter which users can see one document type instead of another - so sales and accounting can see the invoices, but manufacturing cannot. This allows for access control and a non-siloed information repository at the same time.
3. The sub-folder is doing the work of a metadata field.
This is even more common - in FileHold, you can group and organize documents by a metadata field to show related documents. This is not an option with Windows, where the only place you can gather and sort is with sub-folders. Not so with metadata - tagging documents makes sure you can search or browse documents with that information instantly.
4. The sub-folder is the result of too many upper layers.
Consider an Accounting department. They likely have their own office with a filing cabinet. They would not label this "Accounting", they know it's accounting - so they would likely start with a cabinet with chronological order, or by customer name, etc. In your case, if you remove ‘Finance and make it ‘Accounting 2021’, you keep all the structure as indicated with no sub-folders.
Taking the time to design the document management system to suit your organizational needs is something that should be embraced if the project is to truly succeed. Designing the perfect solution never happens the first time but there are tips that can make it a whole lot closer.
Talk to the people that currently use and manage the documents. How do they organize the files that they use? When they need to find a file how do they go about it? Are there things that they love about the current way it is organized? Things that they would change? Remember that these are the people that will ultimately use (or not) the document management system that you chose. Definitely get their input and use it! However, be ready to do some work of your own. One of the main benefits of using an organizational document management system is being able to easily access and share information with those that have a legitimate need to access it at the security level that ensures the integrity of the information. This is something that takes consideration.
For example, how can Finance and HR both access and share the files that they both need without having to wait for someone else to retrieve it? Can a group of Finance users be made into a group that has access to the payroll area of HR at a level that allows them to read certain files and edit others? With FileHold the answer is absolutely! – as long as the Library Administrator(s) take the time to design the system in a thoughtful and organizationally sensitive way.
Create multiple solutions to your organizational needs (spreadsheets work well for this). In essence how the system works to manage documents securely is through creating a formal file structure, forming FileHold user groups with correct permissions and associating the proper groups with document schemas that have the appropriate metadata fields attached. One of the easiest ways to go about this task is by utilizing the good old spreadsheet.
For example, some documents are maintained as customer documents. When an updated is received from the customer, I just want to replace the old version with the new one in FileHold. I would like to maintain any existing metadata, links to other files, security settings, etc. How would I accomplish this in FileHold?
For compliance and audit reasons you cannot "replace" a file in FileHold without doing some work behind the scenes as that is something that FileHold attempts to prevent. However, the use case you describe is very common. The method is to create a new version of the document from the new file provided by the customer. If you like you can delete the old version or retain it for future reference. First you check out the existing document then you check in the new document. When you are checking in the new document, you override the checkout location and select the new file.
All files that are placed into the document management system must be associated with a document schema. Cabinets are also associated with a default document schema. However, a document can be associated with any schema except in the case of auto-tagged folders. The document schema simply states what type of document the file is and asks the contributor to supply certain pieces of metadata for the file. It is those added pieces of metadata that become the method for searching for the files after they have been stored in the system. Document schemas are built by the Library Administrator using a template.
Less is more with document schemas. The advice is to simplify! The fewer document schemas that can be used to organize the files that your company creates, acquires, and uses, the better. Group documents into broader categories and create a document schema for each of the categories. Remember the real strength of the storage and retrieval of documents in the software is in the use of the metadata fields.
Scanning and imaging See this section for more information about using SmartSoft Capture or general scanning questions.
FileHold can integrate with any scanner in a variety of ways:
Search Where are my documents and how can I find them? Put your documents into FileHold and you'll find them quickly and easily.
Yes. A feature called FastFind in the document management software allows you to establish a hot key with any "Windows Forms" third-party application. This hot key allows users to find any document stored within the FileHold document library with a single key stroke. (This capability is often called Screen Scraping).
For example, a user, who has had the FastFind feature installed, is working in a windows based accounting application displaying a customer invoice. The user would like to see the original contract or other documentation, that is associated with that customers invoice. To see the invoice the user simply puts their cursor on the Customer Name field (or just makes it the active field) and presses a designated "hot key" (i.e. F9). Upon pressing the hot key the customer name is transferred to the FileHold document search engine and all documents that have that customer name will be displayed in the FileHold document search for review. The user can select the appropriate document and has several options for further activity: review it using the FileHold viewer, open it in its native application for further work, or even initiate a workflow and send that document to a colleague for approval.
Metadata fields are associated with document schemas in order to capture specific data about the files that are put into the document management system. These “tags” are the pieces of information that you typically use when locating or describing the files to others. For example, when storing an Invoice the user may want to capture the ‘Invoice Number’, ‘Customer Name’, ‘Invoice Amount’, ‘Invoice Date’ or other relevant information that can be used to locate and identify a unique Invoice file from all other documents filed. With these key pieces of data users can search for and locate the information they need quickly and efficiently.
Server Security Your questions are answered about the FileHold server security.
Yes, since IT administrators are administering the FileHold server. If an IT person removes a file from the FileHold Data folder (where documents are stored on the server), an error is logged in the Microsoft Windows server Event Viewer. However, if the system integrity check that runs within the software application server on the Document Repository is thrown, the software application server begins alerting via a Microsoft Windows event error/ alert. This can be monitored so that a person is alerted if this occurs.
We recommend that you have different IT personnel in charge the different administrative functions:
- Database server
- Microsoft Active Directory users and passwords
- Network and security
- Web servers
- Backups of data and testing of backups
This is more complex but it allows for less dependence and trust in a single person.
Software Technology FileHold software technology questions are answered in this section.
FileHold software is written entirely in .NET using a web services oriented architecture. We work closely with Microsoft around .NET, Azure DevOps, and SQL Server.
User Rights A user's role determines the permissions they may have access to in the system. FileHold comes pre-configured with 12 user roles that determines what a user can do in the system.
There are four types of read only users in FileHold: normal registered users assigned to a read only group, limited registered, portal alias, and Courier users. In the first case there is no difference in licensing from what you have already seen. The second case has a less expensive type of license available. Limited and portal alias user have many similarities to normal read only users, but as you might guess, they have more restrictions. The last type of users are very special as they can only access the very limited, but very easy to use Courier interface. It is most commonly used for sending documents to external parties to review and approve.
This is done in the schema membership, as well as Cabinet and folder memberships. This is a flexible system that when primarily based around group membership. FileHold document management software makes it easy to add new users to the system, give them group memberships, and allow them to automatically have access to the many cabinets, hundreds or thousands of folders and key document schemas that their group memberships belong to.
Yes, a user can belong to multiple groups and each group can have a unique role assigned to it. Users and groups can be assigned as members of cabinets, folders and schemas. Schema membership provides access to specific document types or groupings of documents. For example, you may have both a Purchase Order schema and an Accounting Document Schema. This way you can have multiple groups accessing the same folder but only authorized people will see the specific documents based on schema membership.