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There are many reasons to celebrate the month of April, including International Records and Information Management (RIM) Awareness Month.  This globally recognized time highlights the importance and necessity of establishing and implementing policies, systems, and procedures to capture, create, access, distribute, use, store, secure, and retrieve an organization’s records and information. 

The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) joins businesses across the World to support RIM awareness and reminds organizations of this critical management practice.  OCABR works to protect and empower consumers, while also ensuring a fair playing field for the Massachusetts businesses our agencies regulate.  This mission could not be achieved without effective RIM. 

In recognition of RIM Awareness Month, OCABR is sharing details and best practices on records and information management.

  • Accountability: assign one responsible person to oversee the entirety of records management, ensuring that proper procedures are in place for regular record keeping.
  • Security: perform audits of your organization’s records and make sure a risk management plan is established to keep customer and business information confidential. You may also consider implementing a cybersecurity tool to track user activity on your network.
  • Compliance: ensure your records management program follows state and federal standards regarding privacy laws for your industry. In addition, try to minimize the use of personal data.
  • Accessibility: consider implementing a secure cloud solution for electronic document access and to minimize time retrieving records. Remember to keep up with cloud storage management and organization to ensure items remain accessible, secure, and ordered.
  • Retention: review your organization/industry record retention requirements and develop internal processes to remain compliant.  
  • Destruction: properly dispose of both electronic and physical documents that are no longer needed.  Processes and procedures should be in place to secure personal or confidential information while destroying or offloading unnecessary items.

In Massachusetts, every agency and municipality must designate a Records Access Officer to assist requesters in obtaining public records.  The Public Records Law, Chapter 66, Section 10 of the Massachusetts General Laws, applies to records made or received by a state agency or municipality. However, some requested records may fall under an exemption to the Law. OCABR maintains different categories of public records, such as Home Improvement Contractor records (registrations, complaints, hearing, and arbitration decisions), Lemon Law arbitration decisions, and data breach notifications. Visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website for more information about the public records law in Massachusetts.  If you would like to submit a public records request to OCABR, please visit the office’s online portal available here: www.mass.gov/forms/ocabr-public-records-requests

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