Record Management System | Document & Data Retention Software
Records management software are computer programs designed to systematically control records within an organization. Such software can help manage records in any format, and many programs have advanced capabilities for managing electronic records. However, evaluating, selecting, and purchasing records management software depends on several factors. No one system is right for all users, and the system you choose should fit the size and complexity of your organization.
But records management systems also serve a more general function: they greatly simplify the many workflow processes required to create, distribute and maintain accurate records. They have this in common with (the more general-purpose) document management software and for this reason, there are many similarities between the two.
As mentioned above, records are a very specific type of document that can serve as legal proof or evidence. Think of it like squares and rectangles: a record is a type of document, but not all documents are records. As such, records are often necessary in order to prove compliance with regulations and laws.
In some industries, compliance must be shown at periodic intervals. For example, a food distributor uses records to demonstrate compliance with food safety regulations and may need to do so every year or every quarter, as mandated by local regulations.
There are many general functions that you should look for in records management software like
- Help features: These can include user-friendly online tutorials, easy-to-understand error messages, and support and training by the vendor
- Menus and commands: These should be easy to understand and should be organized in a logical way
- Speed and accuracy: You should be able to enter and retrieve data quickly, with reduced retrieval times
- Generation of standard reports: The software should generate reports easily and print them out as they are seen on the screen
- Ease of use: The software itself should be user-friendly; you should be able to use it the day it is installed
- Customization: You should be able to customize the software to meet the specific needs of your organization without sacrificing the benefits of standard practices
- Ability to manage records throughout their life cycle: Many organizations purchase software that manages records throughout their life cycle—from creation and active use to inactive use and disposition. Be sure to purchase software that meets your records life cycle requirements.
- Ability to manage records in all formats: The software should help you manage records in any format, if necessary, including paper, electronic, micrographic, and audio-visual records
- Free-text searching across fields: Any text maintained by the software should allow free-text or keyword searching across fields
Retention in Record Management
Companies face legal and regulatory requirements for retaining records. Each company’s specific requirements should be detailed in a Record Retention Policy and accompanying Record Retention Schedule. These provide both a legal basis for records compliance as well as a consensus on which records should be saved for how long they must be kept. And, equally important, when they should be deleted (destroyed).
Records retention policies and procedures should include:
- Archiving policies for various document types. In other words, how long these different document types stay “active” before they can be sent to the library archive.
- A destruction policy for setting how long information is retained before it is destroyed. This avoids destroying vital documents prematurely, or not at all. Retaining everything indefinitely is not good records management.
- Procedure for capturing the proper information for regulatory reporting. It is critical for organizations to assess their current state of preparedness to determine how well they can safely and efficiently respond to an e-discovery request or governmental inquiry.
Some of the Major players in Record Management and Document handling includes
- Alfresco Content Services- Alfresco Content Services provides open, flexible, scalable Enterprise Content Management (ECM) capabilities. Content is accessible wherever and however you work and easily integrates other business applications. Alfresco puts sophisticated technology to work to automate the records management process, making end-to-end processes happen automatically and invisibly. Using the system is easy, and compliance “just happens,” with little or no user intervention.
- Easy-to-set rules and metadata automatically drive what needs to be declared as a record and where it should be filed in the File Plan, while records remain easily accessible by sanctioned users
- Powerful rules and business processes help file, find, review and audit records, saving time for users and administrators
- Configurable File Plans provide effortless control over retention schedules for review, hold, transfer, archive and the destruction of records
- Supports records declaration directly from your desktop
- OpenText Records Management (formerly Livelink ECM – Records Management) delivers records management functions and capabilities to provide full lifecycle document and records management for the entire organization. This product allows your organization to file all corporate holdings according to the organizational policies, thereby ensuring regulatory compliance and reducing the risks associated with audit and litigation. OpenText Records Management provides options for classifying information quickly and easily. Classify information interactively, with a single click, automatically inherit retention schedules and classifications by moving records en masse into folders, classify records based on roles or business processes or auto-classify content. Further, increase efficiency through the automatic import of retention policies and other data into OpenText Records Management. OpenText Records Management maps record classifications to retention schedules, which fully automates the process of ensuring records are kept as long as legally required, and assuredly destroyed when that time elapses. When a retention schedule expires, final decisions can be made to destroy the object, retain it for a period of time, or keep it indefinitely
- FileCloud – FileCloud retention policies deliver control and compliance for the files and their folder groupings in the Cloud. Retention policies allow administrators to automate some processing related to protecting data and help secure digital content for compliance and enhancing the management of digital content for other internal reasons. Without the right systems within your cloud solution to discover and essentially preserve the sensitive content, the time and costs spent on litigation and handle legal cases can quickly spiral out of control. FileCloud retention policies are created and attached to stored files and folders. These special policies allow administrators to define the conditions that enforce a set of restrictions on how each file or folder can be manipulated. For example, administrators can create a Retention Policy that disables a user’s ability to delete or edit any of the files and folders named in the policy. To resolve the issue of conflicting policies, FileCloud ranks retention policies by what best protects and retains the digital content.
- Admin Hold: Outranks all other policies and prevents any update or delete of digital content for an indefinite period of time.
- Legal Hold: Freezes digital content to aid discovery or legal challenges. During a legal hold, file modifications are not allowed.
- Retention: Identifies digital content to be kept around for an unlimited amount of time before being deleted or released.
- Archival: Moves and stores old organizational content for the long term. No Deletion is allowed until a specified time period is reached. After this time, content gets moved to a specific folder.
- Trash Retention: Can be configured for automatic and permanent deletion of all files in the Trash bins or to expire with no actions
- Box – Box allows customers to configure automated policies, known as retention policies, to control the preservation and deletion schedules of their enterprise documents. Retention policies enable the business to maintain certain types of content in Box for a specific period of time and to remove content from Box that is no longer relevant or in use after a specific period.
Box Governance offers to support metadata-driven retention polices, where retention policies can be applied to individual files based on custom metadata. This also enables customers to configure retention policies at the file level in addition to at the global and folder levels.
Admins and Co-Admins who have permission to manage policies can create any type of retention policy, including a metadata-driven retention policy.
- Microsoft Sharepoint Online – Records Management is one of the key components of an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) System such as Microsoft SharePoint. There are a couple of ways in which you can manage records in SharePoint and SharePoint Online. You can create a dedicated Records Center Site that serves as an Archive, and documents are copied to the archive based on the retention policy. Another option is to manage records “in place” and this is where you can leave a document in its current location on a site, declare it as a record, and apply the appropriate security and retention properties. SharePoint Online can be used to create a complete records management system using its “off-the-shelf” capabilities. Planning the structure of the record center and the libraries that will be contained within it is a key consideration, but fundamentally the process is, at its core, quite simple:
- Content Types for the documents.
- Policy Rules for moving documents to the Records Center and the Exceeds Retention Records Center.
- Content Organizer Rules for distribution to the correct Library in each Record Center.
- Library List Views for automated approval notifications.