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How to Leverage Software to Manage Filing and Disposition of Documents

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Information Governance

How to Leverage Software to Manage Filing and Disposition of Documents

Leveraging software to manage filing and disposing of documents as part of information governance can make the process more efficient, streamlined, and error-free. Here’s a structured approach to using software for these tasks:

1. Selection of the Right Software:

  • Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS): Choose a reputable EDRMS with features tailored to your organization’s needs. Consider factors like scalability, user-friendliness, and integration capabilities.
  • Features to Look For: Version control, access controls, audit trails, retention policy automation, e-discovery capabilities, and secure deletion.

2. Document Classification:

  • Automated Classification: Some software allows automatic classification based on content analysis.
  • Metadata: Configure the software to prompt users for metadata when saving documents. This aids in classification, retrieval, and lifecycle management.

3. Filing:

  • Centralized Repository: Store all digital documents in the EDRMS.
  • Integration: Integrate the software with other enterprise systems to funnel documents into the EDRMS automatically.
  • Automated Workflows: Use the software to create workflows for document review, approval, and filing.

4. Retention Policy Management:

  • Define Retention Policies: Set rules within the software for how long each document type/classification should be retained.
  • Automation: The software should automatically move documents to archive or flag them for disposal based on their retention period.

5. Disposal:

  • Secure Deletion: Ensure the software supports secure deletion methods that meet industry standards.
  • Disposal Review: Before automated disposal, have the software generate a list for manual review, ensuring no critical documents are unintentionally deleted.
  • Certificate of Destruction: Software should provide an electronic certificate or log entry verifying the destruction of electronic documents.

6. Archiving:

  • Automated Archiving: Based on retention policies, the software should automatically archive documents of long-term value.
  • Integrity Checks: Ensure archived documents remain unaltered. Some software offers digital fingerprinting or hashing to verify document integrity.

7. Training and Access Control:

  • User Roles: Define user roles and permissions in the software. Not everyone should have the authority to delete or archive documents.
  • Training Modules: Some EDRMS offer training modules. Ensure staff are trained on how to use the software effectively.

8. Audit Trails and Reporting:

  • Track Actions: The software should maintain an audit trail of all actions taken on a document.
  • Regular Reports: Generate regular reports to monitor adherence to policies, any security breaches, or anomalies.

9. Disaster Recovery:

  • Backup Systems: Ensure the software provides automated backups or integrates with a backup system.
  • Recovery Testing: Periodically test recovery processes to ensure they work as expected.

10. Regular Software Updates and Review:

  • Updates: Keep the software updated to ensure you benefit from the latest security patches and features.
  • Periodic Review: As business needs evolve, review the software’s configuration, retention policies, and overall efficacy.

11. Data Protection and Compliance:

  • Encryption: Ensure stored and transmitted data is encrypted.
  • Compliance Tools: Use any built-in tools to assist with adherence to regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, etc.

By integrating software into your information governance strategy, you’ll be better equipped to handle the growing volume of digital information, ensuring data is properly managed throughout its lifecycle.