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Scanning and saving is not enough

August 29, 2014

A false sense of security

The all-to-popular office practice of scanning and saving a document to a hard drive without a system of tracking and retrieval is little more than the electronic version of boxing paper and stacking it in a closet. Even though once the scan and save is complete, one may feel satisfied that an effective backup is done, that feeling is a false sense of security with potentially disastrous results.

The consequences of scanning and saving

This brings to mind the consequences of scanning and saving without a tracking and retrieval system experienced by a Little Rock customer. They were scanning and storing their records on several hard drives in their network. A staff member attempted to load some new software into their systems and in so doing accidentally deleted more than 400,000 documents. The IT manager wasn’t told what the content was on the drives and by the time they caught the error, it was no longer feasible to recover the lost information from their backups.

That’s a shame, and is preventable, because most businesses and professional practices today have the hardware technology in place to implement effective records management, but they are not taking full advantage of what they have.

Five Steps to Effective Records Management

These steps will steer you in the right direction

Five steps to effective records management

Moving from the electronic closet to effective records management is a five step process. You should implement this functionality:

  • Declare the record.  Not all documents are records.  An email deciding where to go to lunch does not need to be retained.  An email confirming a purchase order for equipment does.
  • Classify the record.  Once a document is declared a record, you must attach a retention period with it.  Work orders, for instance might be stored for 3 years after the job is complete. Health records might have to be stored for 10 years.
  • Store the record.  The electronic record must be stored, and at the same time, made available for staff to utilize it and accomplish “work”.
  • Protect the record.  The record HAS to have integrity.  It can’t be altered or destroyed during it’s useful life.
  • Enforce the retention and disposition.  When it is time for the record to be moved from “active” status to “inactive” status or destroyed, the system must facilitate this process.

Upsides and downsides

There are a lot of upsides to this procedure and no downsides that I know of:

  • You know where everything is and have quick operational access
  • You keep the records you need for regulatory compliance and can easily access those records
  • With a proper records management systems you can eventually destroy unneeded records or even archive them, if that is your choice.

You do not have to go it alone

The good news is, you do not have to figure out how to do all this on-your-own. We provide software, training, and support to effectively streamline records management for virtually any operation. With effective records management, the ultimate benefit is you free up staff time and company resources to do more of what you do best.

Thanks,
David Reagler

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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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