Every record comes with a temporary or permanent life cycle. The period for which the records must be retained to meet historical, fiscal, administrative, and legal requirements determines its lifecycle. For the entire process, the organization must adequately manage and regulate a record for the time span of its existence.
Records lifecycle is a group of stages through which every record must pass and be managed. It includes three primary stages: receipt or creation, distribution, and disposition. Of course, the process also includes some other stages. Every phase comes with individual policies and procedures.
The record's life cycle is based on the belief that some records have longer retention of value than others, while the value of records remains subject to constant change over time. For instance, if any record has permanent retention, its worth will retain for eternity. On the other hand, if a document has four-year retention, its worth will be nothing after those four years.
From creation to disposition, the record life cycle has helped businesses manage, maintain, and upkeep records efficiently in various stages. In addition, this life cycle ensures vital records remain accessible at any time and enhances compliance with multiple rules and regulations. Thus, record lifecycle management has become more critical than ever.
It makes sure that the data is available when and where required, in a proper setting with all the arrangements. In addition, Invensis provides end-to-end customized document management services across major business functions and industry verticals, ensuring on-time fulfillment of tasks. So, keep reading this article to gain valuable insight into how records management can ensure the optimal care and maintenance of your organization’s records.
As mentioned, when it comes to records management, there’s a lifecycle that correlates with the stages that every record passes through. From the record creation to its disposition, the lifecycle covers it all.
It starts off with the creation of the document and ends with its preservation or disposal. These phases can be termed uniquely by different software, programs, and education sources.
However, they stand out to be fixed and work synchronously and consistently. Here’s the typical classification of the records’ lifecycle:
Creation stands to be the first stage of the lifecycle of your organization’s records. It means the production or reproduction of documented information. The stage starts with the receipt or creation of the record. For instance, you may receive a memo via mail (receipt) and write a financial report (creation).
When creating records, make sure they’re of the finest standard format. In addition, ensure the records are high-quality, validated, precise, and reliable. Every organization has its unique way of creating documents.
In this stage, every record is active.
“Distribution and Use” is termed as the second stage of the records lifecycle. Once a record gets received or created, it undergoes the phase of distribution and usage. The distribution in the records life cycle includes both external and internal distribution, and it has an impact on the part of the entire business.
In this phase, the record gets frequently used and needs to be maintained in a location that can be accessed easily. The record must stay for a couple of hours or years, depending on the retention period.
Typically, business records come with a specified retention period. Such records get classified by the period for which they need to be kept to confirm record accessibility and integrity. This has an impact on the enterprise’s legal compliance and business requirements.
Disposition is the end stage of the records lifecycle, where the records are destroyed. The record's lifecycle meets its end when its retention period expires.
When there’s no more use for the records, they can be either transferred to archives or deleted. When the record’s lifecycle ends, your records management team decides whether to keep or destroy the record. Whether you fully destroy the records, transfer them to another organization, or achieve storage, you must dispose adequately to avoid any issues later.
Mainly, it involves the removal of records from the electronic system and its pickups when it comes to electronic records. When it comes to physical records, they will be thrown away manually. However, there are several ways to get rid of or destroy the records, such as:
Although the above is the primary records life cycle, your organization’s demands may require changes. For instance, your company may want to add a phase to control how documents are stored, either electronically or on paper. So, take a look at some other stages that your organization may include in its records lifecycle:
It is crucial for the organization’s to preserve their records correctly to ensure easy access. This stage will involve how efficiently and properly your organization will preserve paper documents and the location and ways to store electronic documents.
No matter how old, your firm can always access the records if it's maintained properly. So besides collecting and preserving records, it’s crucial that only those records with proper access can evaluate their content. Depending on the document's format, there are different ways to keep it safe. Paper documents should stay filed in a cabinet, and the access must remain with the authorized staff only.
Developing and evaluating data backup procedures becomes essential when it comes to records lifecycle. Your firm should adequately back up the digital and physical records and test them to check the accessibility of both backup and original content.
The firm must choose any secure remote site for storing the backed-up electronic data. Also, the company must label every back up level with the frequency of imaging, length of retention, and formal description.
For backed-up data, you’ll need inventory records. It must include the records’ content and their current location. In addition, it’s crucial to properly document the data restoration process to enable access to the backed-up information.
If your company data is stored in any physical media, it should be protected by strategies that explicitly approve couriers or anyone involved in the information transit. Moreover, media in transit must have technical and physical security and packaging standards.
The firm must implement secure encryption and decryption to protect electronic data from unauthorized access. Using a public network platform is helpful if it comes with a message content security system and requires authentication.
There must be formal information exchange policy guidelines for external and internal parties familiar with company information. In addition, such information exchange agreements should specify every type of information management responsibility.
Furthermore, the policy must clearly specify the liabilities and responsibilities for any potential security exposure. By keeping strict records management lifecycle policies, access to data has high transparency, and the company records are arranged securely as per their lifecycle’s stage.
The challenges of records lifecycle management can be classified into three categories: data protection, data storage, and data capture.
Companies can deal with their records more effectively and efficiently by implementing strong records management practices. It will help them boost productivity and the comprehensive efficacy of combined operations.
Records lifecycle helps an organization to manage and preserve all its records properly. It also helps them dispose of or archive the records with a retention plan to adhere to the compliance regulations and standards.
If there were no lifecycle, the records management approaches would never be worthwhile, and the efficiency with which they are implemented and managed would suffer.
Look at our previous blog, "An Introduction to the Outsourcing Lifecycle – Why it Matters?" which explained the stages of the outsourcing lifecycle comprehensively,
Invensis takes pride in offering one of the best records management services for companies worldwide. We have in-depth knowledge and wider access to the latest technologies that ensure scalable records and optimal document management solutions. To help you achieve business objectives, our services ensure on-time availability of data and quick access to records.
We prevent your records from becoming a liability by turning them into paperless digital assets. Our experts leverage the best-in-class data capture technology for scanning, digitizing, and storing your company’s physical records. In addition, we use an access-enabled record management solution for managing and preserving those digitized records or data.
So, in this era of rapid digitization, every business must put its strategic focus on having records management. However, it may be possible that your business can’t afford to hire full-time resources for its records management due to other business priorities and goals.
In that case, if your firm has limited storage space and needs to comply with the document management regulation standards, go for outsourcing. Collaborate with Invensis to outsource records management services at an economical price for a better tomorrow.
The fundamental principles of record management are Transparency, Protection, Integrity, Compliance, Accountability, Accessibility, Retention, and Disposal. As per ISO 15489: records management has become a globally acknowledged necessity of the business world.
Poor record-keeping is often an outcome of inadequate systems and maintenance processes. Some reasons behind it include a lack of data, resources, and training. In addition, it can often result in data inaccuracy, fraud, poor customer support, etc.
The critical components of records management include:
Regardless of the company’s size, the model means that the records management division is in charge of the whole corporate records management process, including segments like the design, training, and monitoring of related documents.