Physical Records Digitizing Not Necessary for Good PRM

For many industries, the seemingly growing volumes of paper are overwhelming despite attempts to minimize paper use within an office. The paperless office is still a dream. It may be tempting to convert your organization’s physical documents into electronic documents, seeing as how electronic documents are much easier to search for and locate. However, digitizing an organization’s entire records database is not required nor practical.

Despite its obvious benefits, digitizing physical records are extremely time consuming, expensive, and legally may not be an option as e-signatures aren’t legally binding in many states and nations. For security reasons, duplicating information for the purpose of digitizing also acts as a risk in regards to corporate or legal compliance and regulation policies.

However, understanding that physical records are not electronic documents but can work the same way, is important to realizing how your PRM should work for you the way your electronic content management works. Let’s adopt a few key steps from electronic document management to take advantage of your physical records strategy. 


Taxonomy and metadata is extremely important to electronic document management and the same should be said for PRM. Build a taxonomy system that works with the type of information that your company handles in a way that is easy to understand and work with. Once you’ve set up a corporate taxonomy structure for your physical records, make sure to appropriately tag its data properties. Metadata tags are then applied acting as the key to search and locate functions that work with records management systems.


Search, Tracking & Locate: 

For physical records, instead of digitizing physical documents, work with your provider to attach bar code or RFID search and tracking capabilities to record types and files. You’ll be able to search for, track, and locate records once the items are properly labeled and tagged, within the software.

Instant Access:

Electronic document solutions offer web-based browser UI’s that allow users to log into, access, search for, and locate their files conveniently. With proper organization and the application of labeling and tracking, access to your physical records should be allowed the same convenience. Solutions offering a unified interface that displays both the physical records and electronic documents of an organization, will see an increase in work efficiency and a decrease in time spent hunting for necessary files.

An effective PRM doesn’t need records to be digital. Digitizing is usually out of the budget or simply out of reach in a realistic attempt whether it’s time consuming, legally impossible, or a security factor. However, there are still ways to enhance PRM. Take advantage of your physical records and optimize your records management with these 3 adopted features from electronic documents management, today.


The Good & Bad: Data in the Cloud


The go to solution for storing information has gone up to the cloud. Cloud data storage has become a standard choice when choosing a storage solution for information. Cloud data storage has created access to new methods of data classification, organization and management, preventing information from becoming chaotic and unmanageable. Learning how to take advantage of cloud data storage does come with a few concerns despite its massive rewards. Let’s check in to see what the benefits are vs. the risks.


Increased Efficiency

Storing your information in the cloud garners access to an important function, increase efficiency in information management. Once data has been moved up into the cloud, it’s easier to manage, organize, and search for. Cloud storage also encourages collaboration and transparency.

Infinite Scale-ability

Cloud storage is kind of a one size fits all solution. Here us out; if your organization is small, let’s say, a startup, then cloud storage may be the right size for you. If you one day evolve from that start-up into a multi-national corporation, cloud data storage may still be the right size for you with the correct structuring. This is also a key benefit to cloud data storage, size doesn’t matter and scaling is nearly infinite.

Saves Money Upfront

Alongside the one size fits all scalability of cloud storage, the price tag is a much lower front end cost and will adjust accordingly to your needs. Therefore, depending on the size of storage, a solution can be customized to fit your current situation. In general, storing information in the cloud saves an organization money by tailoring solution plans and by saving money on upfront cost as compared to private on-premise solutions. For those seeking to build a content management strategy from scratch for their organization, cloud storage significantly reduces the front loaded cost of developing an information management framework.


Information Security

Storing and securing information on public or private clouds is inevitably the least secure out of the two options: in the cloud or on premise. You would be entrusting your information to a third party provider. Agency for specific controls and policies, is more limited with the cloud option as compared to an in house solution. Prior research would have to be spent on ensuring the reliability and credibility of a cloud storage solutions provider before choosing which servicer is best.

Loss of Data

Concern for the issue of data loss is a controllable factor. Proper training of employees in best practices for data management and cloud storage would help to alleviate the concern of data loss as it is mostly end-user error.  It is in some cases, impossible to retrieve information that has been loss during data restoration or data migration and  without standardized corporate procedures, the risk of data loss within the cloud is a big concern but doesn’t have to be.

Cloud solutions are best for efficient management and organization of information for organizations that need quick and effective access to records, electronic documents and assets. The risks are factors that can be minimized through proper information governance policies and guidelines, as well as through an organized information management framework. Prevent risks with the proper tools and strategy for a cloud data migration that may be the best bet for your organization.

FileTrail Now Up On NetDocuments' Marketplace

FileTrail for Physical Records Now Available on NetDocuments' Marketplace

FileTrail is excited to announce a partnership with NetDocuments for advanced Physical Records Management (PRM). FileTrail has integrated their PRM system into NetDocuments cloud document and email management services. Through an easy to deploy plugin for NetDocuments, FileTrail offers full visibility to your physical records within a unified workspace. All of your sensitive client matter data, whether electronic or physical, can be seen in a centralized location, accessible with a simple point and click.

Visibility and Ease of Use to Obtain Business Goals

FileTrail’s PRM solution through NetDocuments is able to meet and exceed the most demanding requirements of Law Firms. By offering an effortless PRM solution where files and folders can be seen within one location, FileTrail will improve workflow needs by increasing productivity for attorneys and support staff. Whether at one office or 50, stored in the same building, or with an offsite vendor, physical records are now made easy.

