From employee information to company legal documents, all businesses store confidential records that they must keep private and secure. This is particularly true for businesses such as medical practices, law firms, and financial services firms, which tend to store large amounts of highly sensitive client information. If these records are not properly protected and their contents are accessed by someone without authority to do so, the array of frightening risks may include identity theft, lawsuits against the organization, reputational damage, and more. Amidst the upheaval of a commercial move or build-out, it becomes increasingly likely that privacy breaches will occur and important records will be damaged or misplaced.
Is your organization planning to move to a new location or renovate your existing office space? Here are five critical tips for keeping confidential records secure throughout the process:
- Prior to the move, review all records and shred any that are no longer needed. This could help to reduce moving expenses and, by eliminating clutter, make it easier to keep track of important records. Additionally, ensure that confidential records are properly sorted from those that are non-confidential, which will help you formulate a clear idea of which items must be handled with maximum care.
- Scan essential files into a computer and back them up to a securely protected electronic location. Even if your organization is not planning an upcoming move, maintaining electronic records of important documents is a sound business practice. If you have not already done this, note that it may be a time-consuming process and should be started well in advance of a commercial move!
- Designate one employee (or a small team) to handle the confidential records before, during and after the move, including the packing, transportation, and unpacking processes. These individuals must be trustworthy and authorized to access the information contained in the records. By minimizing the number of people who handle your organization’s important records, you can reduce the risk that confidential information will be compromised.
- Package records in durable containers that are sealed securely for the move and labeled with your organization’s contact information. Utilize a numbering system, whereby each box is assigned a number that corresponds to a document describing the contents of the boxes by their numbers. As your organization settles into the new space, the individuals assigned to handle confidential records can use this document to verify that each numbered box has arrived with all of its contents intact.
- Plan how records will be stored in the new space. Moving offers an excellent opportunity to reorganize important records and possibly come up with a more effective system of storing them. Consider where you will keep records in the new location and how you will control access to confidential information. Be sure to address often-overlooked details, such as whether the floors in the storage room are sturdy enough to support the weight of heavy filing cabinets, and whether some records need to be stored under any particular conditions—for example, in a room with temperature or humidity controls.
Maintaining the security of confidential records is just one challenge that organizations commonly face during the process of a commercial move or build-out. Fortunately, working with an experienced Project Management team can help overcome these challenges and ensure a successful transition. With over 25 years of Project Management expertise, the LaunchPM team can assist your organization with preparing confidential records in advance of a move, transporting them securely, examining storage options in your new space, and much more. We routinely work with clients, including medical practices, that handle large amounts of confidential information. Contact LaunchPM today to schedule a free project consult!