EDMS - Moving from Paper System

Forensic Electronic Document Management System (FEDMS) - HR Solution

 

Creating and maintaining the entire host of HR-related documents for all employees can be daunting.

After all, you’ve got to maintain files in a way that is:

  • Legally compliant
  • Easy to access
  • Easy to use
  • Maintains confidentiality and security
HR - Move from Paper Based to Forensic Notes

Complicating matters is the fact that:

  • Files may be subject to audit
  • Need to be accessed separately from the rest of the employee files
  • Usually exists in many places

Considering the above, you can see why it is often a thankless job to keep employee documents maintained in an orderly, legal, and efficient manner.

A lot of organizations today have some combination of paper and electronic records for each employee.

For example, at the time of hiring, there may be the application and I-9 form.

The I-9 form is often filled out on paper, but there may also be electronic records for other pertinent hiring details.

There may be any number of different files maintained by the HR staff. This may include documentation of:

  • Disciplinary actions
  • Tracking of paid and unpaid leave
  • Emergency contacts
  • Yearly documents for the government
  • etc.

And the employee’s manager will often maintain performance reviews and related documentation separately within their own department.

Why Move from Paper to an Electronic Document Management System?

Keeping Human Resource (HR) documents (and much more) organized and compliant is a big task.

As a result, more organizations are making a push for an all-electronic system, as the benefits can be significant.

Moving away from paper-based employee records has many advantages, including...

Reduce Redundancy & Allow Files to be Accessed Instantly from Remote Locations

With a digitized system, files can be accessed from multiple locations on various devices.

This can streamline access issues and ensure that anyone that should have access to the files will have access. Even if they are on the other side of the country.

Compare this to a physical file cabinet which requires the person with the keys to be physically present at a location to get a file out.

Once they get the physical file out of the locked file cabinet, they may need to scan and email the contents of that file to a remote location.

Although this may not seem like a big task, each request can easily take 15 or more minutes to complete:

  • Go to secure file cabinet
  • Unlock cabinet
  • Search for correct document
  • Make sure its the latest version
  • Scan the document
  • Deal with the typical "paper jam" issues that seem to plague scanners and copiers
  • Email the document
  • Go back to the secure file cabinet
  • Properly place back the document in the correct folder
  • And finally write down that you accessed and sent this document off to another person

Electronic Documents Management Systems (EDMS) allow immediate access to files no matter the location of the user or electronic file.

As we’ll see in a moment – there’s no need to sacrifice security for the convenience that a EDMS offers.

#1 Priority - Security

Security of files is critical for many reasons. One such reason is to maintain confidentiality.

Example:

Employers may need to store employee medical information which may be relevant for:

  • Health insurance
  • Wellness programs
  • Leave taken under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

This information should not be distributed to anyone, not even the employee’s manager in most cases.

When there are files that should have limited access, storing them electronically can allow you to have safeguards.

Forensic Audit Logs

These safeguards should result in forensic audit logs which clearly show who had access and when it occurred.

This ensures that the information does not get distributed to anyone who should not have it.

This is a clear benefit over a paper filing system, which could be accessed by anyone who gets into the area where it is stored.

Compliance & Legal Safeguards

Compliance and legal safeguards should be built into the product you’re using.

Compliance concerns can take several forms.

Example:

The organization may need to prove that some forms were created in a timely manner, such as I-9 forms or OSHA accident records. When using an electronic filing system, it’s easy to see the date the item was created and every time it was accessed or modified.

But note that these dates are not foolproof in all systems.

Unless a system is designed to stop and detect attempts to modify data, the validity of your documents can be questioned in legal cases. This could reduce your organization’s credibility if you are unable to prove when a document was created or accessed.

This is possible since it is actually very easy to create or modify electronic documents to show whatever date you want.

But, if you utilize a product like Forensic Notes, you’ll also have the ability to prove that the dates were not altered.

This is a core functionality of Forensic Notes.

This is accomplished through a digital timestamp certificate issued by a third party which can't be altered.

Being able to prove file creation, access, and modification dates can prove that important files were created in a timely manner and only viewed by authorized employees.

Another legal safeguard relates to keeping files private and confidential as needed.

This is yet another area where an electronic document management system can be beneficial.

You can setup security parameters on specific folders or Forensic Notebooks based on users or groups. This could include passwords or access restrictions.

This means you can keep some parts of an employee file separate from others without having to have two separate physical file cabinets.

Yet another way that a system like Forensic Notes can help with legal compliance is to prove that a document has not been modified after-the-fact.

Example:

If you’re defending a wrongful termination claim, you’ll be able to show that you contemporaneously documented problems as they occurred.

