Spring Cleaning: Refresh Your Approach to Document Storage
Spring has officially arrived in the northern hemisphere, and it may be accompanied by the urge to do some spring cleaning. Oftentimes this can mean tossing out anything that’s worn out or outdated. But when it comes to document storage, what you choose to keep – and how you keep it – is just as important as what you get rid of.
That’s what makes spring an excellent time to review your organization’s overall approach to document management and determine if it still fits your needs. One area to focus on in particular is records retention and if your company is in compliance with all relevant requirements.
Records retention compliance is serious business
Federal, state and local government agencies regularly update their policies regarding the retention and destruction of certain documents. This may include not only how long you retain records , but how you store documents and data during the required retention period. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in costly fines and penalties. And, depending on the circumstances, non-compliance may even expose your organization to litigation.
Focus your document management plan on three main areas
The more document or data-driven your industry, the more complex the government requirements may be regarding the retention, storage and destruction of certain documents and data. So, while auditing, or “spring cleaning,” your document management plan, be sure to focus on those key areas:
- Document Retention – Is your organization compliant with all records retention requirements? How often do you or your document management company audit all relevant federal, state and local records retention policies to ensure you know when it’s safe to dispose of stored inventory? An experienced document management firm has the expertise, experience and tools to manage your document retention policies and ensure your organization is compliant.
- Document Storage – Where and how are your documents and data stored? Is the facility secure, climate-controlled and equipped with the appropriate fire-suppression system so that your documents or physical records are safe in the event of an accident or natural disaster? Are your documents and other physical data organized using a sophisticated system that ensures a secure chain of custody and provides you with quick and easy access to your records?
- Document Destruction – What’s as important as storing the right documents in the right way for the right amount of time? You guessed it: destroying those documents in the right way. Typically, that means using a certified destruction method. This can include the secure shredding of documents or the purging of digital information from various devices. Is your organization following these methods or entrusting the job to a document management company that is SOC 2 certified in all destruction processes?
Once you’ve finished your spring cleaning, you can rest easy knowing that your organization is addressing all compliance and governance issues. Ahhh… a breath of fresh air!