June 21, 2024 | BY Adis Jugo

What is the Life Cycle of Records?


Records Life Cycle Definition

The records life cycle is a concept that describes the various stages through which records pass, from their creation and active use to their final disposition. Understanding this cycle is crucial for effective records management, ensuring that records are properly maintained, accessible, and legally compliant throughout their existence.

Stages of the Records Life Cycle

Let's dive into 3 stages of records. 

Creation and Capture of Records

During the creation phase, records are generated or received by an organization. This can include various documents such as contracts, invoices, emails, and reports.

Capturing records involves ensuring they are properly documented and stored in a way that they can be easily retrieved and used when needed. For example, when creating articles of incorporation, extensive collaboration among partners and legal advisors is often required.

Employment contracts might involve using templates with minor adjustments, while a restaurant bill simply needs to be handed over to the financial department for processing.During this phase, documents are still considered living information that can be amended until they are finalized.

Storage and Maintenance

Once records are finalized, they enter the storage and maintenance phase. At this point, they become business and/or legally relevant and should not be altered. Accompanying information or metadata, such as the date of signing or the duration of a contract, is also recorded.This metadata is essential for managing and retrieving records efficiently.

For instance, a restaurant bill must be retained according to financial regulations, while articles of incorporation and employment contracts need to be preserved in their original form for legal and business purposes. Proper storage ensures records are protected and accessible throughout their retention period.

Disposition and Destruction

Disposition involves the final stage of the records life cycle, where records are either archived for long-term preservation or destroyed if they are no longer needed.

This process must be handled with care, especially for records containing sensitive information.

For example, restaurant bills may only need to be kept for a few years, while employment contracts and articles of incorporation might require longer retention. Once the retention period expires, records must be disposed of securely and irreversibly, such as by shredding paper documents or securely deleting electronic files.

This ensures compliance with legal obligations and protects sensitive information. And you can do it with KORTO

Why is Records Management Important?

Effective records management is vital for several reasons:

  1. Compliance: Adhering to legal and regulatory requirements to avoid fines and legal issues.
  2. Efficiency: Streamlining access to important records, improving productivity and decision-making.
  3. Security: Protecting sensitive information from unauthorized access and breaches.
  4. Cost Management: Reducing storage costs by disposing of unnecessary records.
  5. Historical Preservation: Maintaining a reliable record of the organization's history and activities.

Best Practices for Managing the Records Life Cycle

  1. Develop a Records Management Policy: Establish clear guidelines for handling records at each stage of their life cycle.
  2. Train Employees: Ensure staff understand their roles and responsibilities in records management.
  3. Use Technology: Implement electronic records management systems to streamline storage, retrieval, and disposition processes.
  4. Regular Audits: Conduct periodic reviews to ensure compliance with policies and regulations.
  5. Secure Storage: Protect records from unauthorized access, loss, or damage.

We found a great video of how to learn what life cycle of records is, take a look: 


How should Records be Stored and Maintained?

Records should be stored in a secure and organized manner, whether in physical or electronic form. Use reliable storage solutions that protect records from environmental damage and unauthorized access. Regularly update and back up electronic records to prevent data loss.

Do Records need to be Destroyed or Disposed of Properly?

Yes, records must be disposed of properly to ensure compliance with legal requirements and protect sensitive information. Destruction should be complete and irreversible, such as shredding physical documents or securely deleting digital files. Keep detailed records of when and how records are destroyed to maintain accountability.

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