Several organizations have initiated a business records retention schedule to counter the continuous accumulation of data. Nonetheless, many businesses still believe that data hoarding is a useful and inexpensive practice best suited for future reference. However, this notion is false as a significant amount of time and funds are dedicated to maintaining in-house servers, data auditing, archiving, and securing.

The downside of data retention

Uncontrolled data hoarding can also pose a risk to an organization regarding costs because organizations will sometimes opt for more spacious off-site storage for electronics and backups for their record retention practices. Apart from the storage expenses, data retention can put an organization at risk in today’s litigious climate. Thus organizations should discard records that are past the date because, from a legal standpoint, older documents with no topical organizational value could still cause significant damage to the organization if disclosed. Records, including personally identifiable information, must also be expunged and vacated.

Data retention policy and implementation

It is crucial to discard extraneous records regularly. Organizations should implement a structured business records retention schedule to retain important data and relinquish dispensable data. At a minimum, keep a data retention schedule that outlines the types of records covered. It should spell out the format and duration for maintaining data and adequately disposing of data. Depending on the nature of an organization, a fitting record retention schedule may include:

  1. Guidelines for various office documents to assist in establishing an efficient records management system to store documents according to lawful regulations and avoid costly lawsuits.
  2. Demand employees to practically adhere to record-keeping and documentation responsibilities.
  3. Responsible for keeping copies of all useful information and discard personal and sensitive information that is no longer of need.
  4. An expeditious method for searching for relevant records.
  5. A procedure for saving specific internal company data such as emails, documents, drafts, instant message conversations, and storage duration before these documents are properly disposed of.
  6. A mandatory manual and electronic verification of security rules and procedures to protect retained records.
  7. A process that specifies how to discard records.

An organization’s records retention schedule serves to protect, manage, document, and discard company records through numerous specific procedures and various guidelines that promote regular discarding of irrelevant records to allow for a clear overview of vital records. 

IRCH can help your business establish a policy that includes guidelines for destroying documents to protect your business and clients’ information.

Request a Consultation