Document Management Software: Regulatory and Government Perspectives 2017-05-10T12:00:31+00:00

Why Document Management Software:
Regulatory and Government Perspectives


In addition to answering the question “Why Document Management Software?” This page is intended to give prospective document management system users insight on how these entities and pieces of legislation call for certain information management methods, which document management systems, among other technologies, can simplify and facilitate.

The use of entities’ logos below does not mean they endorse or certify eFileCabinet as a technology facilitating compliance to their standards, directives, acts, or laws. eFileCabinet can only claim full compliance with HIPAA and SEC standards.

What You Need to Know

Information governance is at the forefront of regulators’ plans, and organizations in all industries and of all sizes must overview which regulatory authorities’ and governing bodies’ pieces of legislation apply uniquely to them.

One of the easiest ways to meet these security demands head-on is through use of a top-rated document management software (DMS). The perspectives of these authorities are not intended to serve as legal stipulations for document management system use, but rather arguments for it.

These arguments are often revealed implicitly in the standards these authorities have developed to accommodate legal issues surrounding information management needs and how these needs can be met via document management software and similar information management technologies.

Aiim Regulations

The Association for Information and Image Management is a nonprofit organization influencing organizations of all sizes, scope, and industry type to go paperless through document management software. AIIM recently hosted World Paper Free Day on November 4, 2016, in which it selected eFileCabinet user, Chris Beebe, as its Paper Free Hero.

AIIM notes on its website that ROI, labor savings, printing costs, photocopier costs, lost and misfiled documents, email management, storage costs, improved customer service, improved document security, and disaster recovery strategy are great reasons to go paperless, and use of a document management system can facilitate these benefits.

SEC Regulations

The Securities and Exchange Commission, above all else, is a law enforcement agency; one which, as it pertains to the document management software user, is most concerned with trading data, securities laws and accounting books.

The SEC’s one caveat to going paperless, whether via a document management system or some other medium, is ensuring information is not compromised or omitted. Going paperless makes SEC audits easier and quicker than the typical 3 to 4-month process should an audit of your organization occur.

Given the SEC’s plan to hire over 200 more staff members to conduct a greater number of audits in 2016, more US organizations are likely to be audited than ever, and paperless document management software will not only expedite auditors’ processes, they will ensure security of information on behalf of the organization, making the audit a less painful process.

What’s more, the SEC plans to implement a Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) as a national market system so all trading activity can be monitored. Widespread adoption of the document management system would be conducive to this plan, and expedite its implementation.

hipaa regulations

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 is a law addressing myriad aspects of healthcare information. It is important to analyze the risks of how susceptible an organization is to not following through with HIPAA Compliance Standards, whether under the Act’s Security or Privacy Rules.

As a compliance requirement, this should always be considered in tandem with document management software and enterprise grade technology use in general. Its most relevant components for document management software users are its privacy and security sections. Each of these rules details security and privacy standards that DMS facilitates and simplifies.

The Privacy Rule of HIPAA describes the technological requirements for confidentiality codes and practices in healthcare, explaining that protected health information (PHI) “should not be used or disclosed when it is not necessary to satisfy a particular purpose or carry out a function.”

The encryption in DMS’s file-sharing services upholds this HIPAA standard for data and information in transit as well, and is delivered primarily via the client sharing and web portal, SecureDrawer.

The Security Rule of this Act sets forth national standards for the protection of certain health information transferred electronically. The law explains that any entity adopting security standards to better comply with HIPAA regulations should also consider the technical, hardware, and software infrastructure responsible for the organization’s information.

HIPAA’s website outlines the importance of adhering to four technical safeguards, all of which are solidified by document management software use: access control, audit controls, integrity controls, and transmission security.

Enacted to some degree to accommodate the proliferation of DMS and similar technologies, DMS’s built-in security features, which simplify compliance, make following the necessary HIPAA rules easier for contract nurses, healthcare clinics, and hospitals.

More specifically, the HIPAA security rule outlines four mandates: 1) ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all e-PHI (electronically Protected Health Information) that is created, received, maintained, or transmitted; 2) identify and offer protection from anticipated threats to either the security or integrity of information;

3) protect against reasonably anticipated, impermissible uses or disclosures; 4) and finally, ensure compliance by their workforce. Using a document management solution drastically reduces the amount of time and money it takes to ensure compliance with these mandates—freeing room for healthcare organizations to do as they wish with the savings in time they gain.

