With a DMS there’s no need to worry about compliance

On 1 January 2016, the new Dutch law on the protection of personal data came into effect. In addition to stating that all data leaks must be reported, this law specifies the retention period for confidential documents. A business that does not comply with the new legal provisions risks being fined up to €810,000 per incident. What’s more, this law is due to be replaced when, on 25 May 2018, businesses in the Netherlands will have to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the aim of which is to offer a uniform level of data protection throughout the European Union. The GDPR places even more responsibility with the data processor: your company must be able to demonstrate that it is acting in compliance with the law. Document management is the solution. With a document management system (DMS), because retention periods and permissions can be configured automatically, you won’t need to worry about compliance any more. In this blog, I’ll be talking about the challenges posed by the new legislation and the advantages of document management.

Maze of retention rules

In the Netherlands, retention periods are set for practically all confidential documents. Documents that you need to keep for tax purposes must be saved for 7 years, but this does not apply to all documents. For companies, it can all quickly become a maze of rules and exceptions. Take healthcare institutions’ documents for example: these must be retained for a certain number of years after the death of the patient concerned, meaning that the end of the retention period only becomes known at the time of death. In addition to the statutory minimum retention period, there is also a maximum retention period, after which the documents must immediately be destroyed. An example is the job application letter from an unsuccessful candidate: this may not be retained for longer than 4 weeks. It’s understandable then that, for many companies, managing documents is a serious challenge.

Saving and retrieving

The solution is the implementation of an effective document management system (DMS). With a good DMS, a specific retention period can be configured for all the different types of documents. And a good DMS will handle the visibility of documents effectively too. Many of the documents your company is required to save are no longer relevant for your business process; by having the DMS automatically “hide” or archive these, you can be sure they are retained but they won’t get in your way. A DMS also saves you money: instead of keeping documents in the current-document filing system (which is often expensive space), they are moved to a less expensive archive.

And, speaking of archives, there’s another consideration. If certain information buried deep in the archives needs to be retrieved, for example when information about a certain person or organisation is needed for use in a court case, this operation can cost a considerable sum. With the implementation of a DMS with advanced search functionality, however, the search for particular documents (or even text within documents) is an easy task that takes up much less time.

Flock of birds

In our experience, our customers find the data protection laws and regulations complex. We also see a trend towards businesses placing high value on certification like ISO, certification that sets requirements for processing personal data in documents, for example. With all laws and regulations “configured” in a DMS, a company no longer has to worry about this. Not only does this save time and money: it clears the way for certification and innovation too. That’s not just two, but a small flock of birds with one stone.

Would you also like to be able to stop worrying about compliance and minimum and maximum retention periods? We can help you devise the best possible DMS set-up at your company. Simply fill in the form below and we’ll get back to you promptly. Or you can call us directly on +31 (0) 88 007 8508.

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