Electronic Record Retention – Do you have a Comprehensive Retention Policy?

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A survey conducted by AIIM, an enterprise content management industry association, found nearly half of American companies have not adopted a comprehensive record retention policy, despite growing pressure from courts and regulators to store and maintain all documents, including electronic documents and e-mail messages.

In AIIM’s survey of 2,100 records and information managers, 68% responded that they do not have a set plan to preserve electronic records that need to be migrated off of current production systems and onto an archiving system to ensure their accessibility over time.

E-mail retention is a troubling issue for many businesses, since they conduct a majority of their communications with customers, business partners, and insurance agents via e-mail. Even though AIIM found that 49% of organizations have not adopted a record retention policy for e-mail, they do recognize they should not take any chances.

Federal and industry regulators understand the role e-mail plays in corporate life today. Consequently, almost every new regulation mandates that e-mail messages are to be saved for a certain amount of years and they must be quickly and easily retrieved when needed or when requested by regulators. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) requires organizations save every record that informs its audit process, e-mails included, for seven years. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 17a-4, which covers brokerages, is another example. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Medicare both require health-care companies to save e-mails.

Retaining e-mail records is one challenge; ensuring security is another. To keep electronic records safe, organizations need to apply measures to keep data, to ensure the physical protection of data and to create an audit trail showing who has had access to the data.

Document management systems can help organizations quickly and easily retain electronic records, including emails, and ensure the safety of all stored records. By implementing a document management solution, businesses can retain all records, paper and electronic, for safe and easy archival, and helps organizations meet their statutory requirements.

Increase profitability by implementing a document imaging solution, your firm should be able to reduce overhead costs while maximizing productivity and workplace efficiency. Ultimately, firms can focus on what matters most satisfying customers and building the business.

Improve document security Document imaging provides the ability to restrict access to sensitive documents, and determine the extent of an individual’s access to any file and document. Managers can easily control whether employees, customers, or vendors can view, annotate, re‐file, email, and fax, print or delete documents. Paper files do not allow for this type of security. The only security available to paper files is the ability to lock a filing cabinet.

Compliance Strategy Users can easily implement a secure document imaging strategy that allows firms to meet their statutory obligations while minimizing daily operations and keeping costs down. A document imaging solution can also reduce paper recordkeeping costs and facilitate producing records on demand for auditing purposes.

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