Controlling Electronic Records and Documents

With a modern computer system, it is entirely possible to control your required documents and records electronically. It is vital that your quality system documentation and records be adequately controlled, and you might find that keeping these on your computer network is the best bet.

Some advantages of controlling documents electronically include:
1. If properly password protected, the people you want to have access, will have access, as long as they have a computer on your network. The people you don’t want to have access, won’t.
2. Computer records, if backed up and stored properly, are less likely to undergo deterioration from the environment.
3. Documents and records that are properly password protected can not be altered or deleted by unauthorized personnel.
4. It is much simpler to update or change electronic documents. All users will instantly have the latest and greatest version of the document. There are no paper copies to update, no obsolete paper copies floating around.

Of course it takes a little discipline to have a system of controlling documents and records electronically. For example, your people must be somewhat trustworthy and not divulge passwords to unauthorized people. Also, it is important that people do not print copies of documents and records and leave these uncontrolled copies laying around. You may wish to consider labeling all documents “Uncontrolled If Printed”.

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