Record Retention: How it Applies to Your Business
Every company is responsible for proper storage and access to their records for a specific length of time. This process of record retention involves saving sensitive documents in a secure and accessible way according to a specific record retention schedule, which varies based on state and industry regulations and the type of content or record you’re retaining. Whether decide to physically store your hard copy records or decide to digitize them into an electronic format, it’s important to note that the retention policies apply.
When we talk about physical records here, we’re not just referring to paper copies; microfilm, microfiche, and aperture cards also fall into the category of record retention because of the content they contain, not the medium itself. As we go along in this article, remember that record retention applies to the data your records contain, be it on paper, microfilm and microfiche, or in digital format.
Medical records and financial statements are just two examples of sensitive content that need to be properly stored and securely retained to maintain their integrity for their required time in storage. There’s no one-size-fits-all way to do this – some companies choose onsite storage, others pay for an offsite storage facility, but one of the simplest, safest, and most effective ways to archive important records is through digital scanning and conversion.
Document Scanning & Record Retention
Document management and digital conversion of your physical records can provide cost savings, improved security and more efficient access to your data. Just a few of the benefits of electronically storing records include:
Freeing up onsite storage space for other uses and improving the overall value of your workspace; once cleared of physical records, it can be put to more productive use (such as additional employee workstations) and utilized to generate revenue instead of just for document storage.
Eliminating supply costs like file cabinets for storage and duplicates of the records as physical backups.
Eliminating the costs of offsite storage fees, record request fees (having your storage company pull your records when you need them). And the travel fees and time spent on record retrieval if/when you have to go to the storage facility yourself.
Reducing or eliminating non-compliance fines by providing a quick-access primary document and backup, compared to losing or misplacing a hard copy file or damaging it either in a disaster or through human negligence.
Saving time and money when employees don’t have to manually search for physical records or continually make unnecessary copies. Once scanned, records can be managed with minimal time and effort and distributed via your organization’s network or through permission-based web applications.
Improving retention guidelines through automated rules and notifications. After records are scanned and stored, computer software can help manage retention guidelines to help you achieve efficiencies within your retention requirements.
Increasing the effectiveness of compliance. Depending on your location and industry, you may be required to comply with laws and regulations including tax audit procedures by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), employment laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (ERISA), and mandates by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), just to name a few. Without a record retention system and efficient access to your data, an audit could become a nightmare (well, more so than it already is).
If you’re planning on scanning your microfilm and paper documents, the resulting electronic records should be securely stored in a format that follows permission-based rules to ensure they cannot be accessed by the wrong individuals. It may also be prudent to store them in a type of “read only” format to prevent manipulation or deletion. Once scanned, all records should be inspected to confirm the quality of the digital images as well as properly saved and stored before any document destruction of the physical records occur, if that’s something you plan to do. There’s always a possibility of human error during the digital conversion process, which is why it’s beneficial to hire experts to help you correctly convert and properly destroy the records you designate for retention.
Digital Conversion For Your Records
At BMI, we don’t have a cookie-cutter digital conversion program and instead customize our solutions to successfully accomplish the goals of your unique project With our suite of document scanning, microfilm conversion, cloud hosting, and software development services, we may be the right fit to help you digitize your records so that you can move away from physical storage and simplify your organization with electronic data.
- We can handle every aspect of the document scanning project, from pick-up and delivery to preparation, scanning, data extraction, and media delivery or hosting. You give us the goals, and we make it happen for you.
- Custom-built project steps are created for your unique requirements. You’re not put into a box and expected to follow our rules. Instead, we collaborate with you to understand your wants and needs and develop a project process flow to make your success a reality.
- Security is a mindset for us, and we take it seriously. Your records are important and valuable, regardless of what they contain. Yes, some types of material require different procedures for handling (like medical or criminal records), but even if you have content that is public information, we still treat it with the respect it deserves.
We have been converting documents for over sixty years, averaging fifteen million images per month across our two Northern California facilities. Not only can we convert your records into a simple digital format, but you can be confident knowing that your records are safe and secure with BMI. Are you ready to start the process of document conversion to properly store your records?