Record Management System

Abimuktheeswaran Chidambaram
6 min readNov 11, 2023

Records management is the control and maintenance of both digital and hard copy (paper work) documentation in an organization throughout its lifecycle. Records are documents, such as paper files, electronic files etc. Every department have Record Managers. They are responsible for maintaining the records. It is based on the severity (importance) of the document. In this article, we see the following chapters

  1. From the ISO point-of-view
  2. Importance of Record Management System
  3. Records vs Documents
  4. Life-Cycle of record in RMS
  5. Retention Policy
  6. Impact of cloud in RMS

1.From the ISO point-of-view

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) developed 15489 standard for Concepts and principles that provides a detailed description of the various elements (creation,capture, and manage) of records management and Information and documentation. ISO 223610 standard for Guidelines provides guidance on how to establish and manage records management activities.

2. Importance of Record Management System

Records management is used to help an organization keep the necessary documentation accessible for both business operations and compliance audits. Records management ensures records are properly stored, accessed and managed in a secure manner.

Historical knowledge — Proper record keeping make it easy to know about organizations and track their progress over time. It is also useful when planning for future strategies.

Security — Records management prevents the loss of documents due to improper storage , digital records breaches, such as hacking attempts that could lead to confidential information being exposed online without authorization.

Better Workflows — Most organization don’t analyze the time spent on storing or searching for records, so too much time is wasted in the process. But when documents are stored on-site (or) off-site in correct format. We can save the time and maintain the better workflow for immediate retrieval.

Compliance — businesses can protect themselves from fines and lawsuits resulting from mishandled documents.

Access control — Effective recordkeeping systems gives organizations greater control over who has access to particular types of data. This can limit certain access based on job roles and responsibilities while simultaneously enforcing security protocols across multiple departments.

3. Records vs Documents

Documents and Records means all of the files, books, recipt and certificates in paper and electronic data format.

Documents describe how things should be done. They have a version history and they require review process when updated. You can revise and change the document. It may be saved for a short time of period. Examples of documents are quality manuals, standard operating procedures (SOP), address proof oriented documents.

Records describe how the things were done. They are proof of activities performed and they do not need a release process. You cannot revise and change the record. document becomes record when it is involved in legal purpose. It may be saved for a long time of period. Examples of records are Birth and Death certificates, studies oriented certificates, training and calibration records, audit reports, customer complaints, corrective and preventive action (CAPA) records, and management review meeting minutes.

4. Life-Cycle of record in RMS

There are a number of reasons why life cycle of record is important. Reason is that it enables organizations to ensure the proper management and security of their records over time. Additionally, understanding and following a records life cycle helps organizations protect confidential information and comply with applicable laws or regulations. Having a proper records life cycle in place can also help reduce the risk of data breaches, legal liabilities, and other costly incidents. Finally, it helps to ensure that records are updated and available when needed.

Life-cycle of record are creating(capturing), distributing (classifying), storing (Active and Inactive), maintaining, retrieving, disposal (destroying), permanently preserving records (Archieve).

⁕ Creation means capturing the information and produce it as documentation. It may be the based on an event. In this stage, every record is active.

Distribution (classification) means after the record received or created, the record is arranged and distributed (seggregated). The record gets frequently used and needs to be maintained in a location that can be accessed easily

Storing the store the information securely. Paper records are stored in physical boxes at a storage facility such as safety locker (or) container in a dark environment. Electronic records are stored on storage media in on site such as on-premise (or) off site such as cloud.

Active Records are used in the organization should be easily accessible to users who need to quickly retrieve information from them. It is used in the following stages like creation, identification, and store.

Inactive Records are no longer frequently accessed in the organization’s everyday activities. You may need to retain for a specific period of time, to meet legal or audit requirements. It is used in the following stages like disposal, and archieve.

⁕ Destruction( Disposal) means destroy the record after its usage is finished. After finished, you have two options: destroy the record or archive it. If the record never need for any purpose, you can destroy it with safety measures.

⁕ Archieve means move the inactive records to archieve. In this stage, the record may need later (or) never need but it may kept during the entire life cycle. If you want security and cost-cutting, store and move the documents and records to archieve, scan your documents, and add the features of versioning, Multi-Factor Authentication to avoid the accidental deletion.

5. Retention Schedule

A records retention schedule is a policy that defines how long the content must be kept and provides guidelines for disposing the content after the retention period. After the retention period, user get approval from Record manager to destroy the files. Retention schedules outline the records managed by your organization and how long they need to be kept. Daily basis records should be updated as new documents get added, and old documents are redirected or discarded.

Retention Infrastructure makes the records accessible immediately based upon request for both staff and clients through a public portal. Having a centralized digital records management system will make it easier when it comes time for an audit or changes to important documents need to be made. It is used to protect the information against theft and data breaches, also to minimize the risk.

6. Impact of Cloud in RMS

Nowadays, cloud plays an important role in the business parts. It gives all the benefits of traditional system. As well as it gives some disadvantages also…

The advantages of cloud regarding this situation are high availablity (In case of disaster recovery), Accessiblity (access from anywhere), Security (complete control), cost-saving (no maintainance cost), agility (globally deploy), scalablity (low latency in accessible from various places).

The dis-advantages of cloud regarding this situation are lack of some control (cutomer only responsible for their data), Difficult to migrate (incase from cloud to cloud), fully depends on internet (incase internet connection fails, you can’t do anything).

Now it is your decision to choose the best cloud provider depending upon on your needs.