How Effective Is Your Records Management Program?

4/2/2010

Government regulations specifying how information must be handled keep changing while the volumes of paperwork companies are managing keep increasing. In order to meet the challenges in this new environment, more and more organizations are reevaluating the effectiveness of their records management programs. When determining how effective your current program is, there are three critical areas that must be analyzed: compliance, risk, and cost.

Depending on your industry, you must adhere to such regulations as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) Act, the Fair, Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA), and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX). Try telling a federal regulator that you were unaware of a regulation that affects your business and you’ll receive a cold reception. Regardless of the reason, if your company isn’t compliant and fails to protect its information, you may face fines and possible criminal charges.

Along with following all of the regulations, your company faces new risks if documents are lost or misplaced. You also can no longer simply leave critical information in a file cabinet or discard paper in the trash. In the wrong hands, files and paperwork containing confidential information can be used to steal the identity of employees or customers, provide competitors with vital records, and threaten the integrity of your company. FACTA is just one of the regulations that describe how documents must be securely destroyed.

The final factor to consider when evaluating your records management program is cost. You not only have to consider the costs involved in achieving compliance but also the costs to the company if information is lost. When business records storage and retrieval is handled in-house, managers spend an average of four weeks each year searching for or waiting on misfiled, mislabeled, untracked or lost information. Office workers can waste up to two hours a day looking for misplaced paperwork. Large organizations also lose a document every 12 seconds while the average cost of recreating a one-page document is $180.

Effectively Manage Your Business Records

After weighing all of these factors, a company has to determine if it has the resources and expertise to effectively manage its records internally or if it should rely on a full service, off-site, hard copy storage provider. If a company decides to take on this responsibility in-house, they are pulling staff and office space away from core business initiatives. A significant investment also must be made to build the necessary infrastructure and incorporate the latest records management technologies in order to ensure the proper retrieval of information. This means that continual upgrades will need to be performed on internal systems.

Turning to a records management provider may turn out to be the best approach for ensuring that your company’s program reduces risk, cuts costs, and achieves compliance. Records management providers are able to achieve economies of scale, which enables them to perform a variety of services for less cost than when handled internally. In order to remain competitive, the leading providers also continually integrate the latest technology so that records can be indexed, stored and retrieved in the shortest time possible. This may include a virtual file delivery service that offers immediate access to records over a secure Internet connection.

Enhance Your Records Management and Business Records Storage Program with Archive Systems

One provider that organizations from a variety of different industries have been turning to in order to enhance their records management programs is Archive Systems. The company provides a full service, offsite, business records storage solution, which empowers you to manage the document lifecycle from Source-to-Shred. This includes secure business records storage and retrieval, delivery, indexing, virtual file delivery, document destruction, and consulting services. With multiple Record Center facilities, complete with barcode tracking, system-driven workflows, and sophisticated records management systems, Archive Systems keep your records protected yet easily accessible.

By utilizing a service provider such as Archive Systems, companies are able to reduce the risk of loss and damage to vital records, ensure regulatory compliance, increase records retrieval efficiency, and protect confidentiality and security. All of this is accomplished while reducing the costs associated with records storage, retrieval and maintenance.


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