Organisations need to establish filing systems to accommodate the different types of records they need to keep. These files must be updated regularly and accurate to maintain the integrity of the files. A business might establish a centralised filing system where all there records are kept it one area or a non-centralised systems which are seen in departments within organisations who have control of their own records. These files can be paper-based (stored in cabinets), electronic (computer systems), stored in fixed filing areas (filing cabinets or compactus units) or in a portable filing system (can be easily moved from one area to another).
It is essential that computer operators and staff understand how to manage electronic files within the organisation, such as how files are named and how folders are used. How to organisation’s information is stored depends on the following:
The amount of information to be stored: Large amounts of information are easier to store in a computer database rather than a paper-based storage system. This allows many people to access the information easily, especially if the organisation is spread throughout various locations.
The size of the workplace/organisation: This refers to the size of the organisation and also the number of employees. A large workplace area has the ability to store paper-based information in filing cabinets or compactus units, whereas a small workplace area could store more information electronically or digitally. If an organisation has a large number of employees, the method of storing information depends on how many people need the information and where these people are located within the organisation.
How work is conducted: Some organisations are more electronically up-to-date than others and they tend to store information electronically rather than paper-based. If there are a large number of employees who operate outside the organisation, electronic information are digital communication are more suitable.
The amount of storage space available: If there is limited storage space, less paper files can be stored. Inactive or dead files would need to be identified and disposed of so as the storage space can be used most effectively.
How often records need to be accessed: Records that are used most often would need to be accessed easily. Paper-based files would be stored centrally if the workplace area is relatively small or stored non-centrally to give access to the relevant department. Information can also be stored electronically so as it could be accessed by all employees.
Security required:Paper-based information can be stored in a locked filing cabinet in a secure area or a locked room. Keys can be given to employees who have the authority to access these information. For electronic information, passwords would be required to restrict access and regular backing-up information would be needed in case of a power failure or a computer virus.
Cost of storage equipment: Computers and other electronic equipment are expensive and must be updated and maintain regularly whereas filing cabinets last for a long period of time and are one-off expenses.
Protection for environmental effects: All files must be protected at all times from fire, flood, theft, etc.