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April is Records and Information Management Awareness Month

 

We bet you didn’t know this — April is National Records and Information Management Month!

 

Records and Information Management Month (RIMM) is celebrated internationally during the month of April to highlight the significant impact records management has on organizations. The purpose is to emphasize the value and importance of organizing and maintaining records and data for the efficient and effective management of information.

RIMM was first observed in 1995 as National Records and Information Management Day, through the efforts of members of the Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA).

 

Every organization, no matter the industry, is constantly inundated with information — whether it’s hard copy records or electronic data and media, our businesses depend on the flow of information and access to important data. Keeping information organized, secure, and accessible can be a daunting task. If your organization has been unintentionally neglecting your records retention policy, or hasn’t been making information management a priority, this month is a great time to refocus on ensuring you have a successful and secure long-term document management strategy.

 

A multifaceted information management strategy can mean the difference between a successful organization and one riddled with disorganization, inefficiency, and security issues.

ARMA identifies several principles that describe best practices for records management. We’ve compiled a brief overview of them for you here.

 

  1. Accountability 
    This principle requires that one point person oversee the information governance program and that there are policies and procedures in place that allow for regular auditing.
     
  2. Security

    Security is perhaps the most critical component of any information management strategy. Protection of confidential customer and business information is the foundation of information management. Establish security and compliance protocols, define an authority to access program, perform regular audits, and ensure a risk management plan is in place.
     
  3. Compliance 
    Virtually every organization has a set of state and federal compliance requirements to which they must adhere. Some businesses lack a clear understanding of the compliance regulations in their industry — as you research your industry's compliance requirements, it will help you establish best practices, better train employees, and implement procedures that keep you compliant.
     
  4. Accessibility
    Records and information need to be quickly accessible to maintain efficient operation. If you’re wasting valuable time looking for records or duplicating efforts, consider implementing a scanning and electronic document software solution that allows you to keep all documents organized electronically in a secure repository for immediate retrieval.
     
  5. Records Retention 
    Developing a practical document retention and destruction schedule is an important part of an organization’s overall document management strategy. During the progression of lifecycle document management, you will find yourself holding onto documents that have outlived their usefulness. Implementing a records retention policy is one of the best, most cost effective actions you can take to benefit your organization.
     
  6. Document Destruction
    Document shredding ensures sensitive data cannot be stolen or fall into the wrong hands. Your clients rely on you to protect their personal information. Without a comprehensive document destruction process, you’re leaving their confidential data vulnerable to theft and opening up your organization to liability should a security breach take place.