In this issue:
Dear Records Manager:
With the increasing focus on electronic documents it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that for the majority of organizations, paper records make up the bulk of their records collection. As such, these valuable information assets have to be protected and secured. To help you do this, this month we've got a piece on best practices for safeguarding your paper records.
We've also put together four of our most popular whitepapers from this year's issues of On Record. You can download them for free and make these valuable and informative resources part of your records management library!
We're always interested in what our readers think, so if you have any feedback, please let us know!
Four White Papers for Your Library
Best Practices for Mergers & Acquisitions:
What to do before, during and after.
The acquisition of records from a major business acquisition is often treated as an afterthought, focusing on little more than finding space for them. But this overlooks that records directly participate in the transactions and decisions which make up the company's daily business, and provide evidence of those same activities, giving them a level of risk or liability comparable to that of the activities themselves.
A lack of due care with respect to records, then, can result in significant corporate compliance risks as well as interfere with your company's ability to fully capitalize on an important acquisition investment. It is therefore of the utmost importance that prospective buyers directly address records management issues before, during and after the acquisition.
TAB's White Paper: Best Practices for Mergers and Acquisitions provides a detailed, step by step guide covering everything you need to know to successfully handle records management at every stage of an acquisition, including:
- Know what you're getting into
- Documentation and Retention Requirements
- Privacy Compliance
- The Cost of Keeping Records
- Manage Risk While You Still Can
- Legal Provisions and Records Management
- File Acquisition and Processing
This is a must-have resource for any records manager whose organization may be involved in a merger or acquisition situation. You can download it here.
Information in Motion: Planning and Executing a Corporate File Move
Corporate moves are becoming increasingly common in today's business environment. While the reasons for moves may vary from growth to cost management to a merger or acquisition, all moves share one common fact: your records have to come with you.
Moving your records isn't just a question of firing them into a bin and loading them onto the truck; after all, files are not furniture. As the information support and legal evidence for your business activities, it is critical that these records remain accessible and secure at every stage of the move. Given the diverse nature and size of most records collections, this presents huge challenges.
At TAB, we know meeting those challenges requires the strategic application of records management principles and tools to the planning, preparation and execution of the move. We've worked with numerous companies to move their files, most notably Imperial Oil, the largest corporate move to date in Canada! We've put years of knowledge into this TAB White Paper, and it will show you how to conduct an efficient, secure move with a minimum of risk.
Topics covered include:
- Analyzing your file collection to determine the needs and challenges posed by the move and new space
- Meeting the legal and regulatory requirements of the new location through RM governance
- File Clean Up and Purge
- Working with affected stakeholders to plan and execute the move
- Engagement during the actual move
- Developing a tracking system that replicates existing filing system
- Security and Access Controls throughout the entire process
- Adding value after the move
You can download it here.
Space Planning in Records Management: Doing More with Less
These days, office space is at a premium: it's expensive, it's limited, and demand is high. With organizations growing all the time, and producing more records as they do so, storing your information assets is fast becoming a major space issue.
A good records management program is part of the solution to this space issue, in ways that may surprise you. After all, two of the main goals of an effective records management program are to make optimal use of available storage space while keeping records long enough to support business and minimize risk.
In fact, records management best practices offer a wide range of options which can impact both the volume of organizational file collections and the space required to store those collections. In order for these options to support business efficiency, legal compliance, and cost reduction, organizations must take the right actions in the right order and apply clear metrics for measuring success.
In this TAB Whitepaper, we'll show you how you can make your RM program a valuable asset as you tackle your space management issues, with comprehensive analysis and tips on:
- Records Retention Scheduling and Disposal
- Functional Records Classification
- Purging non-records
- Offsite and Near-site Storage
- Documented records destruction
- Making it Happen: Equipment and Supplies
- Vertical vs. Lateral Filing
- End tab vs. Top-tab
- Mobile vs. Stationary Shelving
- Realizing the Benefits: Space Planning in Action
You can download it here.
Strength in Numbers: Strategies in Centralized Filing
To centralize or not to centralize? It's one of the most common questions in records management. By bringing small pockets of files together into one large collection, you can realize a tremendous return-on-investment in by improving user efficiency, space utilization, security, and legislative compliance.
But whether centralization is right for you depends on your particular needs and the relationship between your business and the records which support it. As informational support for daily business activities and potential legal evidence to defend those activities, physical file collections have remarkable potential to add value to your organization, provided they are used efficiently and managed as cost effectively as possible. The final decision on how to manage the files should weigh the potential advantages of centralization against not only the resources needed to make it happen but also the alternatives available.
In this TAB Whitepaper, we'll look at what you everything you need to know to make the decision on whether or not centralization is right for your organization, with comprehensive analysis and tips on:
- When to Centralize: Advantages & Business Cases
- Business Process Efficiency
- Space Savings
- Legislative Compliance
- How to Centralize: Techniques & Tools
- File Consolidation & Conversion
- Space Planning & Storage Design
- Centralizing Control: File Retrieval & Sign-out Procedures
- Alternatives to Centralization
- Alternative Strategies for Managing Records
To read the full white paper, download a free copy here.
NEW Designer Cabinet!
TAB is pleased to introduce our new Designer Cabinet that will give you the ultimate in accessibility while maximizing your available space.
What's New: Dynamic Drawer and Shelving Configurations
What makes the Designer Cabinet unique is that it gives you the ability to "get it all in one cabinet." This cabinet makes use of fixed shelves, roll-outs and drawers to provide maximum storage flexibility, allowing you to quickly and easily access letter, legal and data media as well as binders and a variety of media types.
Secure Cabinet Storage
Compartments may be fitted with a key-activated ganglock that secures all compartments at once.
