When your business receives or creates documents, you should have a list with the received date or creation date. This creates a retention schedule so you know when you can send the documents out for document destruction. In many cases, your business has to save records for seven to ten years – but holding onto documents for so long eventually causes a space issue. Instead of running out of space or having to rent a less-than-secure storage locker, creating a schedule retention list and destroying the documents that are outdated keeps your documents safer.
What is a Retention Schedule?
A document retention schedule is part of the policy that tells your employees how to handle sensitive documents that go through your business. Whether these documents are employee HR files, trade secrets or banking records for the company, you have to keep all of them for a certain number of years. However, if you keep them too long, you’ll run out of space.
Instead of storing the documents off-site, create a document retention schedule and have a shredding company come out to destroy any documents that you are no longer required to keep. The retention schedule might include the name of the document, the date it was created or received by your office, and the date on which you can shred it. The schedule might also include any guidelines for how long you have to keep certain documents. For example, if you work in a tax office, you might have to keep some information for five years, while you need to keep other documents for up to ten years.
Risks of Not Having a Retention Schedule
If you don’t retain records, you could face legal action. And, if you retain the records, but they are stolen, you could also face legal action if someone’s identity is stolen. In fact, Morgan Stanley just had to pay $15 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission because it did not retain and produce emails that were related to several investigations. Even internet service providers must have a records retention policy.
When you combine a records retention policy with shredding services, you can meet government regulation in keeping records, and keep them safe under lock and key until you destroy them. When you destroy the records, use a professional shredding company to ensure that the records cannot be stolen from the trash.
You must be able to respond to a request rather quickly. Thus, if you don’t save paper documents, the electronic documents must be stored on a non-erasable drive and must be searchable. If you can’t find it, it’s the same as not having it. The best way to retain records is to keep a hard copy and a digital copy. If you send a digital copy and that file is questioned, you could always produce the paper copy. Since the paper copies do take up a lot of space, know how long you need to keep each type of record and shred it after its retention date expires.
Contact Royal Document Destruction
If you are no currently using shredding services, contact Royal Document Destruction to set up a shredding schedule for documents, hard drives, magnetic media and more. We provide locked shred boxes to keep old files in until we are scheduled to come out. This means that you don’t have to go rooting through filing cabinets to look for those files when we show up – as the file comes up on your retention schedule, locate it and put it into the locked shred box.