This is the minimum compliance requirement that should be considered in tandem with document management software use. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 is a law addressing many facets of healthcare information, and is only useful to document management system users in its privacy and security sections—both of which detail security and privacy standards that DMS both ensures and simplifies:

The Privacy Rule of HIPAA, which discloses the minimum necessary requirements for confidentiality codes and practices in healthcare, explains that protected health information should not be used or disclosed when it is not necessary to satisfy particular purposes or carry out a function. The encryption in document management software file-sharing services upholds this HIPAA standard for data and information in transit.

On the other hand, The Security Rule of HIPAA established national standards for the protection of certain health information transferred electronically. The law explains that any entity adopting security standards to better comply with HIPAA standards and regulations should consider technical, hardware, and software infrastructure, which DMS simplifies for IT teams.

hitech regulations

Published underneath The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (a broader set of legislation), it strives for greater enforcement of HIPAA via electronic record systems in healthcare organizations.

Although many hospitals already use EMR or EHR systems, these systems are rendered ineffectual because many hospital patients still demand via HIPAA that their records be mailed to them via snail mail, keeping disorganization inherent within hospitals that have gone “fully paperless.”

Adopting document management software in lieu of EMR or EHR systems will allow hospitals and other healthcare organizations to utilize client sharing portals for their patients, ensuring both the safety of patient information that HITECH demands and paperless business models for patients.

Additionally, a document management system with a mobile app platform helps healthcare clinics and HR departments within hospitals successfully manage the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) phenomenon.

sox regulations

SOX, also known as the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act, the purpose of this legislation is to hone and foster transparency and accountability within organizations’ financial reporting.

Although the Act contains 66 sections and 11 parts, section 302 is most relevant to document management software users—declaring that the procedure for preparing reports on an organizations’ financial earnings must be accessible, accurate, and without omission of any sort.

Also relevant to document management software users, section 401 of the act states that “financial statements published by issuers are required to be accurate and presented in a manner that does not contain incorrect statements or omit material information.”

Section 404 is also relevant because it discusses why publishing information in an organizations’ annual reports requires transparency in the divulgence of internal control structures and procedures for financial reporting.

Finally, section 802 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is also relevant to document management system users, because DMS helps managers and administrators keep employees from “altering, destroying, mutilating, concealing, or falsifying” records via role based user permissions.

Document management software helps administrators and managers identify whether these documents are being tampered with and who may be tampering with them, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

eidas regulation

eIDAS is positioned to update the present legislative structure governing electronic and digital signatures for the 28 members of the European Union.

The goal of eIDAS is to help these 28 members of the European Union recognize and give credence to each respective member’s electronic identification methods—increasing the interoperability of digital transactions across the European Union.

Document management system use, as it advents throughout the EU, can help organizations within this territory abide by and uphold the strictures of this impending legislation, which will take full effect in July of 2016.

NIST regulations

In November of 2015, this regulating body stated in a whitepaper that customer data, transaction records, and correspondence are the usual targets for unauthorized insertion, modification, or deletion” of organizational information—calling for discussion about how these issues can be resolved.

Organizations can prevent cyber security breaches with use of a document management system. NIST Media Relations Director, Jennifer Huergo, notes that “organizations need to be able to recover quickly from a data integrity attack and trust the accuracy and precision of the recovered data.”

Document management software ensures both the accuracy and precision of recovered data, in the rare event it is lost, through automated data backup and restore function. This organization also cares about technology security, and has made the advent of block cyphering encryption important to solidifying DMS’s relevance as a security facilitator for organizations in various industries.

First brought into law in 2001, the AES (advanced Encryption Standard), created by the NIST, emerged in response to the increased threat of security breaches. An important standard for organizations and DMS vendors alike, the tenets of this standard introduced what is not considered the preeminent standard for security algorithms in technology.

This encryption standard upholds block ciphering algorithms as the premier method of encryption for enterprise-grade technology. Relevant to DMS users, the committee selecting the encryption algorithm Standard chose, within the realm of block ciphering encryption, “symmetric keys for encryption and decryption” after reviewing research conducted in cryptographic and security testing laboratories.

DMS users who want to keep customer information secure in rest and in transit should rely upon DMS vendors with these encryption algorithms, and most DMS vendors already have these in place.

asidic regulations

In merging with the National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS) in June 2010, ASIDIC remains a distinct proponent of Enterprise Content Management and the document management system.

