Managing information on mobile devices

Mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablet devices are being used by agencies as a communication tool. They generate and receive emails, SMS, instant messaging and voicemails, all of which are records and need to be managed.

It is important that key information and records of discussions, deliberations and decision making on these devices is captured.

Mobile device policy

Your agency should have a policy on the use of mobile devices which includes information on identifying and saving records, as well as ensuring the security and privacy of information on mobile devices.

The Department of Finance, Whole of Government ICT and Defence Signals Directorate has information to ensure the security and privacy of information on mobile devices.

Messages on my smart phone or mobile device

If you have been issued an agency’s mobile device then you are responsible for capturing any information that conveys a decision or discussion. Messages received on your smart phone or mobile device can be in the form of an email, SMS or voicemail and are still subject to the same requirements as email messages received on your desktop computer or voicemail at your workstation.

If the message on your mobile device contains information that supports the business of your agency then you need to document it and save the information in the corporate records management system as soon as possible.

Saving instant messaging (IM) exchanges

Instant messaging (IM) exchanges are records. However, you need to make a decision as to whether they are short-term records which can be destroyed according to your agency's Normal Administrative Practice (NAP) guidelines or whether they are important business records.

Most IM exchanges are informal and short-term. If an agency starts to transact business or receive requests from the public using IM, the exchanges then become a record and should be saved in the corporate records management system.

There are two options for recording this information – technical and procedural:

  • technical option involve software which create logs and records of IM conversations
  • procedural option which require staff to create a file note with key information or decisions made at the time of message and to save it in a records management system as soon as possible.

Voicemail messages

Voicemail messages are records. However, you will need to make a decision as to whether they are short-term records which can be destroyed according to your agency's normal administrative practice (NAP) guidelines or whether they are important business records.

Some voicemail is as simple as arranging a meeting or asking you to return a call. Other voicemail may be a request from the public or contain information required for business. The information in these voicemail messages should be retained.

If the voicemail message cannot be registered in an electronic document and records management system (EDRMS), you should make a file note and save it on a corporate file as soon as possible. A file note should provide details of who sent and received the message, the date and time received and notes on what was requested, directed or decided.

More information

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017