Redaction Service: In-House or Outsource?

When deciding on how to proceed with a document redaction project often times the most important question an organization needs to answer is: “Should we do this with internal resources or pay experts to do it for us?” This can be a complicated question to answer but most organizations should be able to answer it by weighing the pros and cons of each with three factors in mind. The three factors that need to be considered are document origin (historical backfile or day-forward), volume (how many documents?) and redaction software (automated redaction or seek-and-redact). Of those three factors, document origin is the most import to consider first.

In many cases the decision to outsource a redaction project with regards to document origin should be black and white. If you have a large backfile of documents the most efficient way to get it done is to outsource. The reason for this is that a document redaction specialist is set up and staffed to work on a project with singular focus. This allows for expedient processing in contrast to keeping the project in-house, which requires training staff members and pulling them off their normal duties to redact at short intervals. Such a project might take many months or years if performed in-house but could be completed in just weeks by a professional service. The other side of this is that day-forward projects can generally be kept in-house. The reason for this is modern automated redaction software, such as ID Shield, makes it very simple to redact documents as they are processed by an organization. In general, all users need to do is verify proposed redactions and move on with their day. An exception to this would be in the case that an organization has thousands of documents a day coming in. A decision based on a large volume of documents can be more difficult, but there a few factors to consider that can make it easier.

The principal factor to consider with regards to the amount of documents in a project (day-forward or backfile) is labor. The volume of documents that need redactions applied to them can have a major effect on internal resources. Most organizations will not have the labor budget to allocate employees to document redaction full time. If the volume of incoming pages per day begins to exceed what staff can handle, it’s time to start outsourcing redaction work. As noted above outsourcing to a redaction services company can shorten the time it takes to get redactions done, but it can also save labor costs as they are extremely efficient. If completely outsourcing isn’t an option, there is one more factor to consider.

When keeping a project in-house the redaction software you choose will make a major difference in how much time employees take making redactions. In almost all situations having a solution in place that uses a rules engine to find sensitive fields will save immense amounts of time over traditional hunt-and-redact solutions. Even with the advantages automated redaction software brings it’s still important to consider the incoming volume in day-forward projects. If the current staff of an organization can handle new documents as they come in, automated redaction can make them much more efficient. If they are currently using a majority of the day redacting, it will free up time for them to work on other tasks. If documents are accumulating, that’s when it’s time to consider outsourcing the work.

While there are many factors to consider, the easiest way to judge whether or not to outsource redaction is document origin. When dealing with a backfile, it’s generally best to outsource because a professional redaction service can perform the work quickly and reliably without upsetting an organization’s current processes. When looking at a day-forward project it’s generally safe to keep in-house. Even when keeping a project in-house it’s still important for your employees to be as efficient as possible, be sure to invest in a redaction solution like ID Shield that does the bulk of the work for them.

For more information and best practices for getting your team ready to implement redaction, check out this white paper, Redaction Roadmap.


About the Author: Troy Burke

With 30 years of experience providing clients with stellar service and strategic solutions for growth and development, Troy is committed to ensuring his customers receive the highest quality solution, training and support with every implementation. He frequently speaks on the topic of redaction and is actively involved with National Association of Court Management, Property Records Industry Association and several other government organizations.