UBC’s Financial Operations partners with the Records Management Office and the Co-op program to improve records management governance of shared drives and in doing so, reduces risk for the university
UBC’s Financial Operations in collaboration with the University Archives’ Records Management Office, and the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS), has been working to improve management accountability, workflow efficiency, and reduce risk posed by ungoverned information saved on its network shared drives. Assigning protocols to shared drives is a major step forward in securing sensitive information.
“Unstructured shared drives represent a distinct source of risk for the university,” said Barbara Towell, E-Records Manager in the Records Management Office. “By assessing and identifying gaps in current recordkeeping and introducing a new set of governance protocols, we are able to help departments improve the findability, management and retention of records while mentoring new professionals with relevant work experience.”
This multiphase project was initiated by staff member, Elizabeth Kukely, and supported by Lisa Rockford, Senior Manager, Financial Systems. Elizabeth identified the unit’s shared drives as an area where Financial Operations could improve their practices and contacted the RMO for help.
The RMO conducted an initial assessment and through the RMO’s guidance the unit utilized the expertise of two SLAIS students: Dothlyn MacFarlane and Kayla Hilstob. Dothlyn completed a shared drive analysis in 2016 and prepared a set of recommendations. Financial Operations then hired Kayla for an eight-month co-op term to work with the RMO and implement recommendations in Dothlyn’s report.
Kayla applied best practices, working with Barbara and the Financial Operations unit managers and staff to create a structured drive based on records management retention schedules. “Reducing risk isn’t only about securing access to a folder; we also have to structure the drive to ensure easy removal of records that we no longer need,” said Barbara.
As this involved substantial workflow changes for staff in Financial Operations, Kayla designed and conducted training workshops.
“The workshops were a great way to not only communicate the changes happening at Financial Operations, but to improve recordkeeping practices in daily work with university records, keeping this project sustainable over time,” said Kayla.
The new drive is structured according to a bespoke retention schedule so information can be removed in a predictable way and access is achieved according to security groups. “There is no more guessing who has access to what,” said Elizabeth. “Now we have a clear process on granting access and creating folders on the shared drive.”
The RMO will continue to work with Financial Operations to develop a quality assessment process, so maintenance and improvements continue over time. Elizabeth added: “This is just the beginning. Our next step is to plan for an audit process and further improve our records management practices.”
To learn more about how your department can help reduce risk for the university, contact the Records Management Office.