Best practices for electronic file management


ITĀ Help Central recommends the following steps to manage and maintain digital files. Computer file management will become easier and less time consuming by using these tips.

  • Create folders to group similar files. Just as folders are labeled in a filing cabinet, putting similar items in a descriptive folder will helps to find that important file when needed.
  • To help prevent data loss, schedule regular backups of all critical data either to a separate hard drive or removable disk.
  • If multiple versions of a file or document are kept, consider including the file creation or revision date in the file name. Using a file name such as My Report 2007-03-21.docx will allow the latest version of the document to be quickly found and older versions can be deleted.
  • Before transferring ownership of a computer, a data scrubber should be run to remove all data from the hard drive. This will prevent others from accessing data once the computer's ownership is transferred. For departments on campus, KillDisk is the recommended software for this operation.
  • Periodically review the files in removable drives and delete/archive outdated files.
  • Delete those files that are no longer needed. Schedule a regular review of files on your computing devices, removable drives, and network/cloud storage. Delete/destroy those items which are no longer needed.

NOTE: Before deleting any office records, verify with supervisors that a copy does not need to be saved for archival records.