How to Clean Up the Shared Drive and Electronic Files

It can be beneficial at the beginning of a New Year for an organization to ask divisions and departments to do an initial scan of the shared drive to purge and delete un-necessary files and documents.

Make sure users only purge those files and documents they have direct responsibility for maintaining. Often, employees will be hesitant with the lack of clarify of what to purge and delete. Ask users to review these files and remove all documents and file folders that no longer have significance, relevance, or are past the legally required record retention. If record retention guidelines exist, make sure to include them in the communications. Impress upon users that if there is doubt, leave the files and documents on the shared drive so they can be reviewed by others.

Staff can ask themselves the following questions when reviewing files and documents:

  • Will the organization ever need, want, or find value in this information again? (If so, keep it.)
  • Is the information outdated and/ or superseded? (If so, it can be deleted.)
  • Is the information located on the organization Intranet network? (If so, it could be deleted as the Intranet will have the most current information.)
  • Does the document or file have legal (current or future) implications? (If so, keep it.)
  • Is there any legal requirement to keep the data? (If so, keep it.)

Be sure to remind users that if documents or files are deleted from a shared drive, the files will be deleted permanently and will not go to a “Recycle Bin.” The IT manager or Help Desk must be contacted to restore any deleted files from the shared drive.

To learn how to organize electronic files and the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.

The Benefits of Organizing the Shared Drive

For most organizations, shared network drives on computer servers are used to store and share business documents. Every day, employees create and manage electronic information to support their work. In fact, it is estimated that 95% of all new information is still stored on network servers. In addition, most organizations permit their employees to store electronic information on a “personal” or “individual” drive that is accessible only to the individual. In addition, there are now project collaboration systems such as SharePoint and Google Sites, which also contain organization data. Managing all of this data and information efficiently and effectively can greatly improve business performance, knowledge management, and productivity.

Employees usually have been given very little guidance and information on saving, filing, deleting, and naming documents onto the shared network drives. As a result, server systems can and have reached capacity limit quickly. It is important to provide staff clear direction on file structure and where electronic records should be saved.

Having an organized shared drive will provide the following benefits for businesses and organizations:

  • Improve accessibility of data among employees and staff.
  • Provide a clear understanding of how and where to save files on the shared drive network.
  • Improve worker efficiency and productivity with quick access of current and historical files and documents.
  • Reduce duplication of files and provide clear guidelines of version control.
  • Provide easier access to collaboration with shared files and documents within the organization.
  • Improve clarity and ease for new employees to access important information quickly.
  • Lay the foundation for a paperless office by reducing official paper files and increase reliance on electronic file system.
  • Improve the corporate memory and maintain important history when employees leave the organization.
  • Become prepared for a transfer to a document or content management system such as Microsoft SharePoint or Documentum.

To learn how to organize electronic files and the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.