Better Management of Space
Designer Cabinets provide a versatile storage solution that improves your work environment. All cabinets can be used as back-to-back islands, traditional wall-standing units, or mobilized for maximizing valuable floor space. Everything is exactly where you need it when all media can be stored in the same cabinet — save valuable search time with total visibility at a glance.
Designed for the most discriminating tastes, these cabinets are the ideal solution for addressing accessibility, security and space issues, and are the perfect solution for the storage needs in your workplace environment.
- Select heights from two, three, four, five, six, and seven-compartment designs for all storage and retrieval needs
- Flat shelves for end-tab letter or legal file folders — perfect for data media
- Available in both 12" and 15" media openings
- Available in 30", 36", and 42" widths
- Compatible with SIDE-TRAC
- Drawers and roll-outs are easy to move with simple motion and equal retraction
- Durable powder coat baked enamel, textured finish for years of trouble-free satisfaction
- Available in TAB's standard and optional choice of colors
TAB Best Practices: Protecting & Securing Your Paper Records
Your organization's paper records are a vital asset, and for that reason you need to do everything possible to protect and secure them. From natural disasters, wear and tear, fire, theft, erroneous purging or destruction and water damage, the list of things that can destroy your records is long. But there are a number of steps you can take to protect your vital records from destruction. We've put together a list of things you can do, both immediately and in the long term, to give you peace of mind where your paper records are concerned.
Consider Offsite Storage
Moving vital records to an offsite storage facility designed specifically to house paper records is a safe bet. These facilities have mechanisms and systems in place to protect and monitor records that most organizations don't. Consider retaining an RM expert to identify which records are vital and which ones are needed for day to day operations.
Before going out and spending money on hardware or software to fix the problem, get an RM consultant to give you a needs assessment. They can identify where you are at risk with all of your records locations and formats and make recommendations on how you can reduce those risks.
Digitally stored electronic documents are not nearly as susceptible to destruction, accidental or otherwise, as their paper counterparts. They can easily be stored remotely, sent quickly, and viewed by a number of people at once without compromising the original, making them a safe bet. Converting vital documents into electronic format can be a lifesaver, not only in terms of efficiency, but from a recovery standpoint.
Creating a retention schedule that is in line with RM best practices as well as all applicable regulations and legislation is a surefire way to prevent wrongful or untimely destruction of your vital records.
If you are storing your records on site, make sure the location is safe for records. Paper is very fragile and can easily be damaged by light, heat and moisture in the air. You can prevent heat, water and light damage by:
- not storing records near air conditioners, heaters or water pipes
- storing records in a file room must be stored at least 3 inches (8 centimeters) above the floor to prevent water damage
- storing paper records in the recommended environmental conditions which dictate a temperature of between 65 and 70 F (18 and 21 C) and 55% relative humidity
- ensuring records are stored away from direct natural and ultraviolet light to avoid light damage.
Many adhesives can damage paper over the long term. Any commercial non-archival adhesive tape or glue, including scotch tape, can cause irreparable damage. There are special adhesives specifically for repairing paper that are available commercially.
File Room Security
To best protect your records, your file room should be secured by a monitoring or card entry system. At a minimum, it should be supervised during working hours. If possible, assign someone the task of inspecting the room daily to ensure that all records are stored in their containers and that the room is locked when closed. It is a good idea to restrict access to the file room to individuals authorized to handle the records.
If your files cannot be housed in a closed file room, there are products such as security shutters or rolling doors available that can be custom fitted on lateral filing systems, shelving units or open entranceways to filing areas to ensure the security of your paper records. TAB recommends Rollok rolling doors.
Larger organizations with sufficient resources should appoint a risk manager who is responsible for protecting the records storage site. In addition to overseeing the life safety systems; fire prevention, inspection, and property surveys; and the proper operation and maintenance of the fire protection equipment, the risk manager should also develop and implement an emergency plan. This plan should include an annual exercise involving both management and staff, and lessons learned from the exercise should be used to update the plan.
Talk to TAB
Making sure your paper records are safe and accessible is a key to the successful operation of your organization. It can be an overwhelming proposition, and if it isn't done right, an expensive one. TAB's RM consultants can help you protect your records in a number of ways, including implementing some of the above practices. One of the most efficient ways is to conduct a records audit, thereby identifying those records that are absolutely critical, and protecting these accordingly. If you have questions about protecting your paper records, contact us.
Big E-Health Project in Trouble
An ambitious e-health records project launched by an employer coalition that includes Wal-Mart, Intel, Pitney Bowes, Applied Materials, British Petroleum, and Cardinal Health is falling apart. The problem? It seems that Dossia, the group that is heading the project, claims that Omnidex, the non-profit organization hired to develop the system, failed to provide "deliverables" for the project, while Omnidex is claiming payment issues. The legal documents are flying, and you can read the fully story on how not to run an e-health records project.
Survey Says: US Companies Still Not Ready for E-Discovery
A recent survey of more than 400 end users across the US revealed 63% of respondents have been required to produce an email as part of a legal action, yet 53% admit they are not prepared to meet the new requirements of the amendments made to the FRCP. In fact, nearly one in three (28.9%) organizations admitted they are not even aware of the FRCP regulations. Read the full article on the e-discovery preparation lag.
Reality of E-Discovery Calls for Proactive Strategy
It's a perfect storm: the rapid-fire growth of digitized enterprise data, new regulatory requirements, and the demands of tough e-discovery readiness levels. Coping in this environment means developing a proactive strategy, according to a recent article in Information Week. The article focuses on what you need to know in order to choose the right technology solution, but it also makes the point that TAB has been making from the outset, that the best way to prepare for e-discovery is to have a solid RM program in place.