Retrieving crucial documents, storing all that paperwork, and securing confidential information—is your small or midsize business (SMB) prepared with the right records and information management policies to stay compliant?

With an increase in information, a multitude of formats and a continued rise in regulations, SMBs are creating more content while trying to comply with more rules. As you work to grow your company, your entire team needs to understand how to create, store and manage information in a secure manner.

Here are a couple things SMBs tend to miss when it comes to records and information management best practices, and how to get your company back on track.

SMBs are targets for hackers

Many small and midsize businesses might think that they’re too small to be on the radar of hackers. But according to Small Business Trends, hackers actively target SMBs due to their limited security capabilities. Once an attack happens, it can be catastrophic. According to data from the National Cyber Security Alliance, 60 percent of small businesses go under or fold within six months of an attack.

Understanding that your business could be breached is the first step in putting protections and protocols in place.

Every employee needs to know how to securely share information while still monitoring who and how that information is accessed. By centralizing and providing specialized passwords and access codes to sensitive information, your team can stay compliant and mitigate the risk of a data breach.

SMBs need retention schedules

You may assume your team can easily stay on top of records management because you are a small business that generates little information. It’s not that simple.

Your team doesn’t have the time or energy to search through hundreds of files to find one specific document. And even if they do, they could be using that time to better support customers or other key initiatives.

Many SMBs hold onto documents indefinitely for fear that they may one day need a file they discarded. This expired information can become a liability if exposed during a data breach or litigation.

Consider shifting your physical records to a digital format and look for software that makes it easy to assign and manage retention schedules. Retention schedules help organizations better manage, locate and retrieve information while saving time, money and space.

Assigned roles around records management are necessary

No matter how small your team is, everyone needs to buy-in to your company’s records and information management policy for it to be successful. This includes employees at every level of the company, as well as executives and leadership members.

As a small or midsize business, it makes the most sense to identify one person—rather than a full committee—who can take responsibility for evaluating and improving your records and information management program. This may include a representative from one specific department within the company or a dedicated records manager that can help you audit your records and build a comprehensive strategy for creating, managing and destroying your information.

All businesses—regardless of size—produce high volumes of information in a variety of formats, both physical and digital.  SMBs have limited resources and often need to focus on strategy and growth. Developing strong records and information management and governance strategies help organizations focus on key decisions that will drive the business forward.

BJ Johnson is a Senior Solutions Specialist with Access Information Management® where he works in Sales and Marketing. He is an ARMA NJ board member and has worked in the information management industry for over 17 years. He works with organizations to implement solutions that improve business processes, compliance and security.