The organization’s primary goal, which is to “foster, encourage, and improve the development, production, processing, storage, retrieval, dissemination and use of electronic information,” is reified in the technology of the document management software movement.

DISA regulations

In its 5-year strategic plan for 2015–2020, The Defense Information Systems Agency notes its plan to use “internal, mobile, and commercial clouds” infrastructure to bolster the Department of Defense’s Information Network—signifying how commercial grade cloud solutions akin to the document management system are secure enough to uphold the standards of national security as well.

CGOC regulations

The Compliance, Governance and Oversight Council is a forum of information and records management professionals in both government agencies and corporations who specialize in data disposal, retention, and privacy.

In its Information Management Reference Model (IMRM) project, the CGOC identified a low level of collaboration between legal, records, and IT staff as a significant barrier to the disposition and retention of data—issues the document management system overthrows at its core security and collaboration features, such as workflow.

arma regulations

ARMA, The Association of Records Managers and Administrators, an international information governance organization, details two principles as necessary to quality information governance: accountability, and protection: Both of which the document management software upholds via built in security to simplify compliance, workflow, and audit trails.

The document management system not only upholds the ARMA International accountability and transparency standards via role-based user permissions, but also the integrity and protection standards via its encrypted file-sharing and retention features, too.

iso regulations

The ISO standards on information security management (ISO 27001) and ISO 31000 on risk management both justify use of a document management system. ISO 27001 specifies the requirements for “establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an information security management system with the context of the organization.”

On contrast, ISO 31000 focuses on disaster risk reduction and the management of disaster risk: elements of organizational risk that a document management system drastically reduces through sophisticated encryption and content backup security measures. Additionally, ISO Standard 13008:2012 is relevant to the document management system.

The ISO standard 13008:2012 was devised to account for the many enterprises migrating data to more secure platforms than traditional filing systems allowed. This standard makes clear the processes by which data can be converted, formatted, and kept from duplication. A useful guideline for the implementation stages of document management software use, it ensures best practices when migrating traditional/physical formats or preexisting electronic files to a document management system.

Additionally, ISO standard 23081 helps organizations through a metadata self-assessment process—detailing necessary metadata indexing processes as they relate to records management and, therefore, a document management system. More specifically, this standard was devised to account for the many newly minted metadata storage methods prevalent in the typical document management system—demonstrating how this organization expects DMS and similar technologies to impact the workforce.

To conduct a metadata assessment, use MODS, the (Metadata Object Description Schema), which serves as an augmentation to the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative’s shortcomings. A broad and all-encompassing schema that can be used in accordance with the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS), MODS is the most applicable metadata model for document management system users and records managers, because it best ensures the long-term access and preservation of the records needed to remain compliant.

As XML is used increasingly for digital and web markup, the demand for adherence to MODS also increases. MODS is presently the foremost and simplest cataloging standard in the world of digital records management, bringing the standards of digital records management to a level simple enough for all employees to understand, which is crucial, because once a document management system is implemented, this schema allows a standardized framework for the retention and interchange of metadata.

Here are the elements required for the Metadata Object Description Schema:

Title Info (Mandatory) 2. Name 3. Type of Resource 4. Genre 5. Origin Information 6. Language 7. Physical Description 8. Abstract 9. Table of Contents 10. Target Audience

11. Note 12. Subject 13. Classification 14. Related Item 15. Identifier 16. Location 17. Access and Conditions 18. Part 19. Extension 20. Record Information

DOD regulations

Many records management professionals from the private and commercial sector are unaware that the Department of Defense has legally pertinent information for organizations. This government entity has suggested (non-compulsory) standards for information management and security that extend beyond the applications of national security.

In fact, the 5015.02 Standard takes a holistic approach to records management, making it a relevant set of guidelines for any organization or business. Although a document management software does not automatically make an organization in accordance with the standard, it does draw it closer to fulfilling this standard’s stipulations.

After re-engineering its internal records management processes in 1993, the DoD published “Baseline Requirements and Elements for Records Management Application Software” in 1995, and ever since, the publication has been updated annually to specify addendums to its standards. In 2015, the publication specifies design criteria for shared office automation systems in tandem with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

More specifically, in its 5015.02 Standard, The United States Department of Defense offers in-depth information on electronic filing and record keeping—its guidelines in consideration of all industries and upholding the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) standards. One can also receive certification for achieving this standard within an organization.

