Records Management Resolutions for the New Year
Resolutions aren’t just for individuals; businesses also benefit from the opportunity to reassess and reprioritize. Evaluating and revising your records management processes is one of the most impactful things you can do for your organization. In the spirit of the “resolution season,” we’ve outlined a few simple steps that can improve business productivity, strengthen privacy protection, and ensure regulatory compliance.
Verify that information is properly classified
A strong records management program ensures that hardcopy and electronic files are properly categorized, and also provides retention schedules to be consistently followed and updated as necessary. This requires input and oversight from each department or division within your organization, since each may have different compliance requirements. Verify that retention periods are correctly applied and consistent with your legal obligations. If you find that your current filing system is out of control and are unable to easily find documents, engage a records management provider who can implement an indexing and verification solution which includes properly labeling, inventory management, and indexing of your records.
Organize and de-clutter paper files
The better your records are organized, the more easily you’ll be able to find the information you need. A filing system needs to be properly labeled to facilitate expedient retrieval, but also needs should protect sensitive information from unauthorized access. Organizing your records according to activity levels can streamline your filing system by enabling inactive and archival records to be sent offsite for storage while affording you more space to store documents integral to your daily business processes. Areas allocated within your office to store active physical files should be locked at all times with continuously monitored access.
Any files that have exceeded retention requirements should be securely disposed of. Prior to your organization and de-cluttering process, engage a paper shredding provider to place secure shred collection receptacles within your office. Doing so will enable sensitive documents to be securely collected and thoroughly destroyed in an expedient manner.
Prioritize disaster recovery
No company is immune to loss of information from a catastrophic event. Disasters strike without warning and with varying degrees of impact to your organization. Properly protecting your vital business information minimizes downtime and increases the chances your company can resume its operation.
Mission-critical documents and files should be stored in a facility that minimizes the risks to paper documents and enables them to be retrieved and delivered at a moment’s notice in support of your disaster recovery requirements. Digital records on storage media should similarly be protected, although in a vault environment that fosters optimal protection and preservation of electronic media.
Records management is an ongoing process, so even if you’ve met or exceeded your resolution, make sure you can sustain it throughout 2015 and beyond. Revisit your program on a regular basis in order to verify it is being followed by your staff. Gather input from key stakeholders to assess effectiveness and revise procedures as necessary.
Richards & Richards provides records management solutions to business throughout Nashville. For more information please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.