The Anatomy of a Successful Records Management Plan
Wed, Sep 21, 2016
By: Jacob Gilmore
Records management professionals know that in order to solidify an effective records management solution, they need a bulletproof plan in place. And while organization is already a key tenet of your day-to-day, there’s more to a records management plan than meets the eye.
After all, following good record keeping procedures can help keep your business legally compliant while also providing benefits such as:
- Enabling easier, more secure access to important information
- Effectively safeguarding sensitive information
- Keeping physical documents and storage capacity in check
If you’ve been wondering how to boost your records management strategy, then check out our anatomy of a successful records management plan below.
Defined roles and responsibilities
Whether you are taking over another position or revamping your current practices, it helps to start from the ground up. Take some time to determine who in your company will be responsible for what when it comes to proper information management, from intake to filing to destruction. This is a good time to seek out a professional records management company to learn how they can take some of the load off your team.
Consistent inventory and assessments
Take a look around your office, storage units, or digital cloud-based storage programs and assess your current records storage and management process. These may include financial or personal data, email and general correspondence, tax information, or health care reports. Take some time to:
- Get to know where all your company’s sensitive information, non-vital documents, and extra copies are currently stored.
- Consider the security of your storage options, and which people have access.
- Dig into any existing retention schedules and the process for destroying documents at the end of their lifecycle.
Continuous monitoring ensures that you know where the records live, how they are accessed, and how things change from month to month or year to year.
Procedures for archiving and compliance
A successful records management plan will include information about how important information is received, documented, stored, accessed, and disposed of when the time comes. Consider your processes for paper files and electronic files, and how that transition works. When putting procedures in place, be sure to consider any legal compliance procedures outlined by well known laws like FACTA, HIPAA, and Sarbanes Oxley.
Accurate retention scheduling
An important part of any successful records management plan involves accounting for information retention — that is, how long certain records need to be kept on file. Companies can be fined for keeping certain documents too long, or disposing of them too early. It can help to work with a professional records management company to lay out an accurate records retention schedule, which would eliminate risk and keep you on track for proper document destruction at the right time.
A plan for the future
Planning for the future means documenting all processes and procedures, outlining responsibilities, and ensuring compliance every step of the way. When you follow solid best practices and a retention schedule, you’ll avoid being caught off-guard when documents are due for review or disposal.
Of course, should things take a turn for the worse, it helps to have a plan in place for business disaster recovery and prevention. This could involve recovering documents after a natural disaster like a fire or flood, or resolving accidental data loss after digital storage failure or even internal theft.
When creating or assessing your information management plan, it helps to have an experienced, trusted and certified partner on your side. For guidance putting your document management system in place, Gilmore Services is here to answer your questions. With more than 60 years’ experience with industrial document destruction, document scanning, document management, and secure document storage, Gilmore Services offers essential resources for a full records management plan for a variety of industries.
Learn more about records management services for your business today and check out our compliance flowchart to test if you're really a records management rock star.