The 5015.02 standard, although issued by an entity not commonly associated with enterprise information management, ensures accurate and relevant steps to utilizing document management—placing records management in a relevant light for all employees, not just records managers. Focusing on voice and e-mail records, reviewing the 5015.02 Standard is helpful for organizations relying heavily on the e-recording technology of their document management software vendor.

pci regulations

As administered by the Security Standards Council and containing Levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 of compliance measures, the most relevant warning from this regulating body, as far as DMS is concerned, surrounds protecting data where thieves are most likely to steal it.

This standard notes that data in an unsecure payment system database or traditional filing cabinet makes the information inside these locations highly susceptible to data breaches involving customers’ financial information—a phenomenon on the uptick within the past two years, and made far less probable through use of a document management system.

DODD Frank Act Regulations

Perhaps the most complex Act ever written into financial law, Dodd-Frank demands more of financial organizations’ information than ever.

In order to simplify compliance with the Act, consolidating records into one centralized and secure repository is beneficial, and that is what the document management software provides. Additionally, having information readily available for financial institutions in the event of an audit or inquiry is essential to this Act, and this is also simplified by use of a document management system.

GLBA Regulations

Also known as the Financial Modernization Act of 1999, this act is applicable to financial institutions, and, in some respects, to financial departments within any kind of organization. Administered by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act requires financial departments and financial organizations to not only adequately protect the consumer information they collect, but also to be transparent with customers about how this information is protected.

A document management software ensures simplicity in conveying the method by which consumer information is protected insomuch as it ensures the protection of this information.

US Congress Regulations

The United States Congress passed The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN), which reified the use of electronic signatures in the enterprise. Although not new to the organizational landscape, organizations are failing in large numbers to utilize the benefits of digital signatures that this Act imparts unto them.

The purpose of this act is to keep commerce, law, and technology in alignment, stating that digital and electronic signatures are as legally binding as their traditional, paper-based counterpart signatures.

The Act specifies that images of a handwritten signature, a typed name in cursive font, or the drawing of a signature with either a mouse or a finger in digital format, all equate to legally binding signatures. However, although digital signatures and electronic signatures are terms used interchangeably, there is a legally relevant difference between the two, and are distinguished as follows:

An electronic signature is only the concept as the law interprets it, and is a capturing and representation of someone’s intent. For it to be an admissible concept in court, however, it does not differ much from traditional signatures: it must specify and give proof for who signed the document, and what document was signed.

A digital signature, however, specifies the underlying encryption technology as it pertains to the electronic signature. Although it works in tandem with an electronic signature, it cannot in and of itself be considered an electronic signature. It merely “authenticates” the signature as a legal representation of the intent of the person who signed it. Requiring use of an authentication key, a digital signature cannot be forged unless the signer loses the authentication key.

Many of the few documents that cannot be signed electronically are irrelevant to organizations, but important to family law. Content and documents governing adoption, divorce, or family law require notaries (agents that digital and electronic signatures do not provide in-situ technologies for).

However, this act was recently amended to allow digital signatures for income tax forms 8878 and 8879, and Section 101 of the E-Sign Act, under Subsection B, preserves the rights of individuals to opt out of using digital signatures or electronic signatures if they wish—keeping the signature process open and accessible to all citizens, businesses, and organizations. In other words, digital signatures are not mandatory, nor can they be made mandatory, but they are more efficient and just as legally binding. Some statistics have even shown that businesses can increase sales using digital signature integrations.

However, the original format of some documents such as paper certifications must be retained to ensure compliance. It is not transforming the file type from paper to digital format via document management software that raises legal concerns; it is the disposing of paper certifications once uploaded to digital format that does.

If a printed file is uploaded in a scanner via DMS, and then the original paper version of the document is subsequently disposed, re-printing the document, in some cases, will compromise its legal admissibility. A surefire way to keep records compliant in DMS is to retain certifications in their original format—even once scanned and uploaded to the DMS.

Although this law is over a decade old, it has taken technology and the organizations susceptible to it time to accustom themselves to the law’s stipulations.

