In an era where information is equivalent to ‘power’ for individuals, businesses, communities and nations, managing it becomes a crucial aspect. Every minute, businesses across the world process tons of data in physical and digital format.
This data needs to be properly curated and secured, especially considering the regulatory laws and the new found GDPR guidelines. Onsite Record Management, thus, becomes super critical for the enterprises operating at small and large scale (considering that the non-compliance can run into fines of millions, even billions of Rupees!).
This post is a quick guide for organizations of all sizes to onsite record management.
On-site record management is the system of storing digital documents and physical records in a curated manner within the operations premises of the business. For example, a business might archive all its crucial records in its headquarters. Such systems are typically designed for fast information retrieval, regulatory compliance and long-term preservation of the records in any format.
In this post, we will see the best practices associated with Onsite Record Management for Organizations.
Let us get going!
1. Formulate a Framework
A framework marks the beginning for an organization to create an Onsite Records management system. Effective records management demands two things consistently. First is the airtight processes, and the second is the assessment capability of the organization to constantly monitor the system while measuring the performance of its records management efficiency. The processes for the records management will involve various departments where the coordination, access, authority, document (digital and physical) storage, and other crucial parameters will be defined. Setting and tweaking these processes will enable the company to manage the records in compliance with the regulators while having the benefit of faster and seamless information access.
As for the assessment part, key decision makers and managers (having final authority over the records and data) will formulate the performance parameters and keep a check on how well the records are being preserved by the employees of various departments in accordance with the laid-out system.
2. Risk Management & Control
Different departments have to deal with various types of records that have varying life-cycles and importance. These records have been broadly categorized in the below list;
- Legal Records
- Security and Privacy
- Partner and Stakeholder management
Within your Records archive, the above mentioned records must be curated as per the below-mentioned methodology;
Control & Assessment- For records pertaining to each category, a separate risk control layout has to be established to prevent any risks such as unauthorized access, information stealing, accountability, record misplacement, compliance, retention and disposition, etc. The records will then be checked against this ‘Risk Control’ layout before storage, retention or shredding.
Description- Short Description of the category of the documents stored for easy understanding and information retrieval. For example, you might need to access staffing records for March, 2018 or Tax filing records for the last month.
Manual- An instructional manual for employee/authority access that will contain supporting information of the records like retention policy, disposition date, legal importance, etc.
3. Create a ‘Record Management Grade’ Archive!
Record management archives are not just shelves loaded with files and folders. In fact, the advanced Onsite record management archives are epitome of thoughtfulness in design for preserving the critical records for as long as possible. While getting an Onsite record management archive designed, keep these pointers in mind;
Access Control- You will have to ensure that only the authorized personnel have the access to the archive. Unauthorized access can result in espionage or unintentional mishandling of the information once retrieved.
Digitization Facility- There has to be a system for quick scanning and digitization of the documents to preserve them in the digital format. An encryption system comes highly recommended with this facility.
Preservation Essentials- Paper records are fragile in nature. They are susceptible to change and deformation under various forces of nature such as temperature, climate, humidity and even disasters. Your Onsite record management archive must be equipped with temperature control, humidity control, and fire-suppression system to avert any mishap.
Backup – It, again, comes highly recommended that your team creates backup of the crucial records (Scanning of the physical documents and creation of duplicate for the digital ones). This backup shall be stored in a different location from where it can be retrieved at will if necessary.
You can even consult Professional Record Management companies to assist you with the design and installation of an Onsite records management system as per the nature of your organization. Establish one today to dodge any legal, financial or competitive pitfalls in the near future!