Having you records stored, organized and easy to access might not save your infrastructure from spring flood or tornado damage, but it will get you back up and running quickly. Not to mention, failing on compliance or public relations issues can bring down your business just as quickly as a tornado can. Records management should not take a backseat when it comes to mitigating risks.
Ask yourself a few questions to see if your records management system is putting your organization at risk.
Where’s that insurance policy?
Without proper records management, you may not be able to locate documents necessary for protecting you financially in the event of a disaster. It would be nearly impossible to remember every insurance policy taken out in your organization, especially since some may have been purchased years ago. Having access to information about what is covered by insurance policies could save you money and hassle.
Can you comply quickly?
We’re working in an age of information. Not being able to produce information requested by auditors or authorities in a timely manner (or at all) now comes with hefty penalties. If a third party requests documentation that cannot be produced, your organization can be held liable for any damages caused by the lack of documentation. Fines for lost records will hurt a company’s bottom line and potentially damage its reputation as well.
Do your employees know their roles in records management?
Proper and effective records management requires participation at all levels of the organization and training employees is essential. If an employee fails to properly retain a vital record, management will be the ones held responsible down the line. In some cases, such loss of information can result in prosecution.
Are you up to date on laws and regulations?
Although most often problems are caused when records are lost or destroyed too quickly, there is also issue with keeping certain records for too long. The laws and regulations regarding length of time records can or should be kept are complicated and change often. Along with time, rules also vary concerning how a record can and should be stored—digitally or physically. Emerging technologies are also always changing the type of records that should be stored. It’s important that someone be tasked with keeping up on these laws and ensure that records management systems get adjusted to comply.
To best reduce risks, records management should be handled by trained employees and be comprehensive and flexible. Records management is not something that just happens; a system needs to be developed and implemented. Although there is some cost involved with creating a good records management system, it will protect your organization by greatly reducing risks and set it up for better disaster recovery.