Records managers engage with human resources, IT, accounting, finance, marketing, executive leadership and others across an organization to ensure a consistent, secure strategy for creating, collecting, processing and discarding business information. This can be particularly challenging as every department has their own specific goals and priorities and their own working language that records managers must consider. This is especially true of IT departments, which often act as a completely separate entity.
While records and information management (RIM) and IT may seem an unlikely match, together they can become a dream team for secure and effective information management. Starting with a better understanding of the roles of each department can help bridge the gap between IT and records managers, and create a common ground whereby each department can work in conjunction with one another to better protect the information of your company and clients.
A records manager’s overarching goal should be to help companies maximize the value of their information while also ensuring security. Records managers must protect both physical documents and digital documents, comply with security and privacy regulations concerning the storage and destruction of records, maintain retention schedules to keep data properly organized and ensure that information can be accessed quickly when necessary, and only by those who are authorized to do so. Often, they are also responsible for training employees across the organization in how to handle records properly.
In addition to traditional physical and digital documents, records managers must also take into account the increasingly digital business environment. From the multitude of digital document management solutions, file formats, cloud storage solutions, BYOD policies, shadow IT and more, strong records management practices must rely upon IT solutions to help them stay organized and comply with federal regulations.
The IT department is responsible for a multitude of tasks within an organization, including but not limited to maintaining the hardware and software utilized, handling network communications, troubleshooting network and software issues, providing programming and automating daily tasks specific to an organization’s needs, handling website maintenance and providing technical support.
The IT department can play a key role in helping a business gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. By using IT to minimize costs and maximize productivity and efficiency, all the departments in an organization can better achieve their own tasks. The IT department will be instrumental in implementing new technology along with teaching each department best practices.
The IT department not only handles all aspects of an organization’s technology, but they also deal with nearly all the data created within the organization. Records managers are responsible for creating an organized strategy for how information is created, used, stored and destroyed. IT must make sure all information is protected from breaches and other threats. Through this, they share a common goal. The bridge between the two must begin with effective communication.
First, RIM and IT must recognize that each brings a wealth of knowledge to the table when it comes to information security, but their vocabulary may differ. Records managers often speak in terms of litigation, regulation and other rules relative to their department, but may have a limited grasp of the technology being used. Similarly, IT may have a limited understanding of records management terminology and the regulations that need to be followed. However, the goal of both departments is ultimately the same – to achieve security.
When IT and RIM support one another, they can create a more efficient environment to effectively manage records in. Continued communication, patience and perseverance is essential to strengthen the bridge between the two departments, and create a stronger, more secure organization overall.
For more on how to build relationships that empower records and information management success, check out this webinar recording: Integrating Privacy into Your IG Program