Audit trails are an invaluable asset to any company that manages documentation. They help meticulously record every touchpoint on your documents, empowering companies to navigate data privacy and compliance, mitigate online vulnerabilities and enforce responsible document management.
Continue reading our guide to find out more about audit trails, how they work, their benefits, and their importance in document management.
What is an audit trail?
An audit trail is a chronological record of events for a financial transaction or process. They capture the date and time for the event, providing crucial context for when it needs assessment.
Audit trails can be used across multiple different industries, however no matter the industry, it always returns to the concept of tracking events in chronological order, ensuring that anyone who reads the audit logs can identify what happened within the process and when.
The benefits of audit trails
Audit trails offer a wealth of benefits, helping safeguard your information and ensuring your team can make informed decisions about process improvement.
An audit trail helps maintain trust and allow companies to identify potential risks by providing a clear record of activity. They provide a clear picture of who did what, when, and where, making it easy to pinpoint an internal security concern, such as an information breach. For example, an audit trail would bring attention to when an unauthorised person has accessed a confidential document.
Error detection & troubleshooting
The clear chronological order of event logs can show what exactly led to an error, either helping to prevent the error in the first place, or allowing companies to internally troubleshoot what happened.
All companies fall under compliance requirements, often including the need for an assessment or audit. Audit logs help to determine whether companies meet these requirements, as it ensures documentation is legally acceptable and enables them to identify security concerns such as misuse of information.
Audit trails establish responsibility for every decision and action taken within a system. There are clear lines of responsibility which reveal the truth and credibility of information at any given point. This allows for valuable insights on the processes of the business to be identified and optimised.
With clear and accessible processes and information, internal and external audits are completed with ease. Auditors can do advanced searching based on metadata, whilst also having oversight of system-wide trends and patterns.
How does an audit trail work?
An audit trail works by determining the following crucial elements:
- Event name: A concise and descriptive label for the recorded action.
Additional information such as the user role’s privileges, the IP address of the user, or the software on which the platform took place, may be included on certain audit trail types.
Types of audit trails
There are two main types of audit trails: system audit trails and transaction audit trails.
System audit trail
A system audit trail records events related to the overall health and operation of the system. It tracks events such as system startups and shutdowns, user logins, hardware changes, and security events like firewall activity.
Transaction audit trail
This is a fundamental type of audit trail in finance. It’s used to record individual transactions, from payments and purchase orders, to invoices and account changes. These help to ensure the accuracy and compliance of financial records, preventing fraudulent activity.
Why are audit trails important in document management?
Audit trails are important in document management as they ensure that documents are secure, and any movements or modifications of the documents can be tracked. They ensure:
- Sensitive information is protected
- Any risk of compliance issues can be identified and resolved
- Time is saved when searching for specific documents
- Workflows can be analysed and optimised
When paired with a Document Management System, document audit trails are incredibly useful, as you have one dependable system that both organises the documents and keeps them secure through detailed tracking.
Effectively organise your document management with Shredall SDS Group
Keeping maintained audit trails is critical for remaining compliant and guaranteeing the security of your business. By integrating a document management system with audit trails, you gain ultimate control over your documents, prevent unauthorised access, and ensure compliance effortlessly.
Shredall SDS Group offers a comprehensive range of document management solutions. Get in touch with our experienced team today, to help you analyse your requirements and find the perfect document management system for you.