Research Compliance Requirements
The first step to create efficiency is to learn what the legal expectations are for records retention specific to your industry. For example, healthcare, legal, and financial institutions are highly regulated and must follow strict requirements on how long to store records. Research the rules specific to your industry as a first step before you dig in too deep. This will help you identify what records you need to retain and for how long.
Review Your Inventory
Now that you have a framework to follow, take stock of what records you currently have on hand. Identify which files are active, inactive, and ready for destruction. Regulatory requirements will help you categorize your files.
Next, develop the method for organizing and retrieving your active and inactive files. You must decide between storing your files onsite or offsite; determine if you want web-based or physical retrieval; and develop a method to scan files for electronic record keeping. You must also determine what method of destruction you will use that will meet regulatory requirements, which often require proof of destruction. Determining what is most important to your business – quick retrieval, detailed organization, or physical access – will help you choose the right solution.
Implement a Solution
Now that you have identified the requirements, reviewed your inventory, and researched your options, it's time to choose and implement your solution. This can be a time-consuming process, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming. Turn to a records management expert such as R4 Services to learn how you can leave this task in the hands of experts so you can direct all of your focus on your business.