The recent surge in technology has caused some to wonder if the age of the paper document is dead. However, companies that regularly conduct regulatory compliance reviews and keep up on legal proceedings know that details of the paper records’ death have been greatly exaggerated.
Even so, some publications are suggesting that information management exists squarely in a digital environment. Computerworld contributor Lee Jasper wrote a recent article indicating that in modern business, records management is in reference to the backup and storage of digital data and not the filing of paper documents.
But in today’s business world, where the economic climate is constantly changing and profit margins are thinner than ever, companies cannot afford to rely on just one solution. Keeping information together in one format can be a risky venture, and businesses shouldn’t have to take that risk. For example, if paper records were all converted to digital documents and those computer files became corrupted, any company that disposed of their paper post-conversion would have nothing. As reported last week on this blog, the cost of replacing files far outweighs the cost of storing them.
That’s why regulations won’t likely change, because many governing bodies understand that organizations need their information to exist in multiple formats in order for it to be considered secure.
Even Jasper, a proponent of strictly digital record keeping, admits that paper records management requirements are here to stay.
“The records management requirements, particularly around the destruction of information, really don’t make any sense in an electronic world, but they are not about to change anytime soon,” Jasper wrote.
The issue is that companies have to find solutions to properly store their records, especially if they are going to hold on to digital copies as well. While computer files won’t require cabinets or closets, they may need to be stored in on-site servers, which can take up a substantial amount of office space.
The best way to manage multiple copies of information is to store paper documents at a professional records storage facility.
Paper records need to be managed in accordance to legal and business requirements. This includes proper filing and storage as well as proper destruction when the RIM schedule requires it.