FileTrail’s plugin will offer visibility to physical records in a unified view with your electronic documents. The creation, retrieval, and retention of physical records can be openly managed through NetDocuments cloud service. A browser based PRM solution provided by FileTrail and NetDocuments will simplify the way you think about physical records.

Specifically designed tools to help with on boarding and lateral moves, saves the firm time and money. FileTrail offers the best solution for law firms by minimizing compliance and litigation risks through a PRM solution built around good information lifecycle management. FileTrail for physical records provides compliance and regulation driven PRM, to meet legal obligations and business values, in addition to the defensible disposal of data.

FileTrail and NetDocuments: Physical Records Integration

FileTrail and NetDocuments has powered up to offer physical records management for NetDocuments.  With FileTrail’s easy to use plugin for NetDocuments, there will be no need to utilize separate platforms in order to search for, request, or obtain physical records. Visit the NetDocuments' Marketplace, today. Physical Records are now just a click away.


For more information, please visit our legal page and check out our datasheet.

Sunsetted PRM is a New Opportunity

6 Solutions for Legal Firms with Sunsetted PRM 

Sunsetted and soon to be, PRM solutions share one important thing in common; they are obsolete. For reasons that shouldn’t be ignored, your PRM solution sunsetted due to either an antiquated software lacking updates, or poorly managed information governance. Those were risks were then, unfairly shifted onto your information systems team. Saying goodbye to your old PRM should be similar to taking in a deep inhale of fresh air. Out with the old and in with the new, better and improved. This is the life cycle for systems that no longer serve a purpose and their sunsetting allows for new growth in a superior direction.

This transitional period is a favorable state in which to help your firm re-organize, restructure, and develop a records management strategy that is supported by good information lifecycle governance, while serving to help workflow and business goals. Good information lifecycle governance is the practice of applying policies to effective information management, guiding the information from creation to disposition. IG focused policies reduce compliance risks and offer enterprise level security to privacy sensitive matters.

This transition can be and should be, simple and pain free. We understand that, “every company is different, but the principles of a sound IG policy are often the same. What teams need to be involved, what interests are at stake, and what can you do to help them align?” (IGI) Listed below are standard steps all firms should take after a sunsetted PRM system. (Soares)

6 Step Records Management Strategy for Firms Integrating Physical Records 

  1. Establish a Records Classification Scheme and Taxonomy

Now is the time to really take into consideration, the skeleton of your Information Management. Think in the mindset of simple and comprehensive. You want this new classification and taxonomy scheme to work for your physical records as well as your electronic documents. Start small and build from a few core imperatives.

Also, keep in mind the flexibility you are going to want and need from your next PRM provider. A good question to ask is: Will I be able to add to and configure my taxonomy once it is in place, if so, how easy will it be to deploy?

  1. Establish Access Restrictions for Security and Privacy

Appropriate restrictions are necessary for the planning and practicing of good Information Governance. Good IG applies directly to the security of Client Matters and offers a comprehensive strategy to minimize compliance and litigation risks.  Sensitive Client Matter requires a strong foundation of good IG practices which should be applied to the building process of establishing restrictions for your physical records.

  1. Establish Records Disposition Schedules

It’s time to clean up all the bad data that could come from mismanagement and neglected records, as you integrate. Establishing records disposition schedules allows for legally defensible disposition. So now is the time to make sure that you are following the necessary policies required for managing your data and apply it to your physical records as you integrate, simultaneously cleaning up your data and protecting yourself from further headaches.

  1. Implement Legal Holds Processes

Placing legal holds allows restricted access to information that is in process towards disposition, enabling proper review before final destruction. Applying legal holds to a review system minimizes compliance risks and improper handling throughout the information lifecycle. Legal holds are important to ensuring that proper, good information governance practices are being done.

  1. Support e-Discovery requests for Information

E-discovery support is vital to maintaining an efficient workflow within Law Firms, through the use of simple search tools, locating crucial files to satisfy an e-Discovery request should be made simple. Understanding that you want your PRM solution to function similar to your electronic documents management service is the key to knowing making e-Discovery happen for your physical records data.

Another good question to ask is: Why shouldn’t my physical records data, be fully visible, searchable, and unified, like my electronic documents?

  1. Support Disposition as Dictated by Information Lifecycle Management

Supported disposition schedules decrease litigation risks by providing legally defensible destruction of information. Not only does supporting disposition schedules decrease litigation risk and support good information governance practices, it also reduces the size of stored data. Stored data can be and will be a expensive bill if efforts are not made to maintain a reasonable size. Good practice towards disposition schedules will save time and money.


PRM Solutions Should Work for You

Notes to take away are: don’t shy away from asking your next provider if their software is web based or hardware integrated, and then figuring out which works best for you. Don’t think that all solutions out there are old and difficult to use. Make sure their PRM software interface is user-friendly, easy to manage and configure, while offering protection of your data.

No matter how much we may try, paperless is still a dream that has yet to manifest and time spent on this dream is costly when realities need to be managed. Strengthen your IG initiatives, today.  Choose the solution that works the best for you and don’t settle for anything less than what you love about your electronic document solution.

Visit for a comprehensive description of their Physical Records Management. FileTrail’s PRM solution enables businesses to track, manage, and monitor all of their physical records in a highly configurable, easy to use system.