Written by: Ryan Hughes
Managing Director of the Document Warehouse, Through a positive customer focused approach, Ryan’s aim is to help make the minefield of administration a simple easy process focusing on three areas, keeping his customers legally compliant, streamlining workflow of data interaction process and reducing cost in doing so. His philosophy is “the answer is yes, whatever the question?” when it comes to innovative records management .
Facts about Document Management in the UK
Below are some interesting facts from a variety of industry sources related to the need for document management.
- “90% of records filed after the completion of a transaction are never referred to again.
- “67% of data loss is directly related to user blunders, making them 30 times more menacing than viruses and the leading cause of data loss.”
- “Active files typically grow at a rate of about 25% annually.”
- “Keeping some records but not others beyond their scheduled retention can increase exposure to negative inference in audit or litigation.”
- “Organisations without retention programs can often remove from higher-cost offices areas as much as 55% of records being kept there—as either obsolete (to be destroyed immediately) or inactive (must be retained but may be transferred to a low-cost records centre).”
- “Because they have taken no inventory, most organisations have no way of knowing what all their information assets are and where those assets are located.”
- “At any given time, between 3% and 5% of an organisation’s files are lost or misplaced. The average cost of recreating a document is £118. Annual loses for a Fortune 100 company with one million files is 3.279 million pounds.”
- “6% of PCs will suffer an episode of data loss in any given year; each incident costs an average of £1,677 to fix, including costs such as retrieving and recovering the missing information, lost productivity, technical services, and the data’s average value.”
- “Office workers can waste up to two hours a day looking for misplaced paperwork – at total of 500 hours (62.5 days) per year.”
- “Computer users spend 7.5% of their time on a PC looking for misplaced files.”
- “Companies typically misfile 2% to 7% of their records.”
- “30% of paperwork is useless and could be eliminated. 37% of photocopies made are unnecessary.”
- “7.5% of documents are lost forever.”
- “UK managers spend an average of 4 weeks a year searching for or waiting on misfiled, mislabelled, untracked, or ‘lost’ papers.”
- “Large organisations lose a document every 12 seconds.”
- “While physical volume of records will continue to be reduced through greater and greater information packing density, the number of records grows faster than the rate of disposal, and the need for maintaining accuracy of information, effective indexing, correct retrievals, and application of retention scheduling does not diminish.”
Why Records Storage?
Records storage is vital for many reasons. With the right records storage solutions, organisations can:
- Manage, contain, control, secure, retain and destroy business records and information in a manner that complies with company procedures and systems.
- Stay in compliance with industry-specific and legal requirements.
- Maintain permanent digital records that can be accessed quickly and securely.
- Control the quantity and quality of stored records to increase efficiency.
- Save time otherwise wasted by spending office hours managing–often incorrectly—company records.
- Cut costs accrued from hours and personnel used for records management.
Why Onsite Records Storage Is Not Ideal
Many assume that onsite document storage, in the office or office building, is the most cost-effective form of storage. However, onsite storage is, in fact, far more expensive—and riskier. Running an onsite records storage management system requires manpower, security and precious time to maintain every aspect of the system. In the end, it can be extremely costly to upkeep and the security vulnerabilities may be too much to risk.
Offsite Records Management Solutions
Offsite records storage is a cost-effective, secure alternative to keeping sensitive information in an unsecured onsite location. Relying on an experienced, specialised records management company like TDW Records Management will provide the peace of mind and confidence you need and deserve when it comes to your document storage and management.
With TDW Records Management:
- All records remain in one place, organised to fit your needs and tracked, indexed and protected within a secured facility.
- Document management system can be created to your specifications according to your company’s needs.
- Secured, controlled access protects files from theft, tampering, altering and unlawful destruction.
- Digital information safely and permanently remains backed up.
- 24/7 secure access to files Document retention and shredding services help your company remain in compliance with legal & governmental l mandates and tracks your company’s retention schedule at all times.
- Electronic conversation (scanning) of your physical documents of information is available quickly and securely.
- Physical documents are safely stored and indexed in a climate-controlled, offsite, secure location.
Enterprise Records Management
Enterprise Records Management (ERM) is the discipline of capturing, managing, accessing, and securing information that must be preserved and protected for legal, regulatory, or business purposes across the organisation.
In today’s context of increasing governance and regulatory oversight, organisations are using ERM in every country of operation and across borders. This requires compliance with multiple regulations across different jurisdictions. Organisations are driven by the legal obligation to protect, retain, and intelligently destroy records and information according to business rules, as well as the need to leverage business value from critical information assets to drive efficiencies.
The enterprise must capture, manage, retain, and protect electronic information produced by knowledge workers, project groups, and held within physical records. Important information also resides in a range of business applications, and in SharePoint, Web 2.0 media, and social media. Also of critical importance is the need to simplify information discovery across 100% of enterprise content.
Key benefits of enterprise records management
- Meeting regulatory compliance obligations– Businesses can reduce the risk of non-compliance and avoid potential financial penalties, operational risks, and added costs.
- Increased productivity and efficiency– ERM can help organisations leverage information to improve staff productivity, drive business efficiencies, and improve customer service.
- Legal preparedness– As information grows exponentially, secure access to the right information at the right time enables a better use of information and responsiveness to legal discovery and audit.
The road to compliance
The first stage of TDW is ensuring a customer’s organisation is safe from the risk of data breaches and is compliant with the law, is to draw up a document Retention and Destruction Policy.
Things we may wish to include in the policy are:
- A statement of purpose.
- Categories of documents and how long they should be kept.
- Definition of “document” and the format in which it is to be retained (electronic or hard copy).
- Guidance on creation of documents.
- Members of staff designated to deal with the document management system.
- Methods of document destruction.
- How to keep an accurate record of documents destroyed.
- Be ruthless about allowing access to sensitive information – keep it to only those who really need to know.
- Try to reduce the amount of paper which needs printing and therefore destroying – can you project all the information. for a meeting from a laptop rather than printing a set of documents for everyone in the room?
- Have a process in place for storing written information securely.
- Have a process in place for destroying information when it is no longer needed.
- Ensure sensitive material is cross-shredded to prevent anyone being able to reconstruct it.
- Keep access to information limited as you would for hard copies.
- Ensure staffs uses secure passwords and do not share them with colleagues.
- Encrypt personal information held electronically.
- Securely remove all personal information before disposing of old computers.
- Remember that information is also stored on external devices including USB sticks, laptops and even the hard drives of photocopiers and printers.
- Regularly review group email lists.
- Check a recipient’s security arrangements before sending emails to them.
- Prevent employees from keeping records in separate, individual filing systems or on their computer hard-drive.
Questions to ask customers
- At what point does your confidential information become ‘waste’?
- If your confidential information was ‘waste’, why would anyone want to steal it?
- What are your organisation’s internal protocols when it comes to information security (hard and soft copy)?
- Are these documented or enforced and do all employees know about them?
- When was the last time information security protocols were reviewed and independently audited?
- How do existing information security processes prevent sensitive and confidential information from entering the waste stream?
- Can you be sure that every employee in every office is fully compliant with the correct security processes?
- What would the consequences of a data breach be for your organisation?
- Who would be ultimately responsible for a data breach internally?
- How compliant is your organisation with data protection policies, best practice and legislation?
Document destruction compliance is now a legal requirement
Privacy legislation is constantly becoming more rigorous and is strictly enforced by the authorities, meaning that any organisation that fails to fully comply may face severe and costly penalties. This legislation includes the ultimate destruction of confidential materials, which states that all private information contained in documents must be destroyed in a way that ensures it cannot be recreated. To fully ensure this, secure shredding is the most effective and preferred method.