Records management is an essential part of any business, and you need to know what to do with your documents throughout the information lifecycle. Otherwise, your organization may face substantial security and legal issues. In this blog post, we offer tips for knowing when and how to scan, store and destroy your records.

Document Scanning
Why keep a file cabinet full of active documents when you can scan and store them digitally? Document scanning is a great way to free up functional office space and streamline access to your most active business records. But remember: Converting documents to digital files takes time, patience and the right equipment.

With a document scanning service, the scanning process is handled for you. Using specialized software and scanners, professional imaging technicians convert your paper documents to digital files. These are the steps of the scanning process:

Documents are prepared for scanning
Documents are indexed according to the information they contain
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology is applied to make files infinitely searchable
Files are transferred to physical media or a document management application
Your newly-scanned files are then transferred to physical media or added to your preferred document management application.

It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t have to scan all of your documents. Supplementing your document scanning project with a reliable document storage solution keeps your imaging costs down and gives you a solution for protecting the less-used vital records such as:

Contracts and agreements
Accounting and tax records
Standard operating procedures
Client and personnel files
Since these vital records have to be retained permanently, it’s important to store them in a storage facility that’s secure, clean and pest-free. Avoid a self-storage unit or multi-purpose warehouse, where flammable and combustible items may also be stored.

Instead, choose a commercial records centre, where your documents are professionally stored and managed. Only pre-authorized and screened records management personnel are allowed access to the building. The privacy of your documents is maintained with the following security systems:

24/7/365 internal and external surveillance
Facility access-control technology
Alarm systems with active monitoring
Barcode technology tracks your vital records while they’re safeguarded from fires, floods and natural disasters.

Document Shredding
Retaining documents longer than necessary increases potential liability for your organization. This is because these documents could become subject to review and examination that wouldn’t be possible if they had been destroyed on time. Under subpoena, records retention policies are often examined, and failure to prove adherence can result in audits or unfavorable legal action. That’s why it’s important to have a secure, routine and verifiable document destruction process.

A document shredding service offers all three. Uniformed and screened professionals place locked shred collection containers throughout your office. On a predetermined schedule, the contents of your containers are collected and destroyed, and you are given a Certificate of Destruction for your records.

Scanning, storage and destruction can work together to create an effective records management program.