The International Organization for Standardization defines record management as “the field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including the processes for capturing and maintaining evidence and information about businesses activities and transactions in the form of records.” So, efficient and systematic—great goals, but how do you get there?
On-Site Storage: Risky Business?
Many businesses still have large paper archives and are aware of how quickly ideals like “efficiency” and “systematic control” can go out the window as records pile up. Additionally, in-house, long-term document storage increases the risk of fire and water damage, theft of personally identifiable information (PII), and record mismanagement. Those risks are particularly acute when those records are your organization’s only copies and you don’t have back-up copies, either in paper or digital form. In the most extreme cases, paper-based record storage can create an unsafe work environment for employees. Such an example can be seen in a US Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General’s report about a VA facility in North Carolina, which found that the sheer weight of the combined folders and papers at the office, some of which had to be stacked on top of full file cabinets, exceeded the load-bearing capacity of the building.
But, policies and regulations, both internal and governmental, can impose restrictions and requirements for how long you must retain the records and how they’re handled. Therefore, you might not have much choice in whether or not you want to keep the records. But you do have control over how you keep your records.
What Are Your Options?
One option is off-site storage with a reputable records management company. Their facilities are built to safely and securely store your documents, with sprinkler systems, 24/7 security, and regulations that require boxes be stored a certain height off the floor (which helps prevent flood damage). But no matter where you choose to store your physical documents, digital copies of your documents are another way to manage your information.
Digital document storage makes it possible for businesses and organizations to access their documents quickly and from multiple locations, increasing speed and efficiency. Passwords, audit trails, access permissions, and other security measures can be used to protect stored information from theft or mismanagement. With optical character recognition (OCR) and metadata, you can find digitized documents quickly and efficiently, a task that’s much more difficult with paper files. Finding the document you’re looking for becomes as easy as using your favorite online search engine—just type in what you’re looking for and up it comes.
Efficiency and Control
Properly managed, digital documents don’t just take up less physical space and time spend finding them, they give your organization systematic control over them. A locked door keeps everyone without a key out of the room. But, unless each file cabinet has its own lock and key, once in the room, an individual has access to all the files. With a good content management system, individual documents can have their own permissions, giving you total control over what documents can be accessed by whom. The very best solutions ensure version control (when multiple employees are working within a single document), advanced security options, seamless integration with other applications (like Microsoft Office, Salesforce CRM, SAP, DocuSign, and Microsoft SharePoint, as examples).
As you can tell, we’re huge proponents of good records management, and the most modern solutions involve digital document storage. So, what do we use? iCOR by M-Files.
iCOR by M-Files is an incredibly versatile enterprise content management (ECM) software solution, integrating digital document storage with a host of other features and tools that empower your organization to accomplish more.
iCOR by M-Files gives you the power to:
- Organize your digital documents and information using metadata tags and OCR
- Find documents instantly by simple keyword searches
- Protect and secure documents
- Securely access your documents from any internet-enabled device
- Scan and save documents from any scanner or application
The best part? It requires no special training and is easy to use quickly and effectively, ensuring a high adoption rate.
iCOR by M-Files goes beyond mere digital document storage. It’s a platform that manage and automate your workflow processes, wherever they currently reside.