3 Situations where an Audit Trail Can Help
When a information is moved, do you know where it’s going and where it’s been? With an independent 3rd party audit trail, simply defined as a record of the comings and goings of a carton or file provided by an offsite storage vendor, like Corodata, you can prove you did the right thing and track down information from within your office.
Storing records, documents and files on site is not only a waste of your space – it can set you up for potential problems in the future. When you opt for off site professional storage for your information, you get the added benefit of an independent audit trail for the movement of your material.
Audit trails can help you identify potential abuse, track down and eliminate information and potentially find misplaced files. They are an essential part of making your document and information storage system as safe and secure as possible.
Here are three situations where audit trails can be a critical factor in your company’s safety and compliance.
Audit trail, simply defined as a record of the comings and goings of a carton or file provided by an offsite storage vendor.[/p]
1. Protect Your Company from Suspicion
Securely shredding outdated information is an integral part of information records management. However, the destruction of documents and records isn’t something your organization should do on a whim without a sound policy and practice which a third party can back up. Without a process and audit trail, it may look like you’re trying to cover up something and being reckless.
This was the case with Enron – the commodities and services company that has become known for their corporate fraud. Many of Enron’s assets and profits were inflated, or nonexistent. Just days before they were to report a $618 million loss, their accounting firm – followed instructions to shred financial records and delete emails regarding the company’s finances. Shredding all of those documents so quickly and not according to a set policy, sent up red flags for federal investigators.
Without a system, and clear audit trails you could be running the same risk – even if your shredding isn’t as rapid as that of Enron. Having a plan for discarding documents, and clear records of why and when those documents were discarded, will keep your company safe.
2. Recover From Employee Negligence
Even in the most organized company, mistakes happen and an audit trail can become essential. According to a study from the Ponemon Institute, 39% of data breech loss comes from internal causes such as theft, loss and misuse and accidental or negligent behavior. For example, a new employee doesn’t understand your process for handling old client files and shreds important documents that were needed, rather than returning them to storage. They may also refile them in a place that makes retrieval highly unlikely.
While this information may be gone forever, your policy, albeit not followed, may help the firm if these documents need to be produced at a later date. In some instance, the “unfindable” file is located by searching those cartons that we are also accessed, added, or reviewed during the time period in question, thanks only to the firm’s overall audit trail.
3. Locating Documents for Third Party Inquiries
Whether you’re being questioned by the IRS or another type of compliance board, it’s important to be able to retrieve files quickly and easily. With an audit trail, you may be able to find those items otherwise missing, or at least show reasonable care and receive limited penalties.
Independent Audit trails are just one of the many benefits of using professional offsite records storage firms, and an essential benefit in the right circumstances. Making the right impression with your document destruction practices, protecting your company from employee negligence and having the right information when you need it are all possible with audit trails.
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