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SharePoint 2010 for Records Management: Figure Out Governance and Compliance Requirements Before Deployment

Governance and compliance play essential roles in your records management (RM) strategy. If the correct foundation is not laid out at the beginning, then you run the risk of encountering multiple setbacks and potential delays when deploying and ultimately using SharePoint. So rather than put it off until the end of your implementation, take some time upfront to determine your record management needs and build them in from the beginning.

First of all, how do you want to handle your records? In SharePoint 2010, you have multiple options that allow you to archive records or keep them within your active document folders. Before SharePoint 2010, you had to create a records center site to serve as an archive. This was prone to confusion as users had to remember to move the file over once it became a record, and then users could not edit it at that point.

As you’re figuring out which option while work best for you, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Governance: Is the governance of the collaboration site appropriate for managing records? Is your industry subject to regulatory requirements that mandate records be separated from active documents? Should the administrator of a collaboration site be trusted to manage a site that contains records? You might want to store records in a site that uses more restricted access than the collaboration site, or in a site that is backed up on a different schedule.
  • Timeline: How long will the collaboration site be in use? If records will have to be kept for longer than the project is ongoing, choosing an in-place records management strategy means that you will have to maintain the collaboration site even after it is no longer used.
  • Accessibility: Will the project members need frequent access to the documents after the documents have become records? If you use an in-place approach, project members can access documents in the same manner regardless of whether the documents are active or are records.
  • Compliance: Are records managers in your organization responsible for only records, or are they responsible for all information, regardless of whether it is active or a record? If records managers are responsible only for official records, having a separate records center might be easier for them.

 Records management may seem like a small step in planning your SharePoint implementation, but it’s an important one. Answer the questions above, and you’ll have the framework laid out to avoid confusion

By Robert Jumblatt of CoreBix, Microsoft SharePoint solution provider out of Washington D.C.

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