Could 2013 end up being the “Year of Privacy (or lack thereof)?” It certainly seems so given the number of breaches of sensitive information in both the private and public sector. Data has arguably become the most valuable commodity in the world; it’s created, collected and used for both good and bad purposes.
As a business owner, not only are you dependent on access to your information but also maintaining its privacy—challenging to say the least given the volume and variety of data within your organization. Your collection of information most likely includes:
- financial and accounting documents
- personnel files
- client and vendor contracts
- proprietary information
- personnel files
- vital documents
Having the right records and information management policies and procedures in place is essential in maintaining the privacy of your business information.
Balancing security and access to your information
Improper processes for preserving, organizing and retrieving business data are one of the prime contributors to breaches of private information. Most businesses operate under the false presumption that a “lock and key” approach will eliminate such threats. While preventing unauthorized access and use of confidential information is critical, data must also be accessible and available to support key business functions.
The balance between security and accessibility doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach. A thorough records management program can vastly improve the security of your business data. It starts with achieving an accurate account of what information you have–both hardcopy and electronic–and where it currently resides. Problems occur when business information cannot be found in a timely manner. Thus, maintaining an accurate inventory driven by records retention policies is essential.
Records inventory and retention
It’s not uncommon for organizations to find that they are incurring significant overhead and administrative expenses for maintaining expired records that should be destroyed. This also represents a significant data breach risk. Similarly, archival records with extended retention periods require additional space and oversight resources. Moving inactive records offsite to a secure records center simultaneously reduces the costs associated with these resources and provides more thorough privacy protection. Commercial offsite records storage offers the following benefits:
- strict chain of custody processes
- records inventory tracking
- monitored and regulated access
- expedited location and retrieval of information
- certified end of retention lifecycle disposal
- improved disaster recovery capabilities
Organizations that avail themselves of an outsourced solution for the storage and management of their information not only achieve better protection of their data but also are able to cost-effectively streamline business processes.
In all likelihood, issues around privacy will continue to evolve as information multiplies. Establishing a foundation for strong records and information management principles can help your company stay ahead of the curve.
Pacific Records Management provides records and information management solutions for businesses throughout Fresno, Stockton, Sacramento, Modesto, and Napa and Solano Counties. For more information, please contact us by phone or fill in the form on this page.