General, Organization, Technology

How to Add Security to Paper (Hint: You Can’t)

Securing documents that contain confidential information is one of your school district’s biggest responsibilities. With nearly 8% of documents getting lost or misplaced, it’s more important than ever for your school district to have a strong security plan to protect your student’s, employee’s, and stakeholders’ information.

Here are 4 ways to minimize your risk and keep your school paperwork secure:

1. Minimize Access to Confidential School Documents

One way to reduce the likelihood that your paperwork will fall into the wrong hands is to remove the opportunity. Do your current workplace policies make it clear that confidential paperwork should never be left unattended? If not, it may be time to take another look at the policies your school district has in place. Even a quick trip to the bathroom leaves your paperwork vulnerable to theft.  

Another way to increase security is to install locks on your file rooms and file cabinets. While this seems obvious, many times individual schools or employees overlook this or feel it’s too burdensome when files need to be accessed frequently. It’s important that your staff understand the why behind your school district’s policies to create buy in and ensure locks are being used throughout your district.

Like paperwork, keys can also be misplaced. As a best practice, you’ll want to ensure you have a tracking system in place for every key your school district has. At a minimum, this system should show who has access to the keys, when and how checks them out or borrows them, and when they are returned.

2. Create a Solid School Paperwork Retention Schedule

There are many regulations that require your records to be stored for a certain period of time, but there are some types that don’t have a set timeframe. If your records retention schedule doesn’t address these documents, you may want to consider updating your school district’s schedule. 

Creating and following a solid retention schedule will reduce the amount of paperwork you have to worry about. This not only frees up space by getting rid of unnecessary paper. It also decreases the likelihood that school paperwork will be misplaced or damaged. The less paper you have on hand, the better.

Here are some things to include in your school district’s document retention schedule:

  • How to properly dispose of documents you don’t need to keep.
  • What to do with duplicate documents.
  • Which draft versions should be retained.
  • How to process documents for short-term and long-term storage.
  • How frequently to review documents for retention.

3. Examine your School District’s Disposal and Archival Plan

When you no longer need to access your school paperwork, you will either dispose of it or archive it. In your disposal plan, you’ll want to make it clear that confidential paperwork should be shredded. To save time, many districts contract with a shredding company. If you are considering this, make sure to thoroughly review the companies to make sure your paperwork stays secure.

For long-term document storage and archiving, you’ll want to ensure your documents are protected from disasters like floods and fires. You’ll also need to have ample space available. For every 10,000 documents, it is estimated that one filing cabinet is needed. While 10,000 documents seem like a lot of paperwork, it adds up quick.

To address the need for space, many school districts choose to use an off-site storage facility. Although it can be an expensive option, off-site storage will free up space for your school district. If you do use an off-site facility, it’s a good idea to tour the facility to ensure your paperwork will be secure and organized. You’ll also want to make sure the facility is able to quickly find and retrieve your records when they are needed.

4. Go Paperless with Electronic Forms

Despite the best efforts to add security to paper, there will always be a risk. Partnering with a company like Script to digitize your paperwork can remove this risk. By leveraging Script’s cloud-based infrastructure and ransomware protection, your data will always be protected. 

Another challenge with securing paperwork is ensuring staff still have access to the information they need when they need it. Not having access to the right information can create delays and cost your school district both time and money. While you can keep paper under lock and key, what happens if a document is misfiled? 

With Script, information is readily accessible and you can even create custom roles to control access. Staff will have access to information at their fingertips and information will only be available to those authorized to view it.

Want to see how Script can help keep your paperwork secure? Schedule a demo of Script today.

 

References:

https://www.slideshare.net/DanVeronese/true-cost-of-pushing-paper-pw-study-2011

http://www.nais.org/Articles/Documents/Excerpt_PoliciesforActingLegallyAccountably.pdf