The documentary chain of custody

This September, from UNAYTA, we will deal with a process that is fundamental and essential and that we insist on and emphasize to our clients when we focus on the treatment of the information contained in their files:


When we speak of a file document, we refer to any manifestation, testimony embodied in physical or electronic support that serves as a source of information and / or proof of a fact or act.

For this reason, companies and entities, both public and private, are concerned about where and how their documentation is stored and who keeps it and consults it.

All this implies adequate storage security conditions, correct and appropriate means of access and control; pursuing the guarantee of documentary integrity, preserving its testimonial and / or probative value and, maintaining its originality and authenticity in order.

Based on the above, in this post we will approach to give a small and general vision about what is the DOCUMENTARY CHAIN ​​OF CUSTODY.

We start first by stating that it is a CHAIN ​​OF CUSTODY.

A chain of custody consists of carrying out a control and registration, which applies evidence and evidence of a fact, act or object.

By transferring this definition to our field and area _ documentary and archive_ we can establish that a CHAIN ​​OF DOCUMENTARY CUSTODY is the registration and control of the natural or legal persons who consult the stored documentation, in addition, that it is a continuous process that offers protection, indicating that the information stored meets the conditions of authenticity, accuracy and integrity.

In addition, facilitating that the storage arranged offers the guarantees for the documentary availability when it is required or demanded, this implies, a correct coding that will also help to a correct follow-up in the document management program.

Control, on the one hand, implies the physical security of the information, and on the other, secure access to documents only by authorized personnel, following and obeying compliance with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (RGPD), the Law Organic Protection of Personal Data and Guarantee of Digital Rights (LOPDGDD)

Likewise, complying with the provisions of Law 39/2015, of the Common Administrative Procedure of Public Administrations and of Law 40/2015, of the Legal Regime of the Public Sector. Without forgetting long-term storage, permanence and the guarantee of preservation, which must respond to regulations such as ISO 14721, the OAIS Model – Open Archival Information System (in addition to ISO Standards[1] like 15489, 23081 30300, etc.)

We must not ignore that in this chain of documentary custody, not only physical documentation (paper) is included, but also digital. With its characteristic of specificity and complexity. In this case, the process goes from who produces such documents, to who preserves them.

In this aspect we speak of 3 fields or areas of action:

One, which includes the production, classification, processing, workflow, valuation and elimination of documents, which is the management area.

One second, which is the preservation field. It is related to the maintenance of authenticity, updating, permanent access (accessibility, interoperability and availability)

And a third, which refers to play area which includes distribution, interpretation, and auditing.

It is important to have the capacity and the security to guarantee that the content of the digital documentation is accessible, regardless of its version. Hardware and software compatibility must be ensured.

From UNAYTA, we insist that whether it is a physical or electronic document, the important thing is to keep a record and control of its storage and the activity of manipulation, access and consultation of the stored documentation.

On UNAYTA, we offer all solutions and alternatives, ALWAYS AND ACCORDING to the needs and demands of our customers. Adapting them to their profiles and areas of action.

In a visual way, we offer you an infographic of how it is unavoidable in any company, having and having a plan to ensure that the document chain of custody does not present bankruptcies or leaks.

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