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How To Improve Records Management With EMA

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Records management is a function that follows the lifecycle of data, and information from creation, access, storage and deletion. ISO 15489 and BS10008 are the industry standards for records management.

EMA is the electronic management of records, which businesses now rely on for identifying, indexing, storing etc. evidence of what’s going on in a company, i.e. its activities.

Manual records management is labour-intensive, but this is yet another area of business that is being overhauled and replaced technology. For example, an EMA system which can be likened to a content management system (CMS), does away with the need of manually managing and storing hard copies.

However, statistics show that hard copy records are still found in 80% of global organizations, which actually has a negative impact on the organization. It is estimated that challenges with this type of document actually accounts for 21.3% productivity loss in the business.

Why are some organisations still hanging on to obsolete processes then, and why should they start looking at evolving their systems?

We took a look at the top reasons why companies should start putting more resources into creating a streamlined electronic record management system. We unpack the benefits it will have on the organization, as well as the risks faced should the system not be overhauled within the next few years.

So, if you are on the fence about upgrading your system, take a look below.

Ensuring Compliance To Relevant Regulations and Legislation

The first reason to relook at your ERMS is to ensure that you are compliant with the relevant legal and regulatory requirements established for organizations.

Holding up a level of accountability is crucial in ensuring that your business is not penalized for non-compliance. Depending on where you are based in the world, fines can be imposed on companies that are not complying with relevant legislation and not fully protecting the company and customer information.

BS 10008

One of the flagship, and first of its kind standards released for companies to comply with is the BS 10008. This particular standard lays out ways that an organization can manage the risks to the authenticity, integrity, and availability of electronic information for the whole of its lifecycle. It provides a step-by-step guideline to ensure that all records are created, stored, handled, transferred, and destroyed in the most transparent, efficient, and safest way possible.

In comparison to the ISO Standards, mainly ISO 27001 and ISO 9001, the BS 10008 hasn’t been around for that long. It also has less reach than ISO (International Standard Organization) has, being British Standards, but this doesn’t mean it does not have a global impact. In fact, even though fewer companies are certified with the BSI (British Standards Institute), it was the first standards body in the world and paved the way for other standard bodies to be created.

Unlike the ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 standards, the BS 10008 applies specifically to both scanned documents and “born” digital information and is centered around digital records. ISO 27001 creates a standard for information in the business, but this extends beyond digital to hard copy and paper. It is, therefore, one of the most genuinely unique standards and guidelines for companies and has pioneered the control of digital documents globally.

Mitigating Risks Within the Organization

A properly executed and well-managed record management system will also help the company mitigate the key risks that come with creating, storing, managing and disposing of vital company and customer information. With the move to online and digital management, data and information has become a prime target for fraudsters and criminals globally.

It is estimated that the total global loss due to online attacks, and the poor control of digital records top a whopping $1.1 trillion. Over 68% of companies worldwide have been impacted by some kind of cyber attack, with data breaches climbing over 64% over the last three years. Hackers attack every 39 seconds, and even some of the biggest companies globally, like Uber, Yahoo, and Amazon have been victim to targeted data attacks.

The proper records management system can work to secure and protect a business in two ways. It can first put in place a response plan to a breach in security and provide guidelines for compliance concerns, disaster recovery issues, public relations crises, discrete information breaches, and security threats.

Secondly, it can assist a company in circumventing the risks entirely by ensuring that all data, information, and critical company records are correctly stored and managed.

Improving Business Efficiency

As mentioned previously, the lack of an efficient documentation system is a large cause for productivity to take a massive hit in an organization. With a reliable record management system in place, companies can streamline and heighten access to vital information.

With quick data retrieval, staff can efficiently access information that will improve customer service with accurate and swift responses to queries and engagement.

Electronic record management is also extremely cost-effective for a business. Having a storage facility for physical documentation and files can be incredibly costly to a business. Moving all information and files to a digital format means that everything will be kept on servers, backed-up, or in the cloud, which makes physical storage null and void.

Lastly, it allows for efficient collaboration between staff and teams. With the development of devices and off-site communication, vital information can easily be transferred between individuals for ease of service.

Take a look at the medical industry, for example. The development of the sector has allowed patients, doctors, specialists, and solution providers to connect instantly and share vital medical information about the patient. This has streamlined the diagnosis and treatment processes, heightening patient care.

Last Thoughts

Electronic record management systems, as you can see, can not only save your company money, from storage to penalties and fines, to improve customer retention, but it can streamline your business functions and turnover. It allows your staff heightened searching capabilities and more access to accurate information in a reduced amount of time.

With the right back-up systems, you can ensure that all vital company data is not only protected from hackers and cybercriminals but can be accessed at any time when necessary.

Use BS 10008 or ISO 27001 for records management, and your business will be not only mitigating risks associated with lack of evidence and insufficient data but also improve productivity and lower labor costs.

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