Preserving and protecting business records in the 21st century is a challenge for any business. Vast amounts of documents and data are hard to manage internally with limited staff and office space. Identity theft and business fraud risks are on the rise and compliance requirements are as strict as ever. To navigate these challenges, follow these three important tips:
1. Create a Records Retention Policy
To preserve and protect important business records, you need a record retention policy. A record retention policy ensures you keep documents and data as long as legally possible. It captures all the records your business creates and defines how long to retain them and when they should be discarded.
Categorize your records into classes and series with a retention period stated in terms of months or years. Since legal retention requirements vary from state to state and industry to industry, consult with your attorney regarding record retention laws as they relate to your business. Make sure to review your record retention policy annually to determine the impact of legal changes to mandated retention requirements.
2. Store Information Offsite
Your paper and digital records are vital to the operation and survival of your business. That’s why it’s important to protect them from theft, fire and water damage. Offsite storage eliminates unauthorized access to your business records and protects them from natural disasters. Choose a commercial records center to store your paper documents and files. Once at a records center, your hard copy records are barcoded, stored on high density racking systems and protected with advanced fire protection and security technology.
An electronic vaulting service is perfect for preserving and protecting your digital records. As it changes, your data is backed up remotely and then stored in an electronic vault. You get a seamless data protection and prevention solution without the need to buy expensive software and equipment.
3. Dispose of Records in a Secure Manner
A periodic review of your records ensures documents and data are disposed of securely at the end of the retention lifecycle. Paper records should always be shredded when they reach their final retention date. Use a shredding and destruction service to make sure your documents aren’t placed in the trash.
Expired electronic records must also be disposed of in a secure manner. Deleting files from hard drives and tapes doesn’t entirely eliminate sensitive data. Your shredding and destruction provider can offer a media destruction solution to ensure expired electronic records are completely destroyed. First, your media is degaussed and eradicated, erasing all data. Second, a delamination process is used to separate the data-bearing material from the disc. Finally, the media is ground into small particles. Together, these processes eliminate any chance of having your electronic records compromised.
Following these tips and your business records will be well prepared for meeting the preservation and protection challenges in the 21st century.
Records Management Center provides businesses throughout Augusta, Evans, Thomson, Martinez, GA, Aiken, SC, as well as the Central Savannah River Area, with professional records and information management solutions. To learn more, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.