Essential Document Control Procedures
The bigger your business gets, the more documents it has to manage. On the one hand, that's a great sign. Documents are the byproduct of having more customers, employees, and resources. On the other hand, those documents present challenges on their own. The organization process alone is enough to frustrate anyone. Add other office complications, and you've got the potential for chaos. It doesn't have to be that way, though. Your documents are meant to work for you, not the other way around. That's why more and more business owners are upgrading their document control procedures.
A document control system is a way to keep all your documents organized and in one place. It's a digital platform where you can upload all your documents and ensure that those documents are used appropriately. Simple storage and search functions guarantee that you can always access the exact document that you need within moments.
This kind of platform isn't just for storage, though. It can also provide you with a way to set basic rules called document control procedures. These procedures can help you track the movement, changes, and record-keeping activities associated with your documents. This way, you can assure your clients that your company protects its data and keeps a close eye on its information.
Of course, if you want the best document security, you'll need a system that can handle each aspect of a document's life cycle. It's important that you don't let anything fall through the cracks. Vasion can help with that. Below is a step-by-step process that you can use with our platform to keep your documents secure.
Creation of Document Control Procedures
First, Vasion lets you control your document procedures. You get to set your own guidelines, and your Vasion platform will maintain those guidelines with complete precision. When you set your document creation guidelines, you control who can create documents and how they can create them.
This process can be as simple or complex as you like. For a lot of businesses, it's enough to simply limit which users can create documents. However, other organizations may require more security. For example, healthcare organizations may need stricter requirements so that their documents comply with HIPAA guidelines. If you run an organization that needs strict security, you could add explicit parameters for the format, name, storage location, and other technical aspects of any new documents.
Then there are those who need scalability. Maybe you anticipate your business needing more security over time. Your Vasion platform will let you adjust your parameters as your security needs change.
Revision, Review, Approval
Once you've determined your document creation rules, most of your documents will go through periods of revision, review, and approval. This is where many business owners see the most benefits from their document control procedures. With paper documents, these procedures are a hassle, but a good document management system makes them simple.
Document control procedures don’t just inform who can review or approve documents. They do much more than that. In fact, they dictate how and when these actions take place, all while tracking those documents in an audit trail. These actions are essential because without them, you may miss important steps.
Both approved documents and those not yet “rubber-stamped” are frequently earmarked for revisions. Depending on how many revisions a document needs, this process can get confusing fast. With this in mind, it's vital that you have the right platform for revision, review, and approval. When you have the right document control procedures in place, you give structure to the revision process.
Document procedures create particular pathways to initiate, request, or perform revisions. Then, once the revisions are complete, the review and approval process is once again available, with all revisions noted in the audit records. Whether you have one person or several people working on a document, you can rest assured that the document is correct and up-to-date.
The straightforward process ensures better security, as you won't need to shred old versions of a document, and you won't risk one of those versions getting misplaced.
Next, you have publishing, which also requires security. Document control procedures can help you maintain that security because they dictate an abundance of parameters for content publishing.
For example, they control who may and may not publish content. You can also set parameters that dictate when and how to distribute documents. Vasion's publishing parameters go a step further. They include guidelines for the intended audience, either internal or external, and which security measures are in place to protect published documents from unintended viewing.
Finally, there's the removal process. All document life cycles have contingencies for the removal of documents. Whether the document has been replaced by a revision or has outlived its necessity, documents are eventually obsolete and must be deleted. In this case, the role of document control is clear: document platforms contain procedures for eliminating documents from availability. Again, this includes who may perform the necessary action, but it also allows document removal based on dates, new versions, and other referenced content.
With paper documents, on the other hand, this process can get sloppy. When you have several people working on the same document, it's hard to tell whether or not it's time to destroy a particular version of that document. With a digital platform and strong document control procedures, you can remove documents securely and without worry.
Generally, employing document software benefits you by ensuring that you use correct and approved documents at all times. Legal regulations require careful auditing of document control. During audits, some of the most frequent red flags are documents that were created with outdated, unproved, or otherwise insecure methods. To ensure your organization is audit-ready, always use the document control procedures listed above.
Of course, those procedures require having the right document management platform. If you need a platform with security, scalability, and user-friendliness, contact Vasion today and find out how digital document management can help your organization.