Despite the onset of the information era, not all data developed or received by an organization will make it to the official document status – and these will require responsible management, as they will serve as proof of completed commercial transactions, decisions made, or for compliance purposes. The proper records management, including documents and information, is becoming more and more complicated, especially due to the various formats in which they are created each day. An extra challenge is posed by the place of storage: in multiple applications, file exchange systems, mobile devices, in the cloud, on tapes, etc. Industry specific governance is also growing in size, adding to the complexity of the process.
When in business, companies create, receive and process hundreds, or even thousands of records, both in physical and electronic formats. Individual staff members with access to the records usually use them as required, being unaware of the proper records management rules. Failure to do so may result in data leaks and information breaches, difficulties finding the required data, or the unnecessary storage of documents following a specific period of time – in all of these situations, leading to extra expenses. According to research (e.g. Veritas), about one third of all records and information stored by companies will never give them any value, usually being stuck in physical archives or servers, adding to the overheads. This one third of records and information is often referred to as “ROT”, for Redundant/Obsolete/Trivial.
This is why comprehensive records and information management rules and policies ought to be implemented, regardless of information media. In recent years, this is usually carried out as part of the so-called information governance, covering multiple policies and best practices. The correct adoption and implementation of information governance will protect the contents from potential data leaks and information breaches, and will ensure the correct and fast to authorized users. An important factor in the process is the consideration of the cost variance between the storage of records at a company’s own premises against the option to have them stored by a professional third party provider who, with storage facilities located outside of central city districts, can convert the fixed cost to the variable.