Retaining records beyond their expiry date

If you do not know how long to retain a record, you cannot dispose of it correctly. This is a problem that many organisations encounter all too frequently. Knowing what records you have, what format they are in, and where they are all located will help you understand how long you should retain them. 

Obviously, it is much easier said than done. Numerous variables increase the complexity as organisations delve deeper into their information, including: 

  • How long has the company been in operation? 
  • The number of locations that the company has 
  • The number of record systems  
  • The formats in which the records are stored, whether on-site, off-site, or both 

However, the first and most crucial step in determining how long you must keep the data is to conduct an audit. 

Making a simple records retention schedule 

You must check the record has adequate meaningful meta data attached to it. A records retention schedule should, at the very least, answer the following points: 

  • Who oversees the retention plan? 
  • What is stored in the record? 
  • How long does this document need to be kept? 
  • Where is it stored? 

A phased strategy is one thing you should consider. You will not complete it all at once if you are beginning from scratch. Instead, you will want to rely on the assistance of the rest of your organisation. The people in charge of keeping that record are the most knowledgeable; they are aware of what is stored where and how long a record needs to be preserved. As you expand your inventory, you will be able to ask better questions and receive better answers as you learn more knowledge. 

A cascading effect will occur as your schedule and inventory develop, leading to a more comprehensive inventory and a more reliable record retention schedule. This leads us to our final point. 

Your disposition policies and procedures must be documented 

Outline your policies and processes for what you do with specific types of records after you have a thorough records retention plan and inventory. Although it might seem redundant, remember that the procedure is distinct from your retention timetable. 

Procedure explains how to approach disposition methodically. This need must be adhered to by your organisation, and it must be documented. This defends against and lessens the hazards that courts, auditors, and other sources pose to your organisation. This step can be made simpler by working together with your organization’s privacy and legal counsel to make sure all relevant bases are covered. 

The problem of keeping up with evolving privacy and information retention rules and regulations is resolved by ZircoDATA’s Virgo solution, a cloud-based retention and information governance system. With over 230,000 rules and regulations that we follow globally already under management, Virgo tracks information compliance laws and regulations throughout the world with a specialist team of legal professionals delivered through a cloud solution to manage your policies with a full audit trail. 

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