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What is Records Management and Why is It Important

records management

Records management is the systematic control of records throughout their lifecycle, from creation or receipt, through maintenance and use, to final disposition. This practice is essential for organisations to maintain order and systematically control their information assets.

Businesses like MDSS, who specialise in document storage, document and IT destruction, and document scanning, effective records management is not just beneficial—it's critical.

Understanding Records Management

Records management involves a range of activities required to manage information that an organisation must keep as evidence of its compliance, operations, and internal processes. These records can be in paper or electronic format and need to be organised in such a way that they are easily retrievable, preserved, and destructible when no longer needed.

The Importance of Records Management

  • Compliance: Ensuring that records are kept in accordance with legal and regulatory requirements is one of the most compelling reasons for rigorous records management. This is paramount to avoid penalties for non-compliance.

  • Efficiency and Productivity: Proper records management enhances efficiency. Employees spend less time searching for information and more time using it effectively.

  • Risk Management: Managing records properly reduces the risk associated with data breaches and information loss. By having clear policies on how records are stored and destroyed, a company can minimise its vulnerability to information threats. You can read more about Retention Periods here.

  • Decision Making: Accurate, accessible, and reliable information leads to better decision-making. Having orderly records means that historical data is readily available to support future strategic decisions.

Best Practices in Records Management

To ensure effective records management, here are some best practices that organisations should consider:

  • Implement a Document Control System: Use a document management system (DMS) that supports indexing, search, and secure access controls. This technology helps in organising electronic documents and eases the retrieval process.

  • Regular Audits and Reviews: Schedule regular reviews and audits of your records. This helps ensure that outdated records are disposed of in a timely manner, and that current records are adequately protected and correctly filed.

  • Develop a Retention Schedule: Determine how long different types of records need to be kept with a retention schedule. This not only helps in compliance but also in managing storage and minimising unnecessary data accumulation. You can read more about Retention Periods here.

  • Training and Policies: Regular training sessions for staff about the importance of records management and the specific policies of the organisation are crucial. Ensure every employee understands their role in record-keeping.

  • Secure Disposal: When records reach the end of their retention period, they should be destroyed securely to prevent any chance of confidential information leakage. MDSS's Document and IT Destruction (website link) services ensure that sensitive data is handled and destroyed according to the highest security standards.

  • Embrace Automation: Automating records management processes can reduce human error and increase efficiency. Automation tools can help in categorising, storing, and retrieving records more effectively.

  • Monitor Access and Use: Keep track of who accesses records and when. This helps in maintaining the security and integrity of information.

For organisations that handle extensive document volumes, the ability to transfer records to an off-site location for archiving or active management is just one aspect of effective document management. Before documents are sent off for storage or retained on-site, they must be meticulously organised, inspected, and cataloged. This process should be carried out by employees who have a thorough understanding of the specific records management requirements of the organisation.

Effective records management is a cornerstone of successful business operations. At MDSS, focusing on robust records management strategies for our clients is essential not just for compliance and efficiency, but for sustaining their business growth and enhancing service delivery. By adhering to these best practices, MDSS ensures their clients' information assets are well-protected, easily accessible, and efficiently managed.

Want to find out how Records Management can benefit your business and improve processing? Contact us today!


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