The File Clerk is Dead. Long Live the Records Manager.

Remember the busy file clerk? Buzzing from desk to desk, pushing a folder-laden cart, dropping off and picking up files, then retreating to some remote, undisclosed location where the files lived—and where you never had to go.

In 2015, you’re more likely to see a file clerk on Mad Men than in a real office setting. The file clerk is gone, but files are here to stay. So where are all the files? What are we doing with them? Better yet, what should we be doing?

Too many file clerks in the filing cabinet

Blame leaner business practices and networking technology: Today, everyone’s a file clerk, for better or worse. We say “worse” because you know deep down that not everyone will return paper files where they belong. Poor filing practices waste time and money. They also expose your business to significant risk. How can you respond to audits when you don’t have control over vital documents? And how can you expect sensitive business and personal information to remain safe when everyone has their own filing systems? The answer is: you can’t. Which means that you, the records manager, must take the lead with an information governance plan that everyone can commit to. To begin, take a hard look at your company’s current practices.

5 aspects of document management that records managers can start improving now

1. Organization

As the records manager, you create the organization of your filing systems. That organization should maximize operational efficiency and minimize legal and operational risk. A growing number of businesses are finding they cost-effectively achieve both goals when they engage with an off-site records management company.

2. Retrieval

When you’re storing records onsite, who is monitoring and ensuring that once a file is accessed, it’s returned properly? The solution is “active records storage.” In active records storage, paper documents and files live offsite, but can be readily brought onsite, usually with a day’s notice. For many companies, it’s a great way to de-clutter and run a more efficient office. Plus, it reduces risk significantly: If you’re working with sensitive information, you can feel peace of mind knowing precisely where it can be found. Try Corodata with 25 FREE BOXES plus FREE BOX PICK-UP ($150 value) Call today: 888-238-8088 or send us an online request »

3. Compliance

Proven records management practices such as active records storage can assist your compliance efforts. By enabling you to quickly find documents, they empower you to respond promptly to e-discovery demands. Of course, if you’re going to mitigate compliance risk, you must be aware of compliance requirements. There’s a lot to know, so it’s smart to have regular check-ins with your company’s accounting and legal resources. A tip from the pros: To begin building a solid compliance foundation, know the Records Lifecycle. Your records management vendor should also be a reliable resource for information concerning compliance and solutions to meet your needs.

4. Security

When we think about data security today, hackers and other cyber-threats spring to mind. Surprise, surprise: When someone leaves a sensitive document on the copier glass, that’s also a potential data breach. Who knows who might pick it up and see value in it? For that matter, what’s stopping someone from rooting through file boxes in an unlocked storage cabinet? Security is where the best records management firms really demonstrate their value—after all, you’re not paying them so you can keep worrying about document security! As an example, Corodata facilities have 24/7 security systems including motion sensors and access codes. Only our employees are allowed into the warehouse; and our fire protection protocol is designed to protect records in storage.

5. An Expert Partner

Take a deep breath—as a records manager, you’ve got a lot on your plate, and a lot of responsibility. Fortunately, you also have options as you create or update your company-wide records management plan. The best option is partnering with a reliable records management firm. An experienced records management company like Corodata will assess your needs for organization, retrieval, security, and compliance and create a solution that fits your budget. They’ll also add value with their insights into regulatory requirements and the most current trends in effective records management.

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