Why Every Business Needs a Data Retention and Disposal Schedule
A retention and disposal schedule (RDS) forms an important foundation for managing organisational data. Establishing an effective and legally compliant policy can significantly benefit your business, by helping to manage risk and legal compliance, whilst maintaining or improving operational efficiencies. We’ve expanded upon these advantages below.
Understand legislative requirements and demonstrate compliance.
Developing an RDS can be an in-depth process when you consider how much data your organisation has and the variety of locations it’s stored in. Consider for example, email correspondence in Outlook, client or supplier information within a database, transactional data in a finance system, tax records in a filing cabinet, contracts on a network drive, or social media posts and conversations online.
Although it can be a complex task, demonstrating your compliance with recordkeeping requirements will help your organisation understand what information you’re responsible for retaining within your industry, how long you’re legally required to keep it, and the format in which the data should be stored.
Provide organisational cost savings.
Over-saving information can be costly, especially in larger organisations that have a sizable amount of data. Physical storage costs include the rental or purchase of space, alongside utilities and maintenance, and electronic storage costs include hardware, software, power consumption, labour and monitoring costs.
A data retention and disposal schedule will help organisations manage their information by ensuring that data is only being kept as long as legally required, providing cost savings through a reduction in storage requirements.
Improve operational efficiencies.
As an organisation grows, so does the amount of its data. By minimising the number of records in storage, an RDS will improve the day-to-day retrieval of documents and information. It will also assist in identifying and eliminating duplicated documentation and redundant records. Utilising a records management system, such as RecordPoint or HP Content Manager, will further assist by automating the schedule, thereby reducing manual labour.
Mitigate organisational risk.
Over-saving records creates unnecessary risk that could be easily be avoided. For instance, if an organisation becomes involved in a legal dispute, the task of going through a large amount of data to produce the required documents and information can quickly become a costly challenge. Information that is correctly and legally disposed of is also less likely to end up being presented in legal proceedings.
While over-saving data presents its own set of risks, failing to retain information long enough also results in risk.
Data retention periods are imposed by law for certain records, and failure to comply can result in;
- Fines or penalties by regulating bodies
- A requirement to pay more taxes than are due
- Failing an internal or external audit
- An inability to produce proof of your position in the event of legal proceedings
- A deal falling through – whether that’s a loan, merger, acquisition, partnership or another type of deal
Our team of experts are on-hand to help organisations navigate the complexity of records and information management across any industry. We regularly assist organisations with understanding their legal requirements, and creating and implementing complex data retention and disposal schedules.
Luke is an experienced Marketing Manager and host of the Information Transformation Podcast. He has a keen interest in developing engaging content to inform people about the changing landscape of the information management industry.
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