January 27th, 2014
Document management is an important objective for any company, particularly in industries with strict compliance measures requiring fast and frequent access to digitized archives, reports and other records. But with so many options for document management software, scanners and other tools, how can you be sure your strategy is sound?
Here is a list of features you need for effective document management:
- Powerful Search: Whether you’re using a customized document management solution or an “off-the-shelf” program, it’s important to be able to search for and find exactly what you need – whether it’s text or OCR (optical character recognition) – and no matter what the content type.
- Revision History: Your program should preserve all versions of a document while also providing instant access to the newest version of the file. This ensures that all iterations of the document are preserved, allowing you to quickly find or roll back to earlier versions.
- Retention Rules: The ability to define document retention and disposition rules is an important part of any document management system. Such rules reduce operating and storage costs and minimize the legal risks of keeping unneeded documents or destroying necessary files.
- User Access Controls: Access controls allow you to define which users and departments can view which types of documents. For example, you may grant permission for your HR department to view salary and benefits information while restricting access to such files to other employees. This is important, as role-based document access provides the right permissions to the right employees while safeguarding sensitive or confidential company information.
- Seamless Import Capabilities: Your program should offer importing features that allow users to add folders or individual documents quickly and easily using standard operations like copy-and-paste, drag-and-drop or right-click and select. A good system will allow you to import files by the hundreds or one at a time while retaining content hierarchy of folders and subfolders. Importing also should give users immediate access to documents and allow them to save new versions in real time.
- Integrated Workflow Options and Routing: Workflow options allow you to design, manage and support document workflows, improving efficiency by automating and speeding up business processes. A good program will give you the tools you need to create predefined workflow rules and parameters, even with the most complex processes, as well as role-based workflow security, team-based workflows, and yes-no decisioning.
If you’re not sure your document management program is up to snuff – or if you need to build one from the ground up – you may consider hiring a consultant to advise you on the best solution for your business, whether it’s an off-the-shelf program or a custom strategy.
December 17th, 2013
The electronic age has created an explosion of business information, making it difficult for companies to manage their records efficiently and strategically. But, for most companies, records management is a critical part of doing business, and it’s absolutely imperative for businesses in highly regulated industries that must be able to access records quickly and easily.
Make sure your company’s sensitive information is secure, accessible and meets compliance measures by avoiding these five common records management mistakes:
- Storing your files on site: Businesses amass files at an alarming pace, and in-house storage is the most costly and least secure option for inactive paper files, electronic messages and other records. Protect your business by making a digital copy of sensitive and important documents and consider storing them in the cloud, on a secure server or external hard drive, or at an off-site records storage center.
- Not establishing an effective indexing system: Records management is more than moving your files to cloud-based storage or an off-site facility. It’s important to establish an indexing system to ensure quick and easy file retrieval, particularly in industries that are audited frequently.
- Not defining a records retention schedule: Creating a retention schedule is an important aspect of records management, particularly in industries that are legally required to keep files for a specified time period before destroying them. Automating this process provides an even higher level of efficiency, as it establishes rules-based policies for storage, retention and retrieval for every type of document.
- Not shredding documents regularly. Identity theft is on the rise, and business trash is highly vulnerable to criminals, competitors and even disgruntled employees. As a result, proper records disposal is more important than ever. Just as it’s important to create a schedule for retaining records, it’s also imperative to shred documents on a regular basis.
- Assigning records management to untrained staff: While it may seem cost-effective to assign records management to junior or administrative staff, this is penny wise and pound foolish. Your records management professional should have the training and background necessary to implement your company’s storage, retrieval and retention policies, ensure compliance with legal requirements, and manage any technology or system issues.
November 12th, 2013
Disaster recovery in the cloud has become a priority for businesses seeking a secure and reliable method for backing up and restoring critical data in the event of a hardware failure, everyday outage or natural disaster.
Cloud disaster recovery services provide off-site data storage, replication and mirrored facilities, helping companies recover quickly and maintain business continuity even in the wake of large-scale disasters. Here’s a look at the top four reasons why the cloud has become the best defense against disaster:
- Indestructible: In the event your hardware fails or disaster wreaks havoc in your city, your data will be safe and accessible in the cloud. Using the cloud for disaster recovery means automatic recovery with faster restoration, minimal data loss and decreased downtime, even if your physical site is damaged during a disaster.
- Affordable: Service providers manage all backup equipment and storage systems while also reducing the time and driving down the costs of doing the same work internally. In fact, disaster recovery in the cloud has provided significant cost savings over traditional tape-based systems or privately managed disaster recovery sites. Providers also offer trained experts, use documented best practices and invest in recovery automation tools your business likely wouldn’t purchase otherwise.
- Strategic: The constant use of smart phones, email, apps and the web has created an explosion of data, increasing the disaster recovery workload for companies’ IT staff. In fact, many businesses report they don’t have sufficient staff to update and test their disaster recovery strategies on a regular basis. However, with disaster recovery in the cloud, your provider takes over a hefty share of the workload, freeing up your IT professionals to focus on strategic initiatives for your company.
- Compliant: The cloud offers an extra measure of support for businesses in industries with strict or complex regulations and data retention requirements. Cloud-based back-up means data is secure during transmission, storage and access – particularly important benefits for privacy and record retention regulations.