4 Ways to Strengthen Your Records Information Management Practices in 2021
There is no better time than the present to review and update your records management policies and best practices. Your internal policies should be ever-evolving to reflect new challenges and threats when it comes to records and information management. Review these 4 elements of your records management policy to ensure they are up to date with the latest information and regulations set out for your specific industry. If you haven’t established your own policies, this loose framework can help you get started on the right foot.
Update Records Retention and Destruction Policies
A record retention schedule can benefit your organization in many ways
- Improve their overall utilization of resources
- Control the growth of records volume
- Demonstrate compliance with regulatory recordkeeping requirements
- Enforce the consistent implementation of record-keeping policies
- Improve ability to locate and retrieve records when required
- Reduce litigation risks
Not having a retention policy can create many risks with information security, space, time, and legal ramifications. For a records retention policy to work effectively, we suggest that you consider classifying your business records into 3 basic categories: “must keep” records, “want to keep” records, and “destroy/delete” records. Then, create retention schedules for hardcopy and digital records management systems.
A record retention policy not only advises which documents are to be kept, but also acts as a guide on when those documents should be destroyed, and how. Destroying documents in accordance with a sound policy of preservation of information will help protect the company from legal risks and can create additional cost savings.
Improve Operational Excellence in RIM
With data volumes growing, the need to improve operational excellence in RIM has never been greater. An organization’s information is “its most valuable asset”. Records managers are now responsible for images, video files, unstructured text, and software codes in addition to paper and structured digital data. This complicates information classification and tracking. Make sure your organization is keeping up with any regional, national, and global regulations that apply to your business. ARMA International identified the critical hallmarks of information governance as accountability, transparency, integrity, protection, compliance, availability, retention, and disposal. RIM professionals are responsible for promoting these principles.
A comprehensive RIM process outlines details about how to manage and oversee information security during every step of the document life-cycle, but one of the most crucial pieces of the puzzle is creating accountability in your RIM systems.
Transparency in RIM processes ensures that records can be controlled from the beginning of their creation to the end of their lifecycle. Transparency can prevent the occurrence of corruption in information management.
It is important to maintain the integrity of your information. Ensuring a document has not been altered, added, or deleted, is imperative to a successful records management system.
Your records management system should protect your information from physical damage, external breaches, and internal theft or fraud.
Compliance is a key component in the success of your information management systems and looks different in every industry and at every phase of the information management process.
Records should be easily available for retrieval to authorized users to maintain efficient productivity.
Every business must implement and maintain a proper records retention policy that adheres to legal, regulatory, fiscal, operational, and historical requirements.
Once records become outdated or are no longer needed, your organization should have clear policies for how that information is handled and what constitutes appropriate destruction.
Work Flexibility and Information Management
Keeping records and information secure is even more important with the increased implementation of work flexibility.
With a growing dependence on digital information management, digital archives and backups should be a top priority for your business in 2021. Creating backups of your organization’s data information is important to protect your files from digital security threats, physical security threats, environmental disasters, and fire or water damage. Off-site, secure storage solutions will provide additional layers of protection for your data and information.
Hard Copy Records
If your office is vacant with employees working from home, hard-copy records are unmonitored and susceptible to breach. Augusta Data Storage offers a storage solution for hardcopy records with a variety of retrieval access options.
If your remote employees have physical access to records in their home, encourage them to securely collect records, bring them to your office, and maintain a regular destruction schedule. Be sure to define electronic device management as a part of the records management process including hard-drive security and secure destruction of outdated electronics. Take extra precautions to ensure that information is not being hosted or stored on personally owned devices.
Achieve Collaboration Tool Compliance
According to Marc Gilman, “Organizations must fully understand the regulatory guidance on collaboration security and privacy so they can continue to implement and expand their use of tools such as Zoom and Teams”. Make sure to set policies and train your employees about risks and instruct them how to use collaboration tools appropriately.
How to Strengthen Your Records Management Practices
Know the threats to your information, stay up to date on active scams, risks, and hacking attempts.
Assess your security measures, keeping our tips from above in mind. Revise and strengthen your processes regularly.
Update and review record retention schedules, adjusting as needed for changes.
Review secure destruction procedures, keeping in mind paper and digital records.
Emphasize employee training and review your internal communication approaches.
Ensure disaster recovery plans are up to date in case of a fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, or other natural disaster.
Have a clear plan on how to deal with data breaches in your company.
Ready to level up your Records Management Practices? Click here to get additional details on creating a robust management plan.