Maintaining Chain of Custody

Maintaining Chain of Custody As businesses have started increasingly converting from paper documents to digital documents, chain of custody has become more and more important for electronic media.

Chain of custody is a documentation of where the documents are, who moved them there, and at what time they were moved.

By keeping the details on whereabouts of your digital documents, you are taking precautions to ensure that the data on those documents are safe. Without the chain of custody, you are putting your documents at risk of falling into the wrong hands.

There are a few steps you can follow in order to help maintain chain of custody:

  1. Know what electronic media you are moving, whether it be scanned documents, a laptop, hard drives, fax machines, or any other technology that contains information about your business. Keeping detailed descriptions about what kind of electronic media you are moving, when you have moved it, and where it has gone can help to keep you organized and on top of your chain of custody.
  2. Make sure that your documents are being transported safely and successfully to their destination. If you are moving your digital documents, hiring a professional scanning company to assist you would be wise.

    That way you will not risk the documents being stored in the wrong place or accidentally being leaked. If you are getting rid of your old machines that hold confidential documents on them, you could call a professional shredding company to ensure that all your electronic media is properly destroyed.

  3. Keep a log of your chain of custody. If you are having employees move your digital documents, it is important to train them properly. Have them keep track of who is moving the documents, which documents have been moved, and where to. If you choose to hire professionals, make sure they are secure and fit your record storage requirements.
  4. Simply make sure you are not violating your chain of custody. It is important that you keep all documents safe. No client or employee wants their personal information missing or leaked somewhere that anyone could find them.

    You probably wouldn’t want any confidential data from your business accidently being public for competitors to view or for financial information to be found. To help your business be successful, take the extra security measures to not let any confidential documents slip through while transporting electronic documents.

For more information on how to properly store and move your digital files, check out this paper “Maintaining the Chain of Custody in Civil Litigation”. It talks about the chain of custody from a legal perspective. To read in more detail about how to successfully maintain chain of custody, read the section Chain of Custody Log.

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