As a result, you'll be able to:

  • Prove that you didn’t simply go back and add documentation after the case was initiated in an attempt to show no wrong-doing
  • Show that no files were deleted such as deleting a stellar performance review that contradicts the termination rationale

In court, the credibility of the witness and authenticity of the evidence is key to having evidence admitted and relied upon.

This is only possible if you have a system that ensures that dates cannot be altered or falsified. It is also important to show that documents cannot be deleted without a trace.

These are features of a Forensic Electronic Document Management System (FEDMS). Forensic Notes is the first and only such system.

Why is Forensics Important?

Civil and criminal courts regularly rely on Digital Forensics to determine the guilt or innocence of individuals and organizations.

Printable Employee Documents

Electronic files can always be printed if needed for legal or personnel purposes.

A common fear of transitioning to an all-electronic system for employee files is how to manage situations in which someone needs to review the files but doesn't have access to the system.

This could be an outside inspector conducting an I-9 audit.

In a case like this, you could either print a physical version of the document and provide to the inspector or an electronic version which can be further safeguarded with the use of passwords.

Save Time During Legal Proceedings

You may be required to provide all information about an employee due to a lawsuit.

In these circumstances, you will likely need to provide all information you have in regards to that employee.

This process is often referred to as Full Disclosure. 

Full Disclosure can be a daunting task if you currently using a paper-based system or inefficient electronic system. 

Having a FEDMS can save you both time and money.

This is because FEDMS like Forensic Notes can show when, how and by whom a document was created or modified.

This eliminates the need to spend hours and thousands of dollars paying a Digital Forensic Expert to examine the documents to prove their authenticity.

Bear in mind that this is not true of all systems.

A system like Forensic Notes that eliminates the ability to alter time and date stamps or delete information from a file without a trace, means you’ll have documentation that will stand up in legal proceedings.

If you’re defending the organization, you’ll be able to prove:

  • No documents were deleted before or during the course of the proceedings
  • No documents were created or modified after the fact
  • Documents were actually created at the time indicated

You’ll also be able to show that you’ve followed the legal obligation to not destroy any documents after the case was initiated.

Forensics is the key to many civil and criminal cases. Using an FEDMS strengthens your case from the start.

It helps to ensure that your documents will be in a format accepted in the courtroom and able to withstand legal scrutiny.

Re-Organizing & Purge Faster

An electronic document management system (EDMS) allows the greatest flexibility in how you store employee files and documentation.

This results in a customizable and flexible system while keeping security measures in place to ensure confidentiality and privacy.

An electronic system also allows you to purge and move files quickly as required.

Easier & Cheaper Backups

Electronic systems allow backups in case of emergencies or disasters at a much cheaper cost to the organization.

With paper files, an organization typically has one physical copy. In the case of a fire, theft, flood, or other disaster, that one copy could be gone forever.

This risk is easier to mitigate with electronic systems since the entire system can be backed up and replicated in a different region.

This would allow your organization to function as if the natural disaster never occurred in your other office locations.

Forensic Notes is hosted on Microsoft Azure which has the most comprehensive compliance coverage of any cloud provider. All data is geo-replicated in two separate regions of the United States.

To ensure that your data is secure, all data is encrypted both in transit and at rest. Click the following link to view the extreme measures Forensic Notes takes to ensure your data is safe & secure.

Searching & Auditing

An Electronic Document Management System will allow notes and documents to be searched. This saves you a lot of time compared to searching physical paper files.

Save Money on Maintenance

Electronic document management systems cost less to maintain.

While there may be an initial cash outlay to create and set up an online record-keeping system, there are also savings in the form of:

  • Less paper
  • Less ink
  • Less storage space
  • Fewer labor costs associated with maintaining the system

With all these benefits, it’s easy to see why most organizations have opted to digitize and streamline their personnel files.

With Forensic Notes, you’ll be able to have all these benefits plus the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you’ll be better protected in legal proceedings.

Always remember that the electronic document management system you put in place is one piece of the bigger picture.

You’ll need to plan for the rest of the implementation and maintenance like you would any other process change.

It starts with ensuring that the organization’s policies and processes will support the system. And that everyone involved has adequate training to make sure the system will be used to its full potential.

A system is only as good as those using it.

If documentation protocols are not followed, an EDMS cannot protect the organization.

But, if proper procedures are followed, you’ll have proof that you’re legally compliant when the time comes.

Are You Ready?

Are you ready to take the next step and move towards a Forensic Electronic Document Management System (FEDMS) like Forensic Notes?

Click here to start your Free 14-Day Trial - No Credit Card or Payment Information Requested

Protect the credibility of your organization with Forensic Notes.