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The Importance of Record Management and the Lessons Learned During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Were all your contracts, client records, and files converted digitally and set to be easily accessed securely and remotely by your company prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic? It’s a key aspect of business continuity planning that can’t be overlooked as we move our business forward into this new world.

As we adapt to teleworking during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clearer to our business that there are areas we need to address to maintain business continuity the next time something like this occurs.

Case in point: FEMA lists a comprehensive records management plan as one of the three most important recovery tools to deal with a disaster. Why? It’s simple: an organization’s memory resides in its records.

Records Management During The COVID-19 Pandemic

The Role Of Records Management In Business Continuity

Business continuity encompasses a range of considerations: simple decisions like making sure main hardware and software can be brought back online quickly; and more complex processes that are required to get a business back to a normal operational state.

But how can you make these decisions if you don’t have a clear idea of what “normal” means for your business?

Can your business operate without access to main IT systems such as your file server or line of business software? Probably not. Understanding that, you need to know how long your business can go before it starts losing revenue/profits.

Thanks to COVID-19, it is more likely now than ever before that company leadership will proactively invest in business continuity projects. You should consider investing in an Electronic Content Management System (ECM) strategy, which will support your Business Continuity efforts, and help you get back to “business as usual” as quickly as possible.

4 Questions To Answer For Your Record Management Processes

  1. How Will Our Employees Access Their Records If They Must Work From Home? During a major outage, employees will need to have access to their regular working files to stay productive. Electronic Document and Records Management systems allow your employees to continue working off-site, while protecting your content through fine-tuned ABAC and RBAC permissions.  But what if you still have important files in storage facilities or filing cabinets and your employees cannot access your building? This is why digitization of any hard copy documents needs to be a regular part of your records management.
  2. Are Manual Processes Putting Us At A Higher Risk? During a disaster, employees may be unable to perform manual processes that weren’t explicitly documented. A complete records repository means that you can recover these lost processes by examining the files and communications employees produce surrounding them. Modern ERM systems allow you to create Forms and Workflows on the fly. During a disaster, the ability to structure your processes digitally means faster time to recovery, maintaining continuous operations even with an entirely remote workforce.
  3. Is Our Data Digitized, Archived And Backed-Up Properly For Disaster Recovery Situations? Records Management systems will capture your documents and data, replicating them to disaster-safe storage. With Disaster Recovery mechanisms in place for Records Management systems, major outages are unlikely to result in significant data loss. Modern ERM systems allow for easy integration with your LOB servers and platforms, allowing you to support Disaster Recovery objectives even for systems that are not natively DR-ready.
  4. How Can We Stay Compliant During Disasters? Having a complete records system allows you to mitigate noncompliance risks during an emergency situation. This includes proving losses and damages for insurance claims with documentation, as well as monitoring for fraud. During and after a disaster, organizations will need to prove their compliance, all while showing that they took the necessary steps to reduce loss of life or damage to property. This is essential from both a legal standpoint, as well as a Public Relations one.

Do You Need To Improve Your Records Management Processes?

The bottom line is that Records Management is a critical business continuity initiative. To ensure your company has a comprehensive plan, make sure they see the critical role of Records Management. The steps you take today will keep critical processes operational during a crisis, reduce process downtime, and reduce the risk your company faces.

Like this article? Check out the following blogs to learn more:

5 Tips for Successfully Working from Home

7 Necessities Before Sending Your Workforce Remote

Your 10-Point Checklist For Switching To A Remote Work Model