Optimizing a Record Management System

optimizing a record management system for your business record nations

For any document created or received in an office setting, the information that’s made and used in office activities greatly reflects a company’s policies, procedures, and decisions. These documents most often have administrative and legal value to them, and record management systems work to help maintain, receive, and dispose of these documents. It can supervise records throughout its lifecycle and help businesses maintain compliance with retention procedures.

Having a records management system in place means that you’ll be able to manage and control how you manage your documents effectively. Leveraging these systems in your business is the best way to guarantee to preserve and access your records. If you want to learn how to implement best and use these systems, we’ll provide you with ways to use this system for a better, more effective work environment. 

The Difference Between Records and Documents

Documents and records, despite sounding similar, are two different things. While businesses use documents in day-to-day activities and constantly edit and revise them, records maintain an unedited format approved and finalized by an organization. Many records start as documents and become records, most often used in legal obligations. Some examples of these records include employee records, government notices, legal notices, and contracts – all of these examples show evidence that you can reference for future use. Documents typically have a short retention period, while you can save records for longer periods. 

What is a Records Management System?

A records management system uses management techniques to ensure that the records align with the company’s legal principles and properties and acts as a management system to propose, develop, and apply compliance policies and procedures. It also allows the creation of regulatory schedules and protects records against unauthorized loss or access. It focuses on maintaining the entire lifecycle of a record until you need to dispose of it, and these systems help increase productivity, mitigate risks, and protect against data breaches and compliance issues. 

The Benefits of Record Management Systems

Record Nations help your business easily manage your records

Having a functioning records management system in practice can benefit your business. Records management systems can improve efficiency, provide faster records retrieval, enhance workflow, and help minimize risks associated with legal compliance and data breaches. Here are some reasons that you should consider investing in a records management system in your business: 

Easier Compliance

As record compliance continues to grow stricter, it’s become even more important for businesses to have a solid records management system to meet these regulations. Regulations such as HIPAA, FACTA, and the HITECH Act all have requirements for records and how to manage them, and having a records management system that meets these requirements means that you can integrate and comply with these regulations more easily. Record management systems also protect your business in noncompliance cases, which can lead to legal actions if you don’t follow them. 

Financial Savings

If your business brings in volumes of reports, emails, and other documents daily, then all that information requires considerable time to sort through and store. Records management systems help provide better storage space for your documents and help you gain better control over the growth and development of your records, which helps your business save time and money. 

Faster Retrieval

Information is useful when you can properly retrieve it, so if you cannot access your files, there’s no point in storing them. Record management systems, especially cloud-based systems, make retrieving documents more streamlined, allowing you to easily dispose of unwanted, outdated documents for better use of your time and energy. Your employees can also share and update data in a cloud-based system regularly, improving your company’s efficiency. 

Better Workflow

Many companies and agencies don’t often spend their time organizing and searching for records. It can take hours to find, sort, and refile documents and records stored on-site through various filing cabinets. Having a unified records management system removes the tediousness this problem involves. It helps you and your employees access data and details more effectively, improving your company’s ability to handle business promptly. 

Data Protection

Protecting your data is a significant concern many agencies face, and having intelligent programs to handle personal files and confidential information from identity theft and cyber-attacks is. Effective records management systems can digitize your incoming documents and place them in a searchable archive as soon as you receive it. Through this system and additional IT programs, it should be safeguarded and accessible whenever you need it. 

Preserve Records

Having a records management system means you’ll be able to preserve the vast amounts of data your company holds, which you can use as a reference for future planning and decision-making. Every record your company saves down the line can be useful for important business decisions, policy updates, etc. These systems help preserve your records and can be a useful resource for fact-checking and confirming information about your company and its employees. 

Minimize Risks 

The risks of litigation and legal penalties tend to be more prominent for businesses that don’t have an efficient management system. Implementing a thorough, efficient records management system can help minimize the risks of liabilities associated with document disposal, and can be used to help protect against unwanted or unforeseen events. Most compliance risks often come from documents that are destroyed prematurely. Still, a records management system helps remove documents stored for too long and protects your business in legal proceedings. 

How to Design and Implement a Record System in 8 Steps

the 8 steps for designing and implementing a record management system

While storing paper documents is still a common approach to records management, it’s considered an outdated and inefficient system, especially as documents come and go quickly in today’s digitally thriving environment. If you’re looking to simplify your workflow, then a records management system will be able to provide the automation and management you need to resolve all types of paper-related problems. However, even if you work with a cloud-based program that provides record management services, it’s still important to establish the policies for your records and help integrate them into your business model. Here’s a short, step-by-step guide on how to establish those policies and incorporate an efficient records management system into your company: 

Step 1: Complete Inventory of All Records

Before placing any new processes in place, ensure you understand your project’s scope. Get a complete inventory of the records that you need to manage. Once you’ve organized your records and relevant documents, you can begin implementing processes that coincide with your data management needs. This means also researching different record management systems and their benefits and costs. 

Step 2: Determine Who Has Access To Process Records

Once you determine how you wish to manage your records, decide who will manage each step of the process and what steps you need to manage overall. Defining these factors can help ensure that your records management system is easily understood and can be easily scaled. 

Step 3: Make a Records Retention and Destruction Schedule

Developing a record retention program alongside your record management system will help you review, retain, and destroy records throughout your business’s activities. This program helps maintain guidelines for your record management system and determine how long you should keep specific records and how you should destroy them. 

Step 4: Determine How To Store and Manage Your Records

Document management systems, cloud storage services, and even secure off-site record storage facilities will all be able to provide their benefits and disadvantages for your business. All of these options will have different systems in place to store and manage records, and the one that works best for you will depend on your business, workflow, finances, and other factors. Before moving forward, research how these systems compare to your needs. 

Step 5: Create and Document Proper Procedures

Creating a thorough procedure for your documents and records means you can inform employees, staff members, and others in your organization about how to process and organize records. This includes establishing who has authorized access, providing instructions on organizing and locating records, methods for safeguarding data, and how to dispose of outdated documents

Step 6: Create a Disaster Recovery Plan

A disaster recovery plan will provide you with security in cases of cyber-attacks, natural disasters, and other incidents that may occur. A recovery plan allows you to protect your records and ensures to safeguard and regularly back up your business. When developing your disaster recovery plan, it’s important to consider the types of backup options at your disposal, the costs of maintaining these backup systems, ways to prevent environmental damage to your office, and how your document management system implements security measures in cases of a potential data breach. 

Step 7: Training and Implementation

Ensuring your employees know how to use and follow your new records management plan is important, as they’ll be able to properly engage with the policies and procedures involved in handling documents with sensitive data. This includes training sessions on how to engage with document software, defining who qualifies for access to specific records, procedures to follow in data breach cases, and informing them of how long you should keep records and when you should dispose of them. 

Step 8: Maintaining and Auditing the Record Management System

Once you’ve successfully incorporated your records management system into your organization, make sure to monitor and document any issues or problems that may arise over the next few months to the first year of its creation. If any problems or inefficiencies do occur, you can update and audit new procedures to help address those issues for a more efficient records management system.

Develop Your Records Management System with Record Nations 

If you’re experiencing issues creating a records management program to manage and store your documents, then Record Nations can help. At Record Nations, our extensive team can help you create a records management that works best for your business. To learn more about our services, fill out our contact form, use the available live chat feature, or call us at (866) 385-3706 to get started. 

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