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 four ways to minimize your risk and increase your school paperwork security.
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 think it’s too much of a hassle when files need to be accessed frequently (we all know the feeling of having to answer that locked classroom door!)
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 each campus.
Like paperwork, keys can also be misplaced. If you don’t have one already, create a tracking system for every key in your district. At a minimum, this system should show who has access to the keys, when and how they are checked out and by whom, 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. 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 toss it or file it. In your disposal plan, you’ll want to make it clear that confidential paperwork should be shredded. To save time, many districts have a contract with a shredding company. If you are considering this, make sure to thoroughly review the companies and their reputations to ensure the security of your information.
For long-term document storage and archiving, you’ll need ample space and security measures to keep your files protected from natural disasters like fires and floods. On average, one filing cabinet is needed for every 10,000 documents. While that can seem like an unlikely high amount, you’d be surprised how quickly your paperwork can stack up!
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. (Nobody wants to dig through the file cabinet room!)
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. It’s also a good idea to get an understanding of how quickly your files can be found and retrieved when you need them.
4. Go Paperless with Electronic Forms
By now you get what we mean when we say that you can’t add security to paper. Despite your best efforts, there will always be a risk when it comes to physical paper documents.
Partnering with a company like LINQ to digitize your paperwork can remove this risk. By leveraging Script’s cloud-based infrastructure and ransomware protection, your data will always be protected.
Your staff will also always have the information they need when they need it. Imagine searching for a file that was stored in the wrong place. The likelihood of finding it is minimal.
In fact, this is probably how many districts end up with duplicates, because it’s easier to just create another form than to continue digging for the one you need.
With LINQ, 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 LINQ today.