Not Your Grandfather’s Records Management

By: In: Records Management and Storage On: Feb 27, 2012
Not Your Grandfather’s Records Management

Companies today have got to be jealous when looking back at the records management requirements of yore. Three-quarters of a century ago, organizational records were produced in paper format and regulatory oversight was nowhere near as stringent.

That must seem like child’s play for today’s companies that are swimming in the flood of data and the stress of meeting numerous compliance requirements – each more challenging than the last.

Today, the prevalence of multimedia and peripheral devices is perhaps the most serious problem for companies when it comes to their records management programs, according to a recent Information Management report.

“The issue is becoming a major challenge that is only going to get worse as mobile devices and multimedia files continue to infiltrate the corporate environment,” the report stated. “The industry is thirsty for a solution that overcomes the major barriers of multimedia content.”

Though paper remains an important format for critical records, and many companies still don’t have a legally credible records retention schedule, it’s not the only hassle keeping folks awake at night. Now, companies produce and store information on numerous platforms and in many forms, including email, video and audio content, as well as spreadsheets, slideshow presentations and word processing documents. And causing the most angst is perhaps peripheral devices.

While each format is unique, it is necessary that data from each are stored and maintained properly for anything from long-term operations and compliance to having the ability to respond to litigation.

Problem No. 1: The digital deluge

The fact that information now comes in many forms is not the only challenge for multimedia records management. The sheer volume of information can also present an organization with major headaches, Information Management said.

“Audio, video, photo and app/gaming files are becoming increasingly prevalent in the workplace as companies take greater advantage of modern technology for a variety of purposes,” the report stated.

This is mainly caused by the growing importance of connected devices, it said. Employees are using more endpoints than ever to produce, store and utilize mission-critical information. While these devices are working wonders for productivity and efficiency, they may be bogging down records management in a mud puddle of data.

To resolve the issue, it’s imperative that new endpoints are covered under an information management plan. That includes deciding what information produced on the devices must be saved and what can be destroyed to free up storage space.

Problem No. 2: What to keep?

One thing’s for sure, the “keep everything” approach to records management doesn’t solve problems. In fact, it makes things worse. Given the data deluge, attempts to keep every shred of information an organization produces will prove futile. There’s simply too much, not to mention not everything should be kept.

“This approach is certainly the most costly, with exorbitant sums being spent on server capacity to store it all,” stated Information Management, which also said the practice is rife with inefficiency.

It may be a tricky process, but it’s important for the company to go through and determine the necessity of keeping certain files. That may be tedious in the short term, but it will pay dividends over time in terms of free data storage space and the company’s ability to quickly and easily retrieve information requested for litigation.

Additionally, the methods by which a company practices records management could have a direct impact on its success, industry expert Oliver Morely recently told U.K. news provider Public Service. Morely is the chief executive officer of the U.K.’s National Archives and noted in an interview that document and records storage is a highly important area of any business.

Though times, and the complexities of records management, have changed, one thing remains the same: the critical importance of being able to keep your information safe, get it when you need it and manage your records management program with experience. After all, contained in the records you keep are the answers you’ll need when the time comes.


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About the author

Amy Perras

Senior Product Marketing Manager, Records Management & Technology Services Amy is senior product marketing manager for Iron Mountain’s records management and technology services. Over the past nine years, Amy has held positions with Iron Mountain’s IT, operations, corporate communications and sales & marketing divisions. As senior product marketing manager, Amy’s focus is on the core messaging and creative marketing for Iron Mountain’s biggest business: records management. Most recently, she passed the Juran Institute Lean Six Sigma BlackBelt exam and was a leader of a business process improvement team focused on reducing the cycle time for customer on-boarding.