This law, in layman’s terms, says that digital and electronic signatures are just as good and binding as their paper counterparts. Videos showing the signing process of a document, an image of your handwritten signature, typing your name in cursive font, and drawing your signature either with a mouse or by dragging your finger on a touchscreen, all qualify as digital signatures. To clarify, there is a difference between electronic signatures and digital signatures. An electronic signature is more inclusive, spanning anything that constitutes a digital marking.

A digital signature, however, is more specific and of greater legal admissibility, as it legally “authenticates” signatures—requiring use of an authentication key, meaning the signature cannot be forged unless the signer loses the authentication key. Even so, the speed at which business is transacted over electronic and digital signatures alike is quick enough to provide minimal time to lose this authentication key.

The only documents that cannot be signed electronically tend to not pertain to organizations, but rather documents governing adoption, divorce, or family law, which oftentimes require notaries (agents that digital and electronic signatures do not provide in-situ technologies for). The law was recently amended to allow digital signatures for income tax forms 8878 and 8879, and Section 101 of the E-Sign Act under Subsection B currently preserves the rights of individuals to opt out of using digital signatures or electronic signatures. In other words, digital signatures are not mandatory, nor can they be made mandatory.

A few more stipulations to keep in-mind: The original format of some documents, particularly paper certifications, should be retained to ensure compliance. It isn’t transforming the file type from paper to digital format via a DMS solution that raises legal concerns; however, it’s the disposing of some paper certifications once they are uploaded to a digital format that does.

Note that if a printed file is uploaded via a scanner to document management software, and then the original paper version of the document is thrown away, re-printing the document, in some cases, will compromise the legal admissibility of the document.

The safest way to keep records compliant in DMS use is to simply retain certifications in their original format—even once uploaded to the DMS system.

IDC Regulations

In its 2016–2020 Worldwide System Management Software Forecast, the IDC reports that the market will be driven by “the need to monitor, manage, and optimize systems, applications, and end-user experience across increasingly complex on-premise, hybrid, cloud, and public cloud deployments, together with the rapid adoption of 3rd platform technologies.”

This clearly demonstrates the importance of using a document management system and similar technologies. Since the market will be driven by these factors, the adoption of these systems will increase, making competition a very difficult prospect for those who do not adopt similar systems and acquire their efficiency.

IRS Regulations

The IRS, being the governing body responsible for collecting taxes and administrating The Internal Revenue Code, has a range of information advancing paperless solutions for organizations on its website.

In order to help them adapt to technologies ensuring the accuracy and retention of information, The Internal Revenue Service provides a modernized e-File Program, which strives to help the many soon-to-be paperless organizations compliantly navigate the transition to paperless workspaces.

IRS Section 6107 (b) notes that records must be kept 3 – 5 years after the return period. IRS Rev. Proc. 97-22 also notes that all types of tax documents may be electronic records to the extent they are printable and protected.

AMIA Regulations

The American Medical Informatics Association, ironically, is silent on the document management system as a component of organizational informatics. In fact, it only discusses email between patients and providers, noting one of email’s downfalls to be its status as a relatively unencrypted and difficult-to-encrypt technology, making it less ensuring of privacy.

However, if healthcare providers used a document management system file-sharing web portal in place of email, providers would not be subject to a fact Ponemon identified in a 2014 study: That 30% of healthcare patients will find other healthcare providers if their information is breached due to a lack of security. Not only does this result in lost revenue for hospitals, it can lead to noncompliance of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

Furthermore, AMIA notes email to be a “self-documenting” technology, giving patients and providers proof of communications; but this fails to account for whether providers’ and patients’ emails are backed with the sufficient data storage and recovery features that a document management system provides.

Building a Better Organization through Document Management Software
document management software

We Solve Your Common Office Problems

  • Work at the speed of thought, but without human errors

  • Automate redundant processes

  • Save space and money

  • Keep all documents and files in one place

  • Waste less time

  • Eliminate lost and misfiled documents

  • Work from anywhere

  • Facilitate compliance and ensure security

  • Improve customer service

  • Achieve a consistent file structure

  • Securely share files of any size

  • Control access and track files

  • Fast track document turnaround

  • Protect and expand your business

  • Maximize your performance

Are You Ready to Get Ahead?

Call: 877‑574‑5505


Get a Free Demo

Free Demo

Request a Demo

Discover eFileCabinet

Chat with us about your needs and we’ll create a free guided test drive just for you.

Demo Form Arrow