Regulatory compliance takes major effort — and that effort often spans an entire organization.
Everyone in your company, from your CEO to Accounts Payable Director, IT Director, and every employee under their management, is responsible for doing their part to maintain compliance. Of course, we trust that our hard-working employees are satisfying their end of this unspoken contract, but how do we verify this?
Regulatory Compliance Is Easier for Companies That Go Paperless
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. This allows companies to passively maintain a robust record of recordkeeping-related actions while implementing layers of failsafes to ensure that all documents are available as required by policy, regulation, and law.
The more documents that flow through an organization, the harder it is to account for the complete security of each and every record contained in your file.
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 because access control is a built-in feature. It’s one of the easiest, most hands-off risk mitigation strategies that you can adopt.
Compliance Tips for Keeping Up With Document Retention Regulations
SOX, HIPAA, SEC Rule 17…every industry is responsible for maintaining compliance with numerous document retention regulations, and as time passes, these regulations are only getting more comprehensive — and specific. There are riches to be made in the pursuit of businesses that fail to comply, which, inversely, means companies can save money by safeguarding their operations from noncompliance.
Follow these compliance tips to protect your business:
Examine Your Company Documentation
Go through the documents that you currently have stored, whether on-site in a filing cabinet or off-site through a professional service. Decide what you need to keep and what is old enough to be destroyed. Pay close attention to document volume and the types of documentation your organization is tasked with storing securely. You want to develop a profile of your company documentation that will help you create a highly practical retention strategy.
Develop a Retention Strategy
Think about the documents that are continuing to flow into your organization. You need to develop a strategy for collecting, categorizing, and protecting them. When your company documentation falls into the wrong hands, it opens the door for potential violations.
Do you have an effective strategy for dealing with documentation from Accounts Payable, Customer Service Human Resources, Sales/Order Processing, and other departments?
Whether your company deals with large volumes of contracts, invoices, or employment applications, it’s important to identify the proper retention policies that your company is responsible for satisfying.
Leverage Enterprise Content Management
If you currently use (or plan to use) an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system, see if there are settings that will let you automate burn policies to destroy documents once they’re no longer needed. Not only will you no longer have to worry about deleting files manually but you will also benefit from less “digital clutter.” Another popular option made possible with an ECM is maintaining a back-up server to retain copies of deleted documents in a separate repository.
Map Out and Secure Your Recordkeeping Workflows
You’ve developed a retention strategy, now it’s time to apply it to the way you process documents.
Start by mapping out your workflows so that you can identify potential weaknesses, such as employees manually handling sensitive documents when they don’t need to. Furthermore, you should make certain that financial and transactional data is only sent to the people who absolutely need to see it.
Configure your workflows based on your specific business processes to ensure that your company documentation can only be managed by approved users. You can build additional security protocols into your workflows, too.
Integrate With Your Other Systems of Record
Do you want to experience best-in-class content management? Integrate your core systems of record (ERP, CRM, HCM, HRIS, etc.) with your ECM system to facilitate the flow of information throughout your organization. When connected, these systems can update your data automatically in real-time. At the same time, they can keep your business-critical data safe by implementing permission-based rules to ensure that company documentation is accessible to members across your organization.
Support Digital Audit Trails
Do you find yourself getting lost along the audit trail? If your policies are ever called into question, you may need to show detailed information about who has handled your company’s records. You need to be able to understand the who, what, when, where, and why of every piece of company documentation. An automated digital audit trail can help you maintain such a record without any additional work.
Get More Regulatory Compliance Tips From Our Experts
When it comes to regulatory compliance, it’s crucial to develop a plan before problems arise. Even a short delay can end up costing your organization 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 and lifecycle management plan that’s aligned with your industry’s unique regulations.