Learn how your organization can manage its data using records lifecycle.
Published 11 Nov 2022
The records lifecycle is the process that governs how records are created, used, and disposed of. In other words, it begins with the creation of a record and ends with its destruction. Record lifecycles vary depending on the record type, but all records must go through the same primary stages: creation, use, and disposition.
Organizations can ensure that their records are appropriately managed and comply with applicable laws and regulations using the records lifecycle. It also helps to ensure that records are accessible when needed and protected from unauthorized access or destruction.
Ultimately, the records lifecycle helps organizations meet their business needs while protecting the rights of individuals affected by the records.
Strong records management practices make an organization’s handling of records more efficient and effective and increase productivity company-wide. Improved efficiency leads to greater effectiveness.
Records management becomes much simpler when a records lifecycle is in place because it guarantees that all records are maintained and safeguarded correctly. Furthermore, the cycle outlines when to dispose of or archive certain records according to their retention plan, which helps an organization comply with various regulations.
The records lifecycle is the process that records go through from creation to disposal. It is a system used to manage records, so they are easily accessible, secure, and can be disposed of when they are no longer needed.
The records lifecycle typically has five stages: creation, maintenance, retrieval, disposal, and archival. The stages in the lifecycle have distinct roles, and each must meet its goals for the lifecycle to continue. The following phases are described in more detail:
Your organization may require changes more than what the primary stages of the records lifecycle have to offer. For example, companies often want to add a phase to control how documents are stored electronically or on paper.
Other stages that your organization might include in its records lifecycle are:
The way your organization stores its records is just as important as the act of storing them. This process will determine document preservation and electronic storage.
No matter how old, your firm can always access the records if appropriately maintained. So besides collecting and preserving records, only authorized individuals should evaluate their content.
Depending on the document’s format, there are different ways to keep it safe. Only cleared staff members should have access to paper documents stored in a cabinet.
Backing up and testing your company’s records is crucial to the lifecycle of those documents. You should have digital and physical copies stored off-site in a secure location. Backup levels should be labeled with frequency, retention period, and formal description.
For backed-up data, you’ll need inventory records that document the content and location of each item. In addition, it’s crucial to have a clear plan for restoring data to access the information when needed.
If your company stores data on physical media, it should have security protocols for anyone handling the information during transit. It includes approving couriers and other personnel and having technical and physical security standards for the packaging of the media.
The company must encrypt and decrypt data electronically to prevent unwarranted access. It will be beneficial if the public network has a message content security system that requires authentication.
Management should establish exchange policies and agreements for all individuals—external and internal—who are privy to confidential company information. These agreements should include guidelines on securely handling this type of sensitive data.
Also, the policy should explicitly state who is accountable for any possible security breach. When records management and data access policies are followed stringently, there will be little ambiguity surrounding handling company information. It ensures that all data is stored securely at each stage of its lifecycle.
Records lifecycle management has three main categories of issues: data protection, storage, and capture.
One main factor determining how long a record lasts how relevant the content is. If an older record is no longer relevant or has been superseded by a newer one, it can be archived or deleted.
Adding new data to a record at a constant pace can also affect how long the record lasts—if the record is constantly updated, it will last longer. However, if the information is only being added occasionally, the record may not be updated often and may be deleted or archived sooner.
Assessing the organization’s records requirements is the first step in the records life cycle. It includes understanding the organization’s legal and regulatory obligations and business needs.
Record management consists of eight fundamental principles:
According to ISO 15489, the standardization of records management has become globally essential in the business sphere.
Poor recordkeeping can be attributed to several reasons. Some of the reasons include the lack of data, resources, and training may be a contributing factor. Another reason may be that they do not have an adequate system to manage their records. It can often lead to data inaccuracy, fraud, and poor customer support.
SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) is an easy-to-use platform that helps organizations manage their safety, quality, and compliance programs for records management. It allows recordkeeping teams to sustain records throughout their entire lifecycle using a suite of comprehensive digital solutions. SafetyCulture allows users to:
Rob Paredes is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. He is a content writer who also does copy for websites, sales pages, and landing pages. Rob worked as a financial advisor, a freelance copywriter, and a Network Engineer for more than a decade before joining SafetyCulture. He got interested in writing because of the influence of his friends; aside from writing, he has an interest in personal finance, dogs, and collecting Allen Iverson cards.
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