The Best Way to Manage Your Records and Digital Archives

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Digital data and documents has become the norm for every organization. Businesses need to protect the information stored in their digital records and archives, or risk facing costly damages if they fail.

It may still seem like a burden to many employees; an extra cost without direct returns for organizational leaders. A holistic approach to records management and digital archiving can improve this mindset, and here is how you do it.

The difference between records management and digital archiving

Before we proceed, it is important to clarify what records management and digital archiving are.

Electronic records management is the entire process of managing digital records. These records are the information that can serve as proof of legal obligations and business transactions, including those that need to be kept for a certain period due to legal obligations, such as permits, contracts, and invoices. Electronics records management is about overseeing these records, from reception or creation until preservation.

Digital archiving is primarily focused on the preservation of electronic records. It is when records are not actively used anymore, but are still preserved for a definite period of time. In the organization, it requires a shared understanding, and optimal records management practices among all employees. There are also digital preservation services that collect records from the Internet and preserve them as evidence.

To involve the entire organization in effective records management and digital archiving, you can utilize the following guidelines.

Implement records management principles from the beginning

From the moment a content enters your system, you should embed the principles of records management. For example, you can make the document classification (e.g. invoice, contract) a mandatory step in entering a record.

This minimizes the effort required in complying with your company’s records management policies for every type of document later on. Make sure that each content has well-defined metadata, which provides information in facilitating records management compliance.

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Have an effective content structure

There are content management systems wherein the content structure is a folder structure. You should find a balanced configuration that is intuitive for knowledge workers, in line with their regular activities, and ensures the capture of the necessary contextual information. There should be no extra filing needed to archive the content when it is no longer active. Each document has to be either stored in its archival location from the beginning, or is transferred automatically to its proper archive.

Roles and permissions should cover content creation, records management, and collaboration

Upon the creation of content, default roles and permissions have to be automatically applied to ensure that the entire system is consistent. User permissions should be determined by the context, which is usually the content’s folder structure and properties.

All actions done on the content should be automatically logged in audit trails. This lets you automatically generate reports, access all content manipulation types, and comply with the policies for records management.

Involving all your employees in the records management and digital archiving process lets you have a cost-effective information management system. You offer them a user-friendly platform for content creation, management, and collaboration, while making sure that your records management needs are met. Employees will no longer see the process as a burden, and, as a business leader, the easier workflow will definitely prove that it is a worthy investment.

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