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Managing records and information in network drives

September 29, 2015
Network drive terminal

Though network drives are not the ideal location to store sensitive information, the practice is widespread. This article helps you understand how to manage records and information on shared drives,

The up and downsides of managing records and information in network drives

Many of the organizations that we work with store their records on network drives. Here’s our take on the up and downsides of storing records in a network drive. First and foremost, all information that your organization receives, creates or uses as part of business activities should be managed as a record. The article

This includes digital information such as:

  • Word and other text files
  • Speadsheets
  • Emails
  • Databases
  • Images
  • Audio and video files
  • Presentations
  • Scanned materials
 

Network functionality as a records management tool

On its own, a network drive does not provide the functionality needed to effectively manage information and records in accordance with established standards.

However, network drives are sometimes used in organizations with limited resources or as a temporary solution prior to the implementation of a system with greater records management functionality.

The National Archives of Australia has a fantastic article with advice on managing your information on a network drive. The article lists risks, and ways to minimize these risks.

Records management in shared drives, step-by-step

Here are steps you can take to improve the management of records in shared drives, but it requires a systematic approach and significant ongoing effort.

1. Understand the risks

  • Records stored in network drives can be easily altered or deleted by anyone who has access to the drive.
  • It is difficult to create audit trails to indicate who has modified or deleted records and therefore difficult to demonstrate the authenticity, integrity and trustworthiness of uncontrolled records in network drives.
  • Appropriate metadata (information about the records) is often missing, and there are no links between documents and their business context.
  • Network drives are often poorly managed, resulting in large volumes of uncontrolled information. This becomes difficult to manage, takes up network space and makes it inefficient to access and re-use information.
  • It is difficult to find relevant records in network drives
  • It can be difficult to be sure of the status of information, for example, whether it is a draft, final or official version.

2. Reduce the risks by

  • Establishing an information governance framework
  • Communicating with staff and provide training
  • Developing tools, guidelines, and procedures such as an agreed folder structure and conventions for naming folders and documents
  • Actively monitoring and managing the network drive and providing ongoing support

Find out more

The article goes into detail on how to move forward and improve your situation. For more information, click here to see the article. If you want even more information, give us a holler and let’s talk.

Thanks for reading.

David Reagler, Certified Records Manager

President, Arkansas Records Management

1 Comment:

  1. jdempsey@cablelynx.com on

    This is a great article and gets to the heart of the matter.

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Arkansas Records Management is a professional service company based here in Hot Springs, Arkansas. We serve organizations throughout the state and our staff eats, sleeps, and breathes files, indexed fields, retention schedules, and audit trails. As records become more and more complex, and the task of properly managing your firm's documents is a key and often overwhelming task.

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