Improve Compliance & Efficiency with SharePoint Document Management
With powerful document management capabilities, SharePoint is widely used by many leading organisations to help ensure compliance and efficiency at all stages of the document lifecycle. In today’s article, we explore some of the key SharePoint features that support this.
Managing a large volume of data and documents can be challenging and time-consuming for businesses. Despite document management being challenging, it is a necessity for companies to ensure that information is protected, compliant and organised. This is especially true in today's working world, with an increase in cyber threats and data leaks, there is more emphasis on how consumer data is stored. For many organisations documents form the basis of much of the information storage which means that having good document management processes in place is essential.
One of the leading solutions supporting organisations in this is SharePoint. SharePoint is a leading collaboration and content management platform that is widely used as a document management system. SharePoint is the most widely used documents management system among the Fortune 500 companies with a survey by AIIM noting that 63% of organisations rated SharePoint as their primary document management system. Having a strong document management system in place such as SharePoint, can be critical in helping organisations organise their information in a way that is compliant and organised. According to Gartner, by 2023 50% of midsize and large organisations will have implemented document management systems to improve governance and reduce compliance risks.
Below we explore some of the key features from SharePoint that help businesses enhance compliance and efficiency.
The document versioning functionality of SharePoint creates a new version of a document each time it is modified or updated with the previous versions retained. This stores the entire version history tracking including which user made the specific changes, when they occurred and what modifications were made. This helps in providing a clear audit trail of document changes which can help demonstrate compliance.
Document Lifecycle Management & Retention
SharePoint’s functionality allows organisations to define document retention policies and automate document lifecycle management. Organisations can define retention periods that govern how long documents should be retained, whether they should be archived and when they can be deleted. Automation capabilities within SharePoint allow organisations to enforce these policies by automatically applying the set retention periods, document archival and deletion workflows.
Metadata and Tagging
SharePoint allows organisations to use metadata and tagging functionality to categorize and classify documents. Metadata can include information such as author, document type, department or any other relevant document attributes. By tagging company documents with relevant metadata, organisations can create a better search experience and retrieve documents based on the tagged properties. This aids in compliance by enabling document organisation and retrieval in line with any specific categorisation policies set by the company or any external regulations that need to be followed.
SharePoint also allows users to apply sensitivity labels to documents which help organisations identify and categorise sensitive information based on its level of sensitivity – these can include confidential, internal use only or public. These labels can also be used to enforce policies and controls such as access restrictions and sharing permissions to prevent the leakage of sensitive information.
SharePoint provides organisations with strong security controls to help protect documents. These include permissions settings that allow companies to assign access to individuals or working groups based on their job roles. SharePoint also has Access Control Lists that enable admins to determine who can view, edit or delete documents. These features help organisations control document access and protect sensitive information and data privacy.
SharePoint has robust auditing capabilities that can track and record user activities within the system. This allows organisations to monitor document access, downloads, changes and other actions providing an audit trail. Users can generate reports based on this data too to have evidence of correct document management practices in line with any regulations that they have to comply with.
By leveraging these features within SharePoint, organisations can ensure they have the tools to meet various compliance and document security requirements that they must adhere to. These requirements may vary between different industries or locations but as a customisable solution, SharePoint can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your business to help enforce the correct policies and procedures around document management.
If you would like to speak to a specialist about document management in SharePoint, get in touch! Alternatively, read our case study with CIE who adopted SharePoint as its document management solution.