Keys to an Effective Records Management Program

Most organizations have a records and information management (RIM) program in place. However, many have found their policies to be outdated, inadequate, and all but impossible to enforce.

These days, digital and physical records are being created at an overwhelming pace. Meanwhile, regulations such as HIPAA, FACTA, GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 demand improved security around personal identifiable information (PII) and employee data.

With this increased focus on policies and procedures related to records management and information governance (IG), it’s time for you to build an effective, legally defensible program.

Here are 6 key steps to get you started:


Engage the whole organization

For a truly effective RIM program, take an IG approach that defines roles and responsibilities for daily tasks. A senior-level executive must take responsibility for top-down accountability and empower records administrators with the tools and policies they need. You should obtain input from all areas of the business that generate records to centralize all physical and digital documents that are being generated, whether at HQ or satellite locations. Then, get buy-in on new procedures by creating a committee to represent relevant departments.

Are you an Information Governance guru? Take this quiz to see how your RIM practices stack up.

Assure consistency

An inconsistent — or inconsistently applied — IG policy will create problems when responding to litigation, audits or compliance issues which require strong documentation. In addition to having compliance-driven retention policies for each record type, your RIM program should track the lifecycle of each physical and digital record from inception, flag it for destruction when its retention term expires and provide the ability to override that expiration if need be.


Create the right labeling system

The only sure way to track the location and lifecycle of individual records is with a comprehensive metadata taxonomy and indexing system that covers the various types of records your organization produces and the jurisdictions in which you operate. These steps not only facilitate proper adherence to retention schedules, but also make search and retrieval far more efficient, saving time and money.

Drowning in information? Learn immediate steps to getting a better handle on records and documents in our webinar, Total Information Governance.

Automate effectively

Assuring uniform compliance to multiple regulations across your organization and in all locations is a complex task. A centralized system that can recognize record types and automate tasks such as coding and indexing will ease tasks by building them into workflows and assure greater accuracy and consistency.


Make it secure

Your records partner should provide
climate-controlled, off-site storage facilities and vaults that are NAID and PRISM Privacy+ certified and equipped with advanced fire-suppression technology. They should offer NAID-certified destruction of hard copy records, computer hard drives, and other electronic media. Access to documents should include a verified, auditable chain of custody, and your partner should assist with disaster recovery and business continuity.

What else should you ask potential RIM partners? Download our E-book for a comprehensive list.

Build in KPIs and reviews

No program will remain relevant without ongoing performance and compliance monitoring, as well as periodic audits and reviews to ensure your policies have kept up with changes in your business and compliance requirements. Your partner in records management should also make it simple for you to generate regular KPI reports on storage volume, scanning rates, records access, legal discovery costs, and other measures.

Unsure which metrics you should be measuring? Here are 8 ways you can assess your RIM program.

If your organization is stuck in a reactive, transactional RIM program, these steps will help you put you on a path toward transformational information governance.

To learn how solutions from Access can help your organization achieve a consistent and defensible RIM program, contact us today.