Whether you have a small company or a large corporation, it's important to properly store and manage the documents created in the course of business. These can include anything from digital files and tax returns to contracts and project reports. That's where document and records management comes in. Its main goals are to process recorded information, improve general work processes and provide faster retrieval of data. Several types of record management systems exist, and each has distinctive characteristics.

What Is a Records Management System?

Missing business receipts or invoices, misfiled documents and corrupt files are all common complaints among business owners. Between 2005 and 2018, over 22 million records were exposed in the U.S. as a result of data breaches. Furthermore, employees spend half their time searching for information related to their company's activity. More than 26 percent say that data management in their organizations is somewhat chaotic.

Companies large and small are required to keep their records for a certain period. Bank and credit card statements, for instance, should be stored in a secure location for at least seven years. The same goes for tax return preparation documents. Investment account statements, canceled checks and pay stubs must be kept for at least one year.

What if these documents are lost or damaged? Imagine turning on your computer to realize it has been hacked. If your office building catches fire, all your files could be lost forever. Sure, you can always keep copies in a different location, but this would involve more space and higher costs.

A records management system, also known as an RMS system, can make everything a lot easier. This kind of software allows you to store, find and use official records as evidence of transactions, payments and other business operations. The latest document and records management programs have advanced features like search tools, scanning capabilities, retention and classification tools, compliance tracking functions and more.

Records management not only ensures that your files will be readily available whenever you need them, but it can also improve workflow and productivity within your organization. Employees will be able to quickly retrieve data, process information, identify the owner of each series of records and eliminate redundant data.

Cloud-Based Records Management Software

With a cloud-based records management system, you have all your documents in one place. This digital storage solution acts as a warehouse for the files within your organization, allowing you to access them anytime, anywhere. It's particularly useful for companies with remote teams as well as those with offices in multiple locations.

This type of RMS software keeps your files secure and eliminates the need for additional programs to perform routine backups. Furthermore, it enables users to assign specific files to other team members and send notifications in real-time rather than sending emails back and forth. Since the data is stored on the host's servers, it's less vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Enterprise Records Management Software

Large organizations typically opt for enterprise records management software. These programs have advanced capabilities and can store, organize and process large amounts of data. With an enterprise RMS system, you'll find it easier to manage physical and digital records, track the status and location of each file and transfer your data from legacy systems to the latest software.

For best results, choose a program with secure user access controls, real-time data indexing and disposal management mechanisms. A reliable enterprise RMS system allows you to place records on hold, conduct full-text searches and import physical and digital records in any format from any source. These features can streamline your business operations and lead to better decision-making.

These types of records management software can be further broken down into several other categories. Content management systems, document management systems and digital imaging systems are just a few to mention. Which one to choose depends on your company's needs and budget.