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It’s Not Just About Retention: The Implications of Holding on to Information for Too Long
A managed records retention policy reduces risk for your business, facilitates adherence to regulatory compliance, and improves your bottom line. Yet, many companies mistakenly squirrel away records as part of a corporate retention policy. To a degree, this may be due to lack of adequate knowledge about required retention periods and partially due to fear that getting rid of data increases exposure. Yet holding onto business records for too long can create just as many problems as disposing of information too early.
Increased Storage Costs and Exposure Risks
“Out of sight, out of mind” is an adage many businesses adhere to when it comes to inactive documents: box them up, tuck them away, and be done with them. As a result, files that have reached the end of the retention lifecycle can sit idly for months or even years. Doing so costs your business money. The allocation of additional office space is costly-especially when that space could be used for generating additional revenue. Further, it’s likely that your expired records contain sensitive client, employee or proprietary information increasing the risk of exposure to identity theft or data breaches.
Professional records storage enables your business records to be stored off-site, eliminating not only in-house storage expenses but also the risk of unauthorized access and exposure to sensitive information. Documents are bar-coded, stored within a dedicated records center, and tracked with inventory management software. The retention periods for your records inventory can also be managed so that documents are promptly destroyed at the end of the information lifecycle.
Holding onto records for too long can also be a legal nightmare. For litigation and audit purposes any data within your possession can be deemed “discoverable” even if that information has exceeded retention requirements. Therefore, it’s important to have a dependable and secure records disposal solution. A professional shredding and destruction company can help by offering a range of tailored disposal solutions, including:
- off-site and mobile on-site shredding
- one-time purge destruction
- hard drive and media destruction
Admittedly, it’s not always easy determining which information to get rid of and when. It can be especially challenging when administration prioritizes revenue generation over recordkeeping requirements. Luckily, there are numerous resources outside of your organization that can provide you with guidance. Trade organizations within your specific industry or area of expertise may be able to provide you with helpful records retention guidelines. Your legal and financial advisors are a good start as well as your local records and information management expert who can implement a turnkey professionally managed solution to support your business’ information governance and compliance objectives.
Records Management Center provides businesses throughout Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, and Aiken, SC and the Central Savannah River Area with professional records and information management solutions. To find out more please contact us by phone or fill in the form on this page.