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remote secure scanning solution

Posted on 2013-01-22
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Last Modified: 2014-11-03
I am trying to deploy a enterprise remote document scanning solution. I will be putting scanners on loan officers desks all over the contry, so the transmittal must be secure (ideally via SFTP) to a centralized loan processing center.  There are only a handful of scanners that support SFTP and they are rather costly.  The requirements are:
1) secure transmittal of scanned docs (ideally SFTP).  This could be done with built in SFTP or an attachable USB to Ethernet device with an SFTP client built in.  I don't want to have a seperate attached computer for numerous reasons.  
2) ability to scan large files (i.e. 500 pages) quickly and as one document.  The ADF can be smaller than 500 but it must be able to do continuous feed so one PDF is built.  
3) Low cost so the scanning system can be replaced when they break (rather than paying for ans waiting on expensive parts)

Any input on the above would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:clove00
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by:clove00
ID: 38807666
A fellow software architect recommended using a lower end Scanner with a USB connection and connecting it to a something like a Raspberry Pi linux device attached to the scanner and having it handled the automated SFTP authentication and upload.  This might have potential....
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 38807896
Of course, everything is relative, and words like "low cost" and "quickly" and "lower end scanner" will mean different things to different folks. But based on everyday usage that I've seen, you do NOT want a "lower end scanner" if the requirement is to scan 500-page documents "quickly".

There are many factors in selecting the right solution for you. A few questions to start with:

(1) How many loan officers need scanners?

(2) How many pages per day will they scan? Does it vary significantly from one loan officer to the next? If so, what is the range (low to high) of daily pages to be scanned?

(3) Are the docs all single-sided? If not, what percentage of the docs are double-sided? In other words, would a duplex scanner be helpful?

(4) Are the docs all (or mostly) black and white? In other words, is color scanning needed?

(5) Are the docs all (or mostly) letter size? Any small/odd-size docs? Or large ones? Any legal size? Any wider than 8.5"?

(6) Do you want the PDFs created by scanning to have searchable text in them or is a pure image/bitmap OK? In other words, is OCR needed?

(7) What is the budget for the project? It doesn't have to be exact, but it's important to know approximately how much money you're willing to spend on hardware, software, and services to implement the solution. You can specify the budget by total or by loan officer, but in either case, knowing the number of loan officers is important.

Answers to these questions will get us started on the path to recommendations. Regards, Joe
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by:clove00
ID: 38808390
Re. Q1: start with 50 and moving to 500.  Some will be shared among 2-3 loan officers and used by a single loan processor that will have the scanner.  

Re. Q2: mortgage loan files range from 200 pages to 1800 pages.  Expect 1-2 per day of these docs a day.  Expected average 500-1000 pages per day.  

Re. Q3: you can assume they are all one sided

Re. Q4: 85% of docs are B&W.  15% are color.  Color scanning is desired on the 15%.  Automatic color detection is preferable.  

Re. Q5: All docs will be letter or legal.  

Re. Q6: No OCR upon scan is needed.  OCR will be done on back end by very sophisticated system.  

Re. Q7:  Expect to spend less than $75k on first 50 deployed.  Remainder will depend on success of first 50.  

FYI - We are trying to move away from shipping documents all over the country.
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 500 total points
ID: 38808628
With just 1-2 docs per day and an average of just 500-1,000 pages per day, I take back my comment about the "lower end scanner". :)

I've had good success for many years with Kodak and Fujitsu scanners. Problem is, as you've already discovered, the networked models with decent security are fairly expensive. Two obvious choices are the Kodak Scan Station 500 and the ScanSnap N1800. The street price of the N1800 is around $1,400, so that would bring the 50 scanners into your $75K budget, assuming no other hardware, software, or professional services costs (and assuming you can live with the standard hardware maintenance SLA, which you should check carefully). I've worked with many different Fujitsu scanners over the years, but never with the N1800, so I can't vouch for it based on personal experience. The specs say that it supports FTPS, which I'm guessing will satisfy your secure transmittal requirements, unless you're sold on SFTP, which, as far as I can tell, the N1800 does not support. The Kodak Scan Station 500 does support SFTP, but its street price of around $2,000 would blow the budget.

Another approach is along the lines of what your fellow software architect recommended, although it doesn't meet your desire of not having "a separate attached computer." I personally would not go the route of anything like a Raspberry Pi Linux device. If you're going to do a relatively inexpensive USB scanner (and there are plenty of decent ones in the $500 range to handle your daily volume and monthly duty cycle), I'd connect it to a W7 machine, have it place the scanned docs on a network share, and then securely transmit them to the centralized loan processing center...you must already have in place some form of secure file transfer from the remote offices to the centralized loan processing center (if not, let me know). I realize you said that you have "numerous reasons" for not wanting a separate computer, but without knowing what those reasons are, my hip-shot is that it may be the best, most cost-effective approach. On the other hand, if you're absolutely opposed to the idea of connecting a USB scanner to a W7 machine, then the ScanSnap N1800 may be the way to go. Regards, Joe
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40412565
Hi WhackAMod,
Thanks for cleaning this up by closing it and assigning points — much appreciated! Regards, Joe
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40419495
WhackAMod,
Thanks again! Regards, Joe
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