Records Management for SMEs – What is Records Management?
An Introductory Guide to Records Management for SMEs.
Every business, large or small, corporate or SME creates, collects, manages and eventually disposes of records and a variety of other documents.
Records and documents, whether digital or paper, are part and parcel of doing business and cannot be separated or neglected.
Defining the Terminology of Records Management
Information: Information is a very broad term that covers data, thoughts, ideas, etc. Information flows into, through and out of every business daily. The value and importance of information varies considerably. Records are a type of information that is valuable however, not all information can be classified as a record.
Documents: Like information, the term documents is broad. Documents are any recorded information and can be both paper or digital documents. Some documents can be considered Records and all Records can be considered to be documents. Documents vary in their importance, value and legal status.
Records: Records contain information and can be considered to be documents. However, Records have a very specific function within a business or any organisation for that matter. Records contain specific information that serves as evidence of business transactions, legal obligations and status of the business. Records are subject to legislation, they cannot be disposed of haphazardly and must be created, managed and maintained with care.
Archives: Archives can be considered to be a collection of records, not necessarily all your records, selected for permanent storage or preservation due to their value and or legal status. Records that are no longer needed for the running of a business but must be kept due to legislation are Records that are best archived.
So what is Records Management?
While the definition of Records Management is fairly simple, the process of managing Records is not so simple. Because of the value and importance of Records, Records Management is not something to take lightly. There are many steps that need to be followed to safely care for your business’s Records.
Records Management for SMEs Need Not Be Complicated
There are several components of Records Management, SMEs need to be aware of.
These components include:
Offsite Records Storage: Records that are not needed for the day-to-day running of a business are safest in an Offsite Storage Facility. Records sent offsite may be Records that do not need to be accessed often or they may be Records that are being permanently archived. Specialised Offsite Records Storage is safer and more secure that any in-houses storage facility and is an essential element of effective Records Management.
Records Scanning: Due to the value and importance of your Records, it is worthwhile to consider having them scanned. The loss of valuable Records can have a devastating impact on your business and having digital copies of your important Records adds a measure or additional security.
Data Backups: While many Records are paper Records, today’s digital age has seen the rise of digital Records. Many of these Records are no less important than paper Records and must be treated with care. Backing up your digital Records is a vital part of the Records Management Process.
Records Management Partners: Records Management today cannot be carried out independently of a RM Partner. The ever changing technology landscape affects Records and their management and proper archiving, backups and the safety and security of your Records is simply not something a business can manage on their own. Therefore, it is important to select a knowledgeable and reputable Records Management Specialist that can assist your business and scale with you as you grow.
Iron Mountain, is one such partner. With offices and state-of-the-art facilities country wide and the expertise to help both SMEs and corporates, Iron Mountain has you covered.
Read our next article: “Records Management for SMEs – Records Management Basics”