Record Management Guidelines

by Laura Acevedo; Updated September 26, 2017
Data Storage

Successful record management systems securely store records and create an organizational method for the creation, maintenance, usage and disposal of records. The creation and continual updating of record management guidelines is essential to maintaining the integrity of the system. With guidelines for information requirements, input methods, storage timelines and backup, security regulations and accurate reporting, you can create an effective record management system.

Information

Develop guidelines for what type of information your company wants and needs to store. This should include contracts, employee files, incorporation documents, customer records, regulatory data, financial records and any other pertinent information that is needed by the business. Compile this list by consulting with multiple departments to ensure completeness and compliance to every functional need. Review the final list with your company's legal counsel to verify that information needed to meet legal obligations is included in your record management storage guidelines.

Input Methods

Devise a methodology for record input for each record type. Records may be input manually, imported from complementary systems or input through a scanning system. These input methods should be reliable and secure. For electronic exchanges, put in redundancy checks that ensure accurate transfers. For manual input, initiate a system of quality checks to ensure accuracy.

Storage

Designate storage timelines for each type of record entered into the system. Timelines should take into consideration legal obligations, data system constraints and functionality. For rarely-accessed records, consider a complementary storage system that allows occasional access to records. These records can be compressed for minimizing storage needs. Storing records away from your primary record system allows frequently-used records to be pulled faster. Your record management guidelines should include routine backup procedures and preferably off-site duplicate storage of critical records.

Security

An in-depth security plan is an essential part of your record management plan. Group records into security-classifiable groups and assign secure, password-protected access to the proper employee groups. This security scrutiny should also apply to whoever has access to input data, perform maintenance, and use or destroy records. Routinely review security clearance to ensure compliance with company and regulatory obligations. Incorporate security clearance into new employee procedures and terminated employee procedures.

Reports

Routine reporting should be a part of your record management system. These reports should include lists of users who have accessed sensitive data, any changes in security clearance, error reporting for incomplete records, and records that are subject to disposal. Add reports for any critical data areas.