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Gone are the days when overflowing file boxes could be found in every hallway and storage room in a law office. Nowadays, most attorneys have ditched the old, outdated practice of keeping everything on paper. Instead, they’re taking advantage of electronic documents to streamline operations.
Attorneys use documents all day – photos, contracts, pleadings, briefs, discovery; they have a seemingly never-ending amount of information to sort through. Fortunately, technology has saved the day in terms of helping attorneys manage all of this information.
It’s not enough to simply store everything electronically. You need a standardized system for organizing, securing, and finding documents. Colorado has a six-year records retention period wherein attorneys must keep documentation for six-years before destroying it properly. This means you need a system that not only enables easier accessibility but also retention and backups in case a disaster or human error occurs that leads to file deletion.
What makes having a file retention policy so important? Aside from the fact that it’s necessary by law, it’s also helpful in the event that a client sues for malpractice. Keeping copies of files gives you a better chance of mounting a defense. Plus, insurance companies tend to favor law firms with file retention policies. You may even end up with a reduced premium simply for having one in place!
A document management system allows for simplified data storage and retention – enabling you to organize all of your files in a manner that makes finding them incredibly simple. Instead of memorizing a complex folder system, you simply enter a few pieces of data into the document management system and find what you’re searching for within a matter of minutes. Plus, you’re able to benefit from:
If you’re using a document management system, it’s vital to ensure a proper data backup strategy. Your document management system may offer a built-in data backup feature, but make sure you’ve asked your provider about it. You should be clear on how often the backups take place and whether or not they’re tested on a regular basis. If, or when, a failure occurs, you will need to ensure your data is recoverable to avoid delays in cases or issues resulting from not retaining files as long as necessary.
As a rule of thumb, always have two backup plans: a local appliance and a cloud-based solution. This will ensure that you’re always able to recover your backups, even if something happens in the office that destroys the local appliance. This means that even if your document management system offers a built-in data backup feature, that’s likely not enough to keep you prepared for the inevitable.
Let’s Make Your Never-Ending Pile of Documents More Accessible, Secure, and Easy to Manage. CCS Offers Data Storage, Retention, and Backups for Law Firms Throughout Colorado Springs.