By Claire West

Frank Hopping, Managing Director of Crown Records Management (UK and Ireland), comments:

“Effective record management is at the heart of managing risk and enhancing corporate reporting and auditing. Increasing legislation has also made safe records management a smart move, as substantial fines are levied against companies who have not managed their records responsibly.

Senior managers should establish stringent procedures for creating, sharing, handling, storing and secure destruction of information and ensure that all employees are aware of their obligations and the potential consequences of data losses.

The company’s record management policy should also encompass clear guidance on the use of devices such as USB memory sticks, as well as the transportation of data off-site. In addition, all sensitive electronic data should be encrypted, while hard copy information should be securely stored and its use carefully monitored.

Secure destruction of documents (both hard copy and electronic) is a vital part of records management and crucial in ensuring that confidential information is destroyed securely and that this can be evidenced. For example as part of the audit trail when confidential information is shredded it is vital to keep a record of when and by whom. There is a difference between simple, non-confidential recycling and audited, certificated confidential destruction. The former does not guarantee that documents cannot be read, and there is no protection if allegedly destroyed documents resurface at some point.

Outsourcing your records management has many benefits, for example, records can be managed online, making audits and compliance much easier and can result in cost savings and help to future-proof organisations as they grow and expand. Companies with well managed records know exactly where their files are at any given time and can receive alerts whenever a record is due for destruction - meaning all documents are kept for the correct amount of time in accordance with the various requirements covering different types of information.”

Crown Records Management offers a comprehensive range of services, from information management and consultancy through to online tracking and monitoring and on- or off-site records management. Its national and global network of state-of-the-art management centres provides secure storage solutions that guarantee optimal environmental conditions, ensuring the protection of clients’ business information.

For further information about Crown Records Management services, please visit www.crownrms.com.