Successful Records Management Programs
Aug 22, 2010 QuickCounsel Download PDF
By Iron Mountain
A compliant records management program is necessary for organizations to proactively and progressively manage all data, media and information. As the number of laws and risks related to governing records management continues to increase, it becomes even more paramount that organizations follow best practices for proper records management. Organizations need to demonstrate “good faith” intentions to follow these best practices consistently and accurately.
Characteristics of Successful Programs
An organization with a solid foundation of proven successful records management practices will:
These features must all exist as part of a compliant records management program. Independently, each represents a good practice; as a unit, they serve as a solid foundation of best practices for records management.
Where Do You Start?
The early creation of an executive steering committee comprised of senior management across all departments is instrumental to the success and implementation of your organization’s compliant records management program. By creating an active steering committee, your organization will be positioned to proactively address the changing business climate and the ever-increasing regulatory controls for records and information management.
It is best to include senior level executives from Legal, IT, Records Management, Risk/Audit, Finance, HR and any other departments your organization has that generate records. As this committee will approve all policies and procedures that are developed, it is essential that all areas are represented to provide their point of view on operational requirements prior to approval of policies and procedures. This collaborative effort leads to better adherence to policies and procedures and ensures there are no barriers to acceptance.
Steering committees should meet regularly with decisions communicated via the records management program’s communication vehicle, such as a newsletter. They are often chaired by the General Counsel, which has shown to lead to more mature, effective programs.
Best practices for building or improving a records management program suggest an organization should begin with an assessment of their program’s current state. This helps to set the organization around the as-is state and determine areas of risk. There are resources that provide this service for a fee. Iron Mountain provides this service as an incremental value of doing business with Iron Mountain.
Once your executive steering committee members have been identified, we would suggest they fully understand the five “best practice” areas:
Managing legal risk inherently requires a lawyer to find and present information and records that are accessible, authoritative and reliable. But managing legal risk also involves the proper and ethical disposition of obsolete and outdated records that, when they persist, can create significant, adverse economic consequences. These are the essential functions for which records management programs exist. When records management functions are performed poorly or not at all, the legal standing of a company can be dramatically and violently altered.
Additional ACC Resources
ACC Resource Library - Top Ten - Sponsored by Contoural, Inc.
ACC Resource Library - Sample Form & Policy
ACC Resource Library - Program Material
ACC Resource Library - InfoPAK - Sponsored by Contoural, Inc.
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