A document management system (DMS) prevents many of the headaches associated with compliance. A DMS and its automated workflow enable quick, straightforward confirmation that employees are following company policies while reducing the time they spend on repetitive routine tasks. Adopting digital document management offers reporting capabilities so you can catch issues before they become problems. It’s a sure-fire way to significantly increase the odds that your organization will pass internal and external compliance audits.
Minimize the risk of non-compliance with these document management best practices
1. Ditch manual processes
2. Consider cloud automation
Advanced security and disaster recovery planning are key pillars of a compliance strategy. Cloud platforms set up clear security and privacy requirements and consistently meet them. These platforms supply state-of-the-art document and internet communication encryption that protects cloud services against protocol downgrade attacks, cookie hijacking, malware and other cyberthreats. They also provide secure backup by mirroring data in offsite data centers. Moving your DMS to the cloud guarantees your organization is meeting compliance standards while reducing the stress on internal IT resources.
3. Ease compliance by limiting access
4. Manage the complete document lifecycle
While organizations may be fined for not keeping information for a set time, holding documents beyond their required retention period also puts companies at risk for security breaches and non-compliance with privacy regulations.
5. Enact version control
With versioning, correct, approved versions of information are always the ones in use. It also plays an important part in compliance by ensuring that all required changes to a document are made, reviewed and accepted. In a multi-state hotel group, contracts go through a rigorous review process. With a manual system, it was difficult to track mark-ups as the contract passed through the approval chain. By implementing electronic workflow, the contract manager can be sure that all mark-ups are kept, and authorized personnel can go back and see the progression if needed.
6. Ace internal and external audits
7. Enable data privacy initiatives
How document management features support compliance
Defines roles and responsibilities for every user
- Automates user identification and authentication with a unique name and password
- Allows specific access rights to be assigned to each employee
- Assigns privileges at the individual level to help eliminate unauthorized activity
- Ensures a complete audit trail of which document was accessed, by whom, and what actions were taken
Restricts user access
- Provides multiple levels of control.
- Enables groups to have access to a broad category of documents.
- Can restrict group members as to what they can do with a document. For example, some of the staff may be able to view and print a document but not edit it.
Supports fraud prevention
- Provides an increased ability to review and monitor user accounts.
- Emails notifications of violations of security protocols through activity reports
- Offers error tracking and auditing capabilities
Maintains version control
- Ensures document integrity by showing exactly what has changed between document versions.
- Guarantees that users are only ever editing the most current version.
- Locks “checked out” documents to prevent multiple people from making changes at the same time.
- Preserves an accurate record of who changed what and when the changes occurred.
Creates comprehensive audit trails
Editor's note: This post has been updated for accuracy and new content has been added.