July 30, 2015

The Critical Asset: Are You Managing it Properly?

Craig Young, Business Analyst, CRM

DoxTek, Inc.


You lost your car keys, again? Sorry, we can’t help you with that one. Another important document disappeared? That, we can manage! I am always amazed when asked why records management matters, especially when even a casual peek at current events reveals issues that are centered on how organizations and individuals manage their records.

Hardly a news cycle passes where the root cause of the issue being reported is how records and information is managed. Events range from world-wide espionage—U.S. Suspects Hackers in China Breached about 4 Million People’s Records, Officials Say, as reported in the Wall Street Journal—to local events—Utah City Settles with Officer Fired After Fatal Shooting, as reported on ksl.com. In the opening of the ksl.com article, a critical element of the case is outlined:

“… a judge ruled against the city over the filing of evidence policy and training documents.”

Who knew that how training documents were managed would become a critical point in a future legal action? The divide between the importance of records management and each of these examples is the misconception that records management is limited to retention or when to destroy old records. According to American Records Management Association (ARMA) International, “the authority on information governance,” records management is much more than just retention. In fact, ARMA International outlines 8 critical hallmarks of proper information governance that provide a standard for managing information that helps organizations meet their responsibilities regarding records management. These critical hallmarks are contained in the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles®.  While these may appear tedious, or unnecessary steps, by following them you can avoid the embarrassment of losing yet another important document!

  1. Principle of Accountability A senior executive (or a person of comparable authority) shall oversee the information governance program and delegate responsibility for records and information management to appropriate individuals. The organization adopts policies and procedures to guide personnel and ensure that the program can be audited.
  1. Principle of Integrity An information governance program shall be constructed so the information generated by or managed for the organization has a reasonable and suitable guarantee of authenticity and reliability.
  1. Principle of Protection An information governance program shall be constructed to ensure a reasonable level of protection for records and information that are private, confidential, privileged, secret, classified, or essential to business continuity or that otherwise require protection.
  1. Principle of Compliance An information governance program shall be constructed to comply with applicable laws and other binding authorities, as well as with the organization’s policies.
  1. Principle of Availability An organization shall maintain records and information in a manner that ensures timely, efficient, and accurate retrieval of needed information.
  1. Principle of Retention An organization shall maintain its records and information for an appropriate time, taking into account its legal, regulatory, fiscal, operational, and historical requirements.
  1. Principle of Disposition An organization shall provide secure and appropriate disposition for records and information that are no longer required to be maintained by applicable laws and the organization’s policies.
  1. Principle of Transparency An organization’s business processes and activities, including its information governance program, shall be documented in an open and verifiable manner, and that documentation shall be available to all personnel and appropriate interested parties.

So, why does records management matter? In today’s world, information is a critical asset and as such it needs to be managed according to the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles®.  Organizations and individuals would be spared the embarrassment and cost associated with improper management of their information if the principles became a part of everyday life for all employees and associates.

If you have questions or would like to discuss how the principles can protect your organization, contact a DoxTek professional today at sales@doxtek.com or 866-678-8400.


About ARMA International and the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles ®

ARMA International (www.arma.org) is a not-for-profit professional association and the authority on information governance. Formed in 1955, ARMA International is the oldest and largest association for the information management profession with a current international membership of more than 10,000. It provides education, publications, and information on the efficient maintenance, retrieval, and preservation of vital information created in public and private organizations in all sectors of the economy. It also publishes Information Management magazine, and the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles®. More information about the Principles can be found at www.arma.org/principles.


PDF Version: The Critical Asset: Are You Managing it Properly?

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