Challenges of Electronic Records Management Program With information technology being popularizes, many organizations start to change handwritten or paper-based record to electronic record and build up their electronic record management system. Electronic record management system can help end user to search useful records easier and convenience. But some organizations has not well prepare the electronic record management system, so have many problem was come out. Therefore, we design the system need to consider many issues when using the system, now we are going to discuss some cases and solutions about this topic.
Email with attachments is the lower cost way to keep records. For example: order confirmation, quotation, invoice……etc. Many small organizations may not have a faultless email filing plan, they just provide email account which is using POP3 to receive email from SMTP server, even they won’t keep any copy on server if make sure the mail already transmitted to user’s PC. User can print out the hard copy if they think it is a record or they can press delete button on any mail they think it is not useful. But this method have some issues need to beware, if user just pressed the wrong button on some mail, then this mail will not be found anymore.
Because we have not any extra copy of this mail, so must be keep the copy on mail server for back up use, we can create destruction period of these extra mail copy, maybe three or six months, it is depends on different company practice. Also, we can provide staff training to teach end user how to operate and fully use email tools to storage email records. Back up schedule for email system also necessary. Some organizations will create shared drive at their work place’s PC network to store or share some centralized files to let multi users read, modify….. etc. This is best way to let users to get the updated information.
We need to concern the security and how to protect records consistency, before to create home group network, we need concern how to set up permission of individual user, permission means the user can read, modify, delete files or folder on the network. In general, server’s administrator is allowed to full control the files and folders on shared drive, we won’t allow “everyone” to full control shared drive’s folder and files. This can avoid someone to destroy any data on shared drive. Also, all data on shared drive need to do the route back up; this avoids the hardware shut down suddenly.
Back up can do by manual, copy and paste to external drive, or upload to cloud storage space, or other storage media which can be archival easier. Some organizations need invested many sources and IT support to manage their electronic records management systems (ERMS). For example, hospital and bank, they need storage and process many confidential and private records by daily work. Also, these electronic records system also need link up database to make sure records keep consistency. ERMS can let user to track and store records easier and centralize all the records.
User can use sort function to search the records what they need. ERMS can allow multi users to login database. Therefore, should need set up some retractions when design the program. For example, if a record was modifying, system will alert other user this is not updated record. Also, ERMS need keep maximum protection of system to protect any attack from hacker or viruses oppositely. Therefore, these ERMS should need IT support team to monitor the systems daily operation to maintenance systems are operated smoothly and provide urgent support when the system was shut down and solve the trouble issues immediately.
Some organizations start to change their paper-based records to digital images. Scanner is the common and user friendly. Their output files can be PDF, TIF……etc. We need use software (Adobe reader or window defaulted software) to open related files. Normally all scan copy should need contain at lease 200 dpi to ensure the soft copy quality. Digital images record is most convenience way and lower cost way to let user search for records and keep long storage life, avoid data will affected by storage environment. But also need select storage media carefully. We need select storage media consider on records’ retention period and activity level.
We suggest keeping same retention period record on same storage media, please don’t mix up different retention period records together. Also, if save the records on external storage media, CD-Rom or DVD, it’s need consider the records privacy level, don’t put the storage media to public place, it is easy to disclose the private data if the record is confidential. For confidential records, we suggest to store or archival records use password to meet the protect purpose. Up to now, store electronic records is seldom, many organizations were developing their own electronic record management system.
In fact, build up the new system is so easy, but going to maintenance system is hard task. Organizations should be concern and set up some policy is suit for own company to follow. Moreover, disposition procedure of electronic records also very important. If organization decide to use electronic record management system, design workflow of handle electronic records is necessary. Also, staff training is good way to teach end user to use systems to match their daily work for seeking records. This is direct affect records are storage or use well.
If electronic records were stored properly, it is totally save organization cost to keep paper-based records and increase staff efficiency. Therefore, build up the faultless system can bring organization many advantages for business, of course need follow above solutions to improve system. If organization can managed electronic records very well, it is bring some confidence to customer; it can earn some goodwill value for business. For the future, we believe paper-less business will be more popularize, that’s why well prepare electronic record management system is very valuable. This can bring organization much future contribution.