The National Archives recommends setting up an electronic document and records management systems (EDRMS) rather than managing information with a network drive.

If you set up a network drive in your agency, we advise the following.

Managing information and records in network drives

Agencies with limited resources sometimes use network drives.

Network drives can be a temporary solution before an agency implements an electronic document records management system (EDRMS).

Network drives can't manage information and records to meet Australian Government or international standards.

Improving record management in a network drive requires a systematic approach and ongoing support.

Risks of network drives

A network drive isn't a records management system

There are risks in using a network drive to manage and store information.

  • Anyone who has access can alter or delete records.
  • It is difficult to demonstrate the authenticity, integrity and trustworthiness of uncontrolled records.
  • It can be difficult to identify the record's status or version.
  • Metadata is often missing and there are no links between documents and their business context.
  • Poor management can result in large volumes of uncontrolled information, which is difficult to manage and takes up network space.
  • Difficulty finding relevant records poses a reputational risk to the agency.

Identify and assess your agency's specific risks. A risk assessment may result in the decision to stop storing information and records in network drives.

Reducing the risks

Reduce the risks of managing information and records in network drives by:

  • establishing an information governance framework
  • supporting and training agency staff
  • developing tools, guidelines, and procedures such as agreed folder structures and conventions for naming folders and documents.

Monitoring and ongoing management of network drives

Actively managing information and records in your network drive is the key to meeting information and records management requirements.

The following tasks can reduce the risk of using network drives.

Develop and follow processes and procedures

  • Reinforce rules for managing folders by monitoring structure and naming conventions and correcting errors.
  • Review procedures to ensure they are adequate and used appropriately.
  • Use records authorities to assess how long records need to be kept and plan so they remain accessible and don't become technically obsolete.
  • Dispose of records by following the Archives Act 1983 and the Protective Security Policy Framework.
  • Review and update access and security controls to meet agency needs and protect sensitive information.

Train staff

  • Establish an ongoing training schedule to support all staff to develop and improve skills.
  • Encourage staff to perform regular ‘clean-ups’ of information following agency policy.
  • Work with stakeholders to improve the system and its processes.

Plan for requirements

  • Consider if the network drives meet the ongoing requirements for information and records management.
  • Develop a plan to upgrade the system.

Further advice

If you need more help or advice contact the Agency Service Centre.