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Records Management From Home

Even if you are working from home as part of an alternative work arrangement, you still have records retention and management responsibilities as a City employee. To assist you with these responsibilities, City Records has compiled some tips for keeping your records during telework. For more information on implementing any of the below, please contact the City Records Officer.

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  Treat your electronic records as you would treat the paper “final” version, including for retention and discovery.

​​​​​​​Why this is important: Wisconsin statutes allow for electronic records to be considered the copy of record if they meet certain requirements, especially if the records are being used to conduct business. You’re likely going to be more electronic than usual while working from home, so make sure your records are organized so you can find them and produce/dispose of them as needed.

  Save records to a departmental share drive or other communal space whenever possible.

​​​​​​​Why this is important: Your records won’t be accessible to your customers, clients, or co-workers if they’re on your hard drive or a flash drive at home. Additionally, City records stored on a personal device must still be produced for Public Records Requests, and in the event of litigation it is possible that the entire device could be subpoenaed. If you must use your personal devices for file storage, make sure to export records to a centralized, backed up location ASAP.

  Use official city systems, such as E-Vault or LMS, to ensure the security, integrity, and accessibility of your records. Comply with the City Cloud policy if you must use a 3rd Party app.

Why this is important: Applications within the City’s information ecosystem, or that have been vetted by ITMD, have protections in place for the security, integrity, and ownership rights of your departmental records. Services entered into outside of these guidelines may not have such safeguards, and could put your information at risk for loss, corruption, or breach. Consult with ITMD, the Office of the City Attorney, and City Records before entering into any license agreement to ensure any records in a potential 3rd party app are handled securely and in line with records retention requirements.

  Follow best practices for information security, especially with records that contain confidential or sensitive information.

​​​​​​​Why this is important: The security protections of the City of Milwaukee network may not protect users on home networks from the various ways information can be lost or misappropriated. Familiarize yourself with the information security training on the MINT and elsewhere so you can effectively protect City records against threats.

  Schedule daily or weekly time for file cleanup (organizing files by series, deleting draft or duplicate documents, etc.).

​​​​​​Why this is important: We all already generate a lot of ROT (Redundant, Obsolete, Transitory) records during normal operations. Working remotely, the mess is only likely to increase. Take a little time on a regular basis to delete identical copies of records, drafts, preliminary computations, personal notes, and other non-records that may be crowding your desktop. You should also consider organizing files by records series/destruction date, or consolidating drafts and final versions to further ensure the files you are working with are the ones you are actually looking for. Your future selves will thank you for making important files more accessible!

  Revisit your departmental and global retention schedules.

​​​​​​Why this is important: Retention schedules provide guidance and permission for retaining and destroying City records, but many departments have a large number of schedules that are expired and therefore not valid for disposition purposes. This is an excellent time to make sure your departmental schedules are in order, to allow destruction of obsolete records, and to document functions and requirements of your office. Contact your records coordinator or City records for an updated list of your department’s schedules.

  Remember that recordings of virtual meetings or conversation are records and manage accordingly.

​​​​​​Why this is important: If you record and save a virtual meeting or conversation, that recording is a record, and is potentially subject to disclosure under the public records law. These recordings must also be managed in accordance with applicable records retention schedules. Per the above point, these recordings should be stored on departmental drives or other communal space whenever possible.

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