Electronic records management critical for regulatory compliance

March 21st, 2013 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Document and Information Capture | Information Management

Electronic record keeping has become inevitable to maintain operational efficiency and drive more informed decision-making. However, recent research has demonstrated that many organizations are still taking an ad-hoc approach to information management. By utilizing conversion services that support an effective transition to an electronic document management system, firms can ensure that records are secure and easily retrievable.

A recent AIIM survey revealed that for 42 percent of organizations, the volume of paper records is still increasing. Additionally, even firms that have switched to paperless systems demonstrate inadequate practices: nearly a third admit to the probability of multiple copies of records on desktops and mobile devices, complicating eDiscovery compliance. More than half of companies still rely on inefficient manual searches for eDiscovery across files, email and physical records. AIIM's report stressed that new auto-classification techniques will aid in archival and retrieval, improving search and discovery. John Mancini, president of AIIM, commented on the findings.

"Many organizations lack enterprise-wide information governance policies and even those that have them often don't train their staff and don't enforce the policy," he said. "Their only hope of keeping a lid on storage volumes is to set and implement rigid retention periods for their content. Not doing so also exposes them to increased risk in the courts… Executives need to wake up to this ticking time bomb."

Fortunately, AIIM's survey also found that 45 percent of organizations plan to increase their records management spending over the next two years. 

Controlling retention and accessibility
According to Becker's Hospital Review, inadequate information management often results from an unawareness of the data that an organization has created and retained. 
To avoid negative consequences from inadequate governance, the source recommended conducting a comprehensive inventory of all records. After gathering inventory, firms must establish a strong records retention policy that addresses individual responsibilities, schedules for retaining and destroying files, procedures for secure storing and transferring of files and access controls. Access controls should include all aspects of the record management program, including archives, microfilm and electronic images.

The news source reported that most enterprises retain up to 70 percent more records than is necessary for operations or required by law, and over 85 percent of records in the average firm will never be used or retrieved. By eliminating unnecessary information, organizations can lower operation costs and business risks while increasing ROI, accuracy of records and compliance with laws and regulations.

Preparation for litigation will increasingly depend on an enterprise's ability to transition away from costly paper record keeping and toward a more reliable electronic system.

Brought to you by Image One Corporation providing complete information governance since 1994.

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