Risk Analysis: Software packages are available to help quantify potential exposure to security breaches.  This is a good starting point in determining your need for and development of a plan of action.

Access Level: Users can be assigned a variety of access privileges, such as upload or download data from a File Server or network database.

Passwords: Passwords can be used to control access to terminals, files, records, or even fields within a record.  In a password system, users must enter the appropriate password to gain access to the data for which they have been cleared.  Multiple levels of passwords can provide entry to different layers of information in an agency database.  The best approach is to use passwords to create a hierarchy of entry and progressively more complex entry codes as the information becomes more sensitive.

 Audit Trails: Security software programs can audit computer use by providing a comprehensive record of all network or system actively, including who is accessing what data, when and how often.

Encryption: Data encryption is a process that “scrambles” data when they are stored or transmitted.  Data so treated become unintelligible without a data “key.”  When the encrypted data are sent to another terminal, the required software key on the receiving end decodes the information.  The use of encryption can be a complex process and should be used only for data that are highly confidential and require utmost security.

 Data Backups: Backing up disks is a common-sense measure to safeguard data in the event of loss through disaster.  It is also important for basic computer security.  Data backup is an important safeguard should an unauthorized user access and change an electronic file or document.  Collections of data, which are constantly being updated, such as electronic database, should be backed up regularly on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.  Weekly and monthly backups should be kept in a secure location, which is fireproof.  Backup media should be clearly indicated as such with the word BACKUP written on the label.


In the modern world, information has become increasing important for the efficient running of organizations.  There is need to have information readily available whenever required for decision-making and problem solving.  Registries play a very important role in maintaining, controlling and availing information in an organization.  Greater attention should therefore be paid to the management of the registries and the information resources they contain.

Handicaps facing records management in the public service today

It has been observed that most of the records management malpractice begins in registries.  Factors to explain this kind or situation include: –

Lack of proper training of the registry personnel and follow-ups after training; 

Frequent transfers of trained and experienced staff from the registries to other duties thus affecting the proper running of registries;

Undisciplined personnel manning the registries leading to constant mishandling of files, acts of vandalism etc. The fact is that in disciplined individuals will not be interested in seeing anything going well.

 Inadequate knowledge in registry filing classification and coding systems amongst registry staff. This makes retrieval of information quite tedious if not impossible.

Poof attitude and/or lack of understanding by top managers of the vital role played by registries in an organization. The registries act as a ‘dumping ground’ for untrained and undisciplined staff with little or no attention being paid to the problems that may face registry operations and the organization in general when a registry is manned by this type of staff.  In the final analysis, the top management usually ends up being the loser. 

Absence of, and or failure to implement records disposal schedules. Consequently there is a mammoth growth of records in the various ministries and departments, majority of which are valueless.  Such records continue occupying office space and equipment unnecessarily.

 There is inadequate filing equipment, which has made files to be mismanaged. In some cases there is breakdown of the filing equipment in registries resulting into uneconomic and inefficient registry operations.

Lack of proper accommodation. Registries lack proper accommodation for their records.  Thus records are dumped on floors, on top of cabinets and sometimes mixed with unserviceable stores and equipment.

Some officers maliciously withhold vital information; say if it deals with an officer’s promotion, training and even application for acting allowance or any other beneficial aspect. Such behavior has very adverse effect on the flow of information in public offices.  This practice amounts to corruption, which is criminal and punishable under the law.

Lack of serious supervision within an organization.


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