Regulatory compliance takes major effort – and that effort often spans an entire organization.
When it comes to records, companies have to control who is able to view, edit, or delete them. They also need to keep a comprehensive paper trail of every single access point or revision. But the more documents that flow through an organization, the harder that it can be to account for each record’s complete security.
One way to make this easier? Taking key business processes paperless.
When you’re able to manage your documents electronically, regulatory compliance and risk management becomes much easier. That’s because access control is built right in. It’s one of the easiest, most hands-off risk mitigation strategies that you can adopt.
Tips for Keeping Up With Document Retention Regulations
Other strategies that are worth considering:
- Go through the documents that you currently have stored (whether that’s on-site, in a filing cabinet, or off-site, through a professional service.) Decide what you need to keep, and what’s old enough that it can be destroyed.
- Think about the documents that are continuing to come in to your organization. That can include everything from contracts and invoices to employment applications and legal documents. Come up with a strategy for collecting these documents, categorizing them, and making sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
- If you use an electronic content management system, see if there are settings that will let you automatically destroy documents once they’re no longer needed. That way, you won’t have to worry about deleting files manually. (For even more peace of mind, feel free to back up your records to an off-site server prior to the scheduled deletion date.)
- Build security protocols into your workflows. If you circulate documents with confidential information, have that data blocked out before it goes through certain procedures.
- Map out your workflows so that you can identify potential weaknesses – such as people handling sensitive documents when they don’t need to. Make sure that financial & transactional data is only sent to the people who absolutely need to see it. Configure your workflows based on your company’s specific business processes, and everything remains on a “need-to-know” basis.
- See about syncing your document management system with your ERP. When connected, these systems can keep your data updated automatically. At the same time, they can keep your crucial data permission-based to different members of your organization.
- Ask your provider about audit trails. If your policies are ever called into question, you may need to show detailed information about who has handled your company’s records, and when.
Once you have a approach in place, document your compliance policy and the steps you’ve taken to implement new protections.
Talk With an Expert About Regulatory Compliance
When it comes to regulatory compliance, it’s crucial to develop a plan before problems arise. Even a short delay can end up costing thousands. Being proactive is better than losing hours (and reputation) to after-the-fact incident management.
If you’re ready to refine your internal policies, contact IntelliChief. We can help you implement a document security & lifecycle management plan that’s aligned with your industry’s unique regulations.