Organising Your Digital Documents and Records
Businesses collect and create thousands of new digital documents every year; organising them need not be a nightmare.
Organising your company’s digital documents and records can be a nightmare or a relatively smooth process, depending on when you start the process and how you go about tackling it.
It is probably safe to say that most people start out by creating a few key folders on their computer and gradually add more here and there and before long end up with their files in organised chaos.
While this article aims to give you a few different options to think about when organising your files and folders, the truth is that in order to maintain your filing structure, you have to be consistent in your use of that structure.
The moment you start to deviate from your filing structure, either by putting documents into incorrect folders or by creating new folders that were not part of the original structure, you are going to start creating more work for yourself.
The best way to stay consistent is to create a well thought out folder structure. If you are lucky, your company may already have a folder structure that has been worked out and implemented. If not you will need to try make sense of your own files.
Get to know your records and documents
The trick to organising your digital records and documents effectively however, lies in your ability to understand what each document is, who uses it, how it is used, how often is it used, does it have legal significance, and does it contain trade secrets.
The more you know about your documents and records the better you will be able to determine how they should be filed.
Another important factor to consider is the security of your digital records and documents. Allowing staff to freely access any and all documents is a recipe for disaster. As a business owner or manager, you need to access which documents need to be available to your staff and ensure they do not have access to documents that they do not need in order to do their jobs.
There are many ways in which to organise your files, these include:
- Create a Hierarchy
- Work out an order of importance
- Group by division, department, etc.
- Organise by document type
- Use a combination of the above
Depending on your business, a natural way to organise your documents might be to start by creating a hierarchy that goes like this:
From here, you would get more specific and organise thus:
- Finance Division
- Accounting Department
- Accounting Department
The next step you might follow is to access your folder structure for importance. You could create a number system to indicate importance or you might want to name your folders. For example you might want to group documents such as contracts into a folder called, ‘Legal’. Documents that you use often or use as templates you may want to group under, ‘Templates’ or ‘Working Files’.
There is no real rule as to how you should organise and name your digital files and folders. The important thing rather is that you create organisation and you make sure everyone using it understands why they need to use it and how to use it.
Backing up your records and documents
Now that you have a digital filing system in place, it is important that all your records and documents are securely backed up. If you took the time to understand your documents and you have now organised them effectively you will already know which documents should be first in line to be backed up.
In this regard, Iron Mountain offers a wide range of solutions to suit organisations of almost any size. Our solutions include state-of-the-art offsite data storage as well as easy retrieval and access control.
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