By Mike Palman, Managing Director, Green Plane Solutions Ltd
Document Management is growing up and with this evolvement, a host of new challenges and opportunities exist for everyone. Some Document Management terms are already on the tips of our tongues and some are being heard more often. But what are they and what do they actually mean? Here’s a quick guide to some of the most common.
Email archiving – According to a report by The Radicati Group, over 100 billion emails are sent and received each day and email continues to be the primary source of communication for businesses. This includes the sending of documents by way of an attachment.
For many individuals and companies, it’s not surprising that if they ever find themselves in court, their email trails are closely examined as the archives are said never to lie. Often the misconception of ‘local deletion’ has caught out many defendants when date and time stamped archives are used as compelling evidence.
With email archiving, copies of all emails are usually kept centrally (‘somewhere’ could be, for example, in the cloud), so even if you delete a local email on your PC, the original one is still there. The lesson here is that we all should be very careful what we put into emails as it could come back and bite us in the future!
e-discovery – We spent years convincing people to go digital, but how do you find that document when it’s archived, when you want it? Truly amazing software is now available to help find that information regardless of where it is stored. Once found, the documents are often put on Legal Hold – effectively, an electronic ring fence around the data that was e-discovered. Electronic discovery or e-discovery is any information – email, office documents, photos, video or databases – that is held in an electronic format and which can then be extracted and analysed forensically. Legal Hold is the process by which an organisation preserves all forms of relevant information when litigation, for whatever reason, might be anticipated. Once notified by legal counsel, an organisation will be put on notice to suspend the normal disposal or processing of records, in order to prevent spoliation of potential evidence.
Records Management – This is the process of controlling and governing records inside your company. But it’s complicated. There are different rules for different records. There are different rules for different countries. For example, on one side of the Atlantic you might have to prove that you have deleted a document and its meta data – data about data – whilst on the other side, you might have to prove that you haven’t deleted anything at all!
There are different types of documents that you are not allowed to send outside of the EU or outside of the US. (When rules like this have to be developed in different countries, it’s called multi-jurisdiction.) The possibilities for error and endless.
So imagine, if you will, a huge global organisation that has to first understand what records they have, secondly has to allocate policies or rules about their disposition and then govern that data over its entire lifecycle, from creation to disposition? The classification that has to be undertaken for all of these records, stored on various and often unrelated repositories, is massive.
Given the complex privacy rules across different countries, it’s a huge challenge -but also a huge opportunity – for vendors to design and implement systems that understand the difference levels of governance cross border.
As Document Management becomes more feature-rich, vendors are constantly being asked for solutions to some of their clients’ day-to-day challenges. Everything is changing, often quite quickly – think about the Instant Messaging and archiving. A couple of years ago, this could have been a headache. However a larger problem has replaced it as many social media platforms now have messaging inbuilt.
Although we continue to adapt, our appetite for information also grows, so expect to see many more acronyms and phrases related to Document Management, because it is a moving target and not likely to stop any time in the future.