How to Find the Right Records Management Company
Are you looking for a records management company for your record retention needs?
Or, if you have one already, are you satisfied with them?
Most records management companies try to sell similar attributes, so it often boils down to finding one that meets the unique needs of your organization.
Ultimately, a records and information management partner must be reliable and provide the level of support required to help you properly manage your information assets throughout their lifecycle. Otherwise, you’re left frustrated and locked into an agreement that you can’t wait to get out of.
Questions for Your Prospective Records Management Company
Just like any vendor your business works with, knowing what to look out for on the front end is essential to building a successful long-term partnership – and a records management company is no different. The following questions can help you prioritize and focus on what to pay attention to when exploring a prospective partner:
1) What do you offer for record retention?
If you haven’t already, it’s imperative to start tracking and managing your records with a well-maintained record retention schedule to control your document inventory. Properly maintaining your information throughout its lifecycle is essential to ensure compliance with state, federal, and industry regulations.
Depending on your industry, your record retention requirements will vary. Your retention schedules are based on regulations that identify what you must retain, the period that you need to maintain it, and how it must be destroyed.
Records management systems provide you with instant insight into what inventory you have and when to dispose of it, reducing long-term storage costs and potential litigation risk. By working with a vendor that provides the technology to help you automate records retention, you’ll streamline office efficiency with a complete inventory audit trail.
2) What about reporting and inventory management?
Your information is a valuable asset to your organization and enables you to make informed business decisions. However, keeping all of your information assets on hand is challenging, takes up time, and puts you at risk.
Recent research by AIIM identifies that 75% of businesses consider “information chaos,” a significant problem in their organization that can lead to severe issues. However, 60% of document retention and disposition processes are still performed manually. So, how do you manage the chaos?
Ask your information partner about their inventory management and reporting features that can streamline workflow and reduce redundancy. With the right information partner, you can store business assets – whether physical or electronic – and get access when you need it.
Various records management systems enable you to order retrievals and shred service requests. Want to know what records are stored offsite? You can quickly run an online inventory report, so you know what your storing and disposition of every file.
Additionally, be sure to inquire about the customized features that a vendor’s inventory system offers. Does it provide multi-level user role assignments, allowing you to control who searches and retrieves boxes and files?
3) What are your certifications?
The records management company you employ should be committed to the development of sound internal safeguards for information confidentiality, privacy, and business practices.
After all, your clients want assurance that their information is protected, especially if your business deals with financial or health-related personal data.
To ensure your records information management provider upholds the highest standards for data privacy and protection, ask if they comply or have certifications with the following:
- National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Compliance
- Important for federal agencies, storage facilities should meet NARA 36 CFR 1234 storage requirements.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- HIPAA is now best known for safeguarding the privacy of patients and ensuring patient health information (PHI) is secured properly.
- Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Compliance
- The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) requires all publicly-held companies to establish internal controls and procedures for financial reporting to reduce the possibility of corporate fraud.
- Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE 18) Engagement
- The replacement of SSAE 16, this standard includes enhanced rules targeted to increase the quality of SOC reports. SSAE-18 requires companies to implement a third-party vendor management program and a formal process to gauge annual risk assessment.
- National Association for Information Destruction (NAID)
- NAID® is the international trade association for companies providing information destruction services. NAID’s mission is to promote the information destruction industry and the standards and ethics of its member companies.
- Professional Records & Information Services Management(PRISM)
- PRISM International is the nonprofit trade association for records information management, including physical record storage and management, data protection services, document conversion, and secure destruction services.
4) What safeguards do you have for information security?
Familiarizing yourself with the security measures of your potential information partner is just as important as establishing your own organization’s security standards.
Make sure your prospective partner performs background checks on all of its employees that will be responsible for handling your inventory – from pickup/delivery to offsite storage at the facilities.
Additionally, a professional offsite storage provider should have advanced security standards at their facilities, including the following:
- External perimeter security
- Climate control
- Screened and background-checked professionals
- Controlled access points
- 24-hour live security and alarm monitoring system
- ESFR (Early Suppression Fast Response) fire suppression systems
How Does Your Records Management Company Stack Up?
When it comes to selecting the right records management company, it’s essential to know that your records, and your servicing needs, are in good hands. The best partnerships start when both parties are clear about their requirements and expectations upfront.
Do you have more questions about records and information management? Check out our Knowledge Center for more information.