“To retain or not to retain?” that is the question. There are many organizations who are considering adopting a document retention policy. In fact, many companies are required to by law. But what about the companies who are not legally required to do so? Should they still take the time to create and implement retention policies? There are several reasons why an organization should consider being proactive and answer “yes” to that question.
1. You Need a Strategy in Place
First, an organization’s efforts to manage their data is more effective when a cohesive strategy is in place. When implementing a retention policy, it is very common that an organization will also need to centralize most of their data. By centralizing and reducing the amount of data that is retained, it is substantially easier to keep this data organized. In turn, “lost” data also becomes much easier to locate.
Another way an organization can manage their environment more effectively is by their ability to backup and restore their data. By limiting the amount of documents that need to be retained, the time it takes to backup is greatly reduced. Additionally, data recovery is much easier to perform since there is less data to restore. As a result, any organization that is planning to have some type of disaster recovery plan should also be considering a retention policy.
2. Retention Policies Reduce Costs
Second, having a retention policy greatly reduces costs. By restricting the amount of data retained, an organization will lower its storage requirements and thereby reduce its infrastructure costs. Additionally, costs associated with backups, recovery and other administrative tasks are also reduced.
3. Your Organization is Liable for the Information it Keeps
Third, an organization is liable for the information it keeps. Therefore, a company is increasing its legal risks without having a retention policy. Once litigation arises (and it usually does!), an organization will be required to produce all of the relevant, requested documents. Otherwise, a court could penalize an organization for failing to properly produce and preserve its data (refer to the Apple vs. Samsung case ). Any document that could lead to the detection of relevant evidence may be requested. Without a document retention policy, a company’s ability to collect this data can be even more costly, cumbersome and potentially detrimental to the case. If you do not have a retention policy in place, it will be too late to do anything about it once litigation has begun. Therefore, it is better to implement a retention policy now prior to any potential litigation.
As you can see, there are several reasons why an organization should begin implementing a retention policy. Not only will it allow an organization to better manage its data and reduce costs, but it will also allow them to easily produce all documents in their possession related to litigation requests.