Four Tactics to Build Compliance Strength in your Records Management Practices
The ever-changing regulatory framework is a challenge for every business. Compliance is mandatory, regardless of size, and breaches can be costly. Improvements to Records Information Management (RIM) practices face three primary challenges: a lack of awareness of policies by employees, unprecedented growth in records as data collection escalates, and a lack of communication between IT and records management. To build business confidence in RIM practices, four initiatives can have a significant impact.
1. Formal training has an immediate impact on an individual’s knowledge, awareness and confidence. A trained employee substantially mitigates non-compliance risks. Surveys indicate that many records professionals receive only informal training, and some receive no training at all. A formal training program ensures ongoing, and current, knowledge of policies, along with an understanding of compliance process and requirements.
2. It is essential to include all users in a formal training program. All employees need to know what records are, how to properly handle them, and why this is important. Continuity and consistency at every business interface achieves a seamless records management process. This bolsters business confidence in RIM practices, and compliance at both macro and micro perspectives.
3. An automated retention process gives records management professionals the online tools necessary to establish compliant processes. It also removes the uncertainty of manual retention. Automation properly manages records throughout their lifecycle. It creates and manages retention rules and applies these consistently regardless of format or location. Continuous updates of retention rules, distributed via the ECM system, guarantees all users are aware of any changes. Automation enables easy and efficient search for documents across the business as needed and maintains an appropriate audit trail, including role-based permissions and security.
4. Effective reporting measures will monitor RIM practices and can gauge performance across all business teams. Without these, there is no way to determine if change, or additional funding, is required. The implementation of a formal information governance framework, with regular in-built review checks, puts the necessary internal controls and processes in place to keep records and information management programs compliant.
Even small advances in any of these four tactics can result in big changes in the ability to meet regulatory compliance. An investment in more formal training, cross-company accountability, measurement and automation will build business confidence that the RIM practices are delivering better protection from the risks of regulatory non-compliance.