With the start of the new year here, now’s a great time to make business improvements by completing a file purge, or at the very least, reviewing how you’re managing your information.
Information grows quickly, so knowing how to best manage data is a challenge all businesses face regardless of the industry or the size of the business. Businesses that fail to properly manage their information are at risk for not complying with state and federal regulations relating to document retention periods, the security of stored information and are at risk for identity theft. Plus, there’s a good chance a business is wasting precious office space or paying for costly off-site storage to house the piles of information that may not even need to be retained.
Whether you’re completing a file purge, or you just want reassurance that you’re taking into consideration all records-related areas with your current policies, consider the following areas:
- Keep or toss. Retention periods will vary greatly depending on your industry and the types of information your business produces. To make sure you’re complying with the many records-related regulations, consult your legal, financial and accounting staff before tossing anything.
- Proper records storage. Ensuring records are safe from theft, fire and environmental damage such as water, heat and dust is important. Business owners should consider an off-site storage facility that specializes in records management services, as these businesses can also provide you with a number of value-added benefits.
- Discard unneeded files. Tossing files into the trash can put your business, employees and clients at great risk for falling victim to identity theft. Shred all documents before tossing them, including electronic media.
- Go electronic. If you want to reduce the amount of office space you use to store information, consider transitioning hardcopy records to an electronic format. By scanning files, information can be hosted through a secure website providing access to information with a click of a mouse.
Photo by Jon Glittenburg