« Back

Records Management Guide for Document Retention

Records Management Guide

It’s official – it’s the New Year. Businesses of all sizes are hoping to conquer year-end goals and be more efficient in the months ahead. With that said, it’s also the perfect time of year to consider implementing, or reevaluating, a records and information management (RIM) strategy for your business.

Why is records management important?

Records management is an organizational function that is dedicated to the development and maintenance of a system that manages records throughout their lifecycle. While a business’ records management is not directly considered a profit center, it protects institutional memory and provides evidence of business transactions and activities.

From improved data security, cost savings, exceptional information value, reduced compliance worries, to less administrative work, records management offers quality benefits to a business. Also, well-enforced records management processes can help clear paper clutter for a healthier working environment. Overall, records management equips your company to make better business decisions, setting it up for long-term success.

Step-by-Step Guide for Successful Records Management

A records management program ensures that RIM processes and procedures are correctly implemented throughout your organization. In the modern business climate, applying these guidelines is essential as information and its formats change. Also, the evolving regulatory landscape presents a continual challenge for companies to stay compliant.

From physical files, digital records, emails, and social media posts, comprehensive records management accounts for information in all forms. Here’s your records management guide to getting your office prepared for the year ahead:

1. Information Governance

AHIMA defines information governance (IG) as “an organization-wide framework for managing information throughout its lifecycle and for supporting the organization’s strategy, operations, regulatory, legal, risk, and environmental requirements.” It includes standardized processes, metrics, and guidelines that treat information as a valuable business asset.

By making information governance a strong focus of your records management strategy, your organization will have a coordinated plan to manage volumes of data and reach its goals.

2. Complete Consistency

Consistency is the key to a successful records management strategy. From administration to C-suite, every employee and level of management needs to follow to the same policies and guidelines to ensure files are properly recorded and managed.

By enforcing policies and procedures consistently, your organization will benefit from an organized RIM program with systematic controls in place.

3. Retention Policies

Retention policies must be created to ensure data is appropriately managed from its initial point of creation to its ultimate disposal for legal purposes.  Business operations must also be considered when developing retention policies to keep records available for efficient processes. Also, companies need to remember the transfer of data from one storage device to another when implementing a retention strategy.

By using a professional records management provider, you can easily keep track of retention schedules with automated systems.

4. Policies and Procedures to Support Compliance

A vital component of a successful records management strategy is also compliance. A compromise of security can lead to a data breach which puts your company’s reputation and customer data at risk. A business that falls victim to a data breach with exposed client information can expect significant penalties and lost customer loyalty.

For records management to be effective, a company must implement a wide-ranging approach to support its compliance standards that protect your business and its information.

5. Secure Data Availability

Only reliable, accessible, and timely data can help yield higher value, reduce costs, and improve client experience. When it comes time to locate data for audits, customer inquiries, or legal obligations, ensuring that it’s securely accessible is crucial. RIM based on an efficient records management software application offers a secure way for authorized users to access files with ease.

6. Purge Physical Records and Documents

Finally, the purging of physical records and documents that are no longer required to be kept for legal or operational purposes is an essential part of a records management strategy. And with the New Year officially upon us, it is an excellent opportunity to dispose and destroy records.

While shredding documents is a time-consuming process, partnering with a RIM partner with scheduled shredding services helps cut paper clutter in a secure way. Also, a provider with offsite records storage, document scanning, and tape vaulting can significantly benefit your overall records and information management strategy, ensuring company-wide governance and productivity goals are met.

It’s Time to Implement Your Records Management Strategy

This coming New Year, make records information a top priority so that your company can reap the benefits of having a well-coordinated and secure RIM program.

At Vital Records Control, our primary focus is to provide you with more value for your information with compliant, time-sensitive, and cost-effective records management solutions. We customize our information management models to fit your unique needs. With a wide range of RIM services and several locations throughout the U.S., our team of specialists is dedicated to providing you with the local service you deserve at a national scale you can rely on.

Contact Vital Records Control