Improve Your Document Management with These Best Practices

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As most of us can agree, first impressions are everything – and this goes well beyond the dating world! In fact, we’ve all been there before, anticipating how that first date with our crush will go and whether there will be an exciting connection while getting to know one another.

Just like a highly anticipated first date, the first impression upon visiting a new place of business could make or break whether a potential client chooses your company to partner with or goes elsewhere (“elsewhere” likely being your competition).

What Can You do to Make an Attractive Impression?

First and foremost, make sure your office is organized and clutter-free!  If someone is visiting your office for the first time and immediately sees desks flooded in paperwork, garbage bins overflowing, and general mess scattered throughout the building, chances are they won’t be too thrilled or impressed with this discovery.

Unless your company is in the middle of a move, these can pose immediate red flags to those visiting your office and contemplating your services. Not only does it make you look poorly organized, but it implies that you don’t take information security very seriously. Today, every business, no matter how large or small, has a legal obligation to manage the information it handles in a secure and organized manner. A detailed document management program protects information from the threats of a catastrophe or disaster, and it also reduces the risk of a data breach, improving the efficiency of day-to-day operations.

If your business isn’t currently doing so, consider putting these best practices into place for effective document management:

Indexing System in Place

A reliable document management program has an effective index system based on the nature of documents and compliance requirements surrounding them. Essentially, an indexing system manages file creation (reducing the generation of records that aren’t necessary) and records retention (when records no longer require storage and can be shred securely). The program should track filing and note where documents are in their life cycle; for instance, whether they are active, archived, or ready to be disposed of.

Secure Document Storage

Secure storage is imperative regardless of whether you are maintaining paper documents, hard drives, audio or video. Any form of kept information that is deemed sensitive in content requires protection. This should be done using locked filing cabinets, desks, or a locked storage room. Companies can take it a step further and store this information off-site, at a trusted document storage facility. Regardless of format (paper documents, electronic files, audio or video), sensitive information should be securely stored and protected either in locked cabinets or a locked room. Many experts recommend transferring paper documents into electronic files for ease-of-storage.

Restricted Access

The information management system should verify that all confidential information kept on file is protected and/or locked up with very little accessibility. Access should only be granted to those in an authoritative position who can be trusted with such a responsibility, and generally restricted to one or two employees. To achieve this level of security, the system needs to feature tools like password protection and other authentication requirements for accessing or viewing information.

Document Shredding Schedule

For your benefit, all files should ideally be labeled with the content they cover, the duration for which they should be stored, and the date on which they should be shred. When documents are no longer needed, they must be securely destroyed. Always choose to work with a shredding company that provides scheduled document shredding, including a strict chain of custody from the moment content is placed into locked collection bins, through until the shredding process. This company should also present you with a Certificate of Destruction after each shred job for your records.

Ongoing Employee Training

Employee training is not only beneficial for your organization; it’s rewarding for your employees as well. When all staff are updated on industry legislation, new security processes and more, everybody wins because the team is unified and on the same page, which directly impacts how business is performed. Training often means less mistakes and higher levels of productivity. It’s also necessary when you are introducing new policies to the team. Without adequate document management training, your new program could be a waste of time.

Ensure your staff are familiar with and understand what’s involved in your new policy, and watch as you create a culture of security within the office at the same time.

Security programs are a necessity for every business owner. The good news? Implementing these best practices can be easy with some professional guidance and access to the right services.

At Abraham Shredding, we will work with you to develop an effective document management plan that includes regular document shredding services.

Call 262-877-8878 to learn more about our solutions.