7 Features to Look for in Government Records Management Software

To address the unique demands of modern institutions, agencies need government records management tools that align with all regulatory requirements.

Maintaining accurate records is vital for any organization, and even more essential for government institutions. All agencies have specific requirements for managing documents, photographs, instant messages — even irradiated mail! With government records management software, employees can tackle these challenges more effectively, but managers need to ensure these tools fully align with federal and state requirements. Here are some of the features to look for.

Read our guide to business information management systems to find the practices, tools, and software you need to keep your business’ essential info accessible.

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Compliance in government records management

Above all else, government records management solutions must comply with all government regulations, including document classification and security standards. These rules apply to records generated and maintained by all agencies, as overseen by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the General Services Administration (GSA).

Detailing these regulations in full would require one article per agency, but there are fundamental questions that help determine whether a given solution complies with state and federal law.

These questions are just a starting point but nonetheless serve for ruling out specific platforms and tools, such as cloud services that store sensitive documents on servers outside the United States.

Robust security measures

Digital infrastructure can be vulnerable to phishing, malware, and harmful cyberattacks, and software solutions must reflect this reality. Government records management solutions that include the following security features are essential for modern agencies:

  • Data encryption: When data is encrypted, even successfully stolen files are almost impossible to access without a decryption key. Government agencies currently use AES encryption methods to secure classified and non-classified records, but new techniques are in development to counter projected quantum computing advances.
  • Access management: These systems handle the process of granting and authorizing records to specific roles or individuals. Depending on the agency, these might include determining which employees can modify records or which files are accessible by a journalist or independent researcher.
  • Audit trails: When a security breach does occur, it’s vital to know how it happened and who had access. Audit trails monitor system information and record access histories to track events and quickly resolve problems.

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Scalability and flexibility

Government agencies manage immense volumes of records across various categories, such as personnel files, photos, maps, and more. Given the complexities of each format, records management tools should also be scalable and flexible:

  • Scalable records solutions continue to function no matter how much data they contain. For example, they might leverage additional storage from on-site servers to create new records.
  • Flexible solutions adapt to an organization’s evolving needs. In short, they allow users to customize features, such as creating record categories and assigning unique retention schedules.

Metadata and search capabilities

Once a records database reaches an unwieldy size, agencies need to rely on tools that help them sift through a large volume of information. Software platforms provide this service with metadata or search tools, each of which addresses the problem in a unique way.

In a records management context, metadata refers to information associated with each record, such as its category, creation date, or number of modifications. These features make it easier to browse records based on specific parameters, such as all data produced after a specific date. Search capabilities, on the other hand, find information by examining the contents of a record, such as full-text search or keyword filters. With these tools, it’s possible to find specific data quickly, such as a name or photo ID number. The best records management software for government organizations provides metadata and search capabilities to help agency managers organize and leverage their data.

Integration and interoperability

Government agencies interact with sensitive records through various devices and channels, especially when sharing information with other parties. That’s why records management platforms should seamlessly integrate with a wide array of systems and applications. For example, an agency that needs to store document management records, emails, and personnel files cannot use three different solutions — they should integrate in ways that are consistent and reduce the number of duplicate records.

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Records lifecycle management

All organizations have a records lifecycle for determining how information is created, maintained, and destroyed over time. Government agencies are no exception, but they must consider how records might be transferred between agencies or become available to the public via the National Archives. Records management tools should support the lifecycle by providing workflows and audit trails for tracking the status of each record within a schedule. These workflows should also be customizable for the broadest range of record categories and classifications.

Reporting and analytics

When records are maintained as comprehensively as they are by a government agency, understanding trends is difficult without reporting and analytics capabilities. For example, records management tools might generate record usage reports, metrics on compliance, storage utilization, and records awaiting review before disposal. Meanwhile, analytics tools help IT professionals and managers improve workplace efficiency by identifying bottlenecks and streamlining policy compliance.

Along with daily administrative tasks, reporting and analytics are particularly helpful for auditors since they can provide an accurate overview of data collection and maintenance.

How fi-scanners enhance your records management strategy

Like many organizations, government agencies are undergoing digital transitions as they convert physical records into electronic formats. These transitions are much more efficient when using document scanners that integrate with best-in-class records management software. We take great pride in having spent the last 50+ years researching, designing and developing some of the most advanced and powerful electronics in the world, including our professional grade fi Series scanners.

Built to purpose for the most demanding document handling jobs, fi and SP scanners are capable of processing tens of thousands of pages per day at the highest levels of accuracy. Their intuitive integration capabilities with all existing work suites minimize time-to-value for businesses looking to invest in tools that will pay dividends for years to come. Click here to learn more or shop the rest of our production scanner line.

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