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Manage Your Documents Like A Pro To Protect Your Workplace!

January 24, 2015


Document management is a very important skill, not just for you but also for all your employees. In the recent past, there was a case where someone found stacks and stacks of medical records thrown away in the trash can and they were intact, without being shredded or even the important information being struck off.

This represents a case of poor document management practice as anyone who comes into contact with that information can know something so confidential for the respective patients. If the patients had intended not to reveal their medical condition, details or treatment to their closed ones and if someone who knows them had picked up their information from trash, it would be a breach of confidentiality done by the doctor and the medical company, which is unprofessional behaviour. All this could have been avoided if the company practised good document management habits.

There are a few elements to good document management practice and here in this article, we will take you through those crucial points.

Workplace policy adherence

Companies should usually have their own Information Protection or Security Policies for their employees to work on and adhere to. This usually has component policies like Clean Desk Policy and a Mobile Workforce Policy. For example, a clean desk policy would mean that you would need to clear your desk often, dispose important information in the right way, like allowing shredding to be done by professionals and then disposing it. It would also require you to keep your desk clean and not allow pieces of important document lying around without being filed if they are not currently being used.

Companies would also need to have their own of the aforementioned policies and this is a first step to good document management practice. Since clear instructions would be given in the guidelines and policies, it would be easy to follow and it is the least the employees can do to keep information safe in their company.

Being compliant with privacy laws

There are also national and industrial guidelines that the company as a whole has to adhere to. They have to be compliant to different policies instilled on data keeping, like how long documents can be filed in and when they should be disposed properly. Not following these guidelines can result in penalties and fines that the company has to take up. Having such policies in place by the government or by the industrial beneficiary organizations is basically to help the companies from falling into the traps of data breach incidents.

Since it is in place for your company’s own good, you have to take initiative and you should train your employees to also take the initiative to always be complaint and to abide by these rules, regulations and guidelines. Moreover, more often than not, being compliant and abiding by these guidelines would not just protect your company from data breach incidents, but also put you in place to receive incentives from the government or from the organizations in the long run. Such incentives may even be tax rebates and other benefits.

Access to information

Each piece of document that is produced in your company should be rated on how much of important and confidential information it contains. It should then be accordingly classified to who can gain access to that piece of document. If everyone has access to all data then that is obviously going to increase the chances of having a data breach incident. You should not just consider highly important documents to have limited access by your employees. Documents with relatively important information should be limited to certain eyes and hands only. Every employee should get enough information for them to do their jobs well, nothing more and definitely nothing less.

Document storage methods

Whether you use online storage methods, computer storage methods or physical storage methods like filing, you have to remember that important information have to be neatly compartmentalized, arranged and kept away in a secured place. If it is on computer or online, you should remember to use protection methods like password protection and identification protection. For the physically filed and stored documents, they should be kept in a locked area for access to only those who need it. Information which is not needed anymore should then be disposed after being shredded. If the information is online or on computer, then make sure that deleting it does not allow anyone else trace back the backup stores to gain access to it again.

Document disposal

As mentioned before, physically stored documents should be shredded before they are disposed. Have a good system of shredding your documents. Make sure all your employees who come into contact with important documents are allocated to a shredder so that they can do the disposal easily. You can also consider having on or off site shredding. A shred all policy can also be implemented where any piece of paper that leaves the office has to be shredded before it is disposed.

As an added convenience for your business operations, you can also opt for ongoing shredding services for any document disposal. Call us today at 1.888.513.1163 for more information!

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