Record keeping is essential for all sized companies. Having organized records helps businesses preserve information, retrieve information in a timely manner, comply with state and federal regulations and ensures that your sensitive information is secure.
But with all the records management techniques available, which records management strategy is right for your business? Here are some common records management needs and the proper records management strategy:
- Clearing the clutter: As boxes continue to multiply the clutter will eventually take over the office space. There are two basic options to cut through the clutter. First, you can simply store your records off-site in a secure records storage facility. The second option is to convert your paper records into electronic files. Since millions of records can fit onto a single hard drive, the electronic documents are another great way to save space.
- Managing and maintaining records: Every business generates paperwork and the documents need to be cared for throughout their life cycle. Some documents, particularly tax and legal files, need to be retained for several years. These documents are perfect for storage in an off-site facility. With all other records, consider converting them into electronic documents for the flexibility to easily find and access records instantly.
- Storing documents forever: Many businesses have archived files that they need to keep for the long haul. With archival storage, your records need to be protected in a secure, dedicated, climate controlled facility. Electronic storage is another good option for long-term storage. Digital data takes up only a small fraction of the space of paper documents.
- Protecting sensitive information: Records management is more than just storing old files; it’s about keeping them safe as well. Since cases of fraud and theft can happen to any business, it is of utmost importance to store your records in a secure location. Lock files and limit access with keys and passwords. Change passwords frequently and install firewalls and virus protection. Consider converting specific vital records to electronic format and managing all sensitive files on a secure online repository. Or store your records at a secure off-site facility.
The need for a records management program can vary from one organization to another, but one thing in common is that all businesses should implement some type of recordkeeping strategy. For more information about records management, visit www.ssbrm.com.
Photo by Stefan Erschwendner.