Every company has to deal with record keeping. Here we will take you through the keep-all strategy for document management and provide solutions to the issue of risking confidential documents. We go over the how to build and organize a record retention policy that works so you can decrease risk and increase productivity.
“Records management is knowing what you have, where you have it, and how long you have to keep it.” – Rich Lauwers
What Are Information Governance Programs?
Information governance (IG) programs establish legal retention requirements for different types of information.
As one example, laws like HIPAA include retention periods that suspend destruction of information and health records that could be important to investigation or litigation during the time they’re required to be held.
What Are Keep-All Policies?
To comply with all retention and IG requirements, keep-all policies have been the common risk-aversion approach for businesses.
Facing risks for litigation, many companies feel urged to keep everything, and while it does keep them protected during the retention time, rapidly growing volumes of information leads to trouble down the road.
Implications of Keep-All Policies
Using a keep-all policy as a safety net to fall back on is an understandable and frequent reaction to retention laws. The danger of this though is without regular destruction, it can result in other risks and side-effects, including:
- Increased storage costs
- Overall operational inefficiencies
- More opportunities for data theft
- Slower retrieval times and potential noncompliance with discovery laws during litigation
Current Information Governance Statistics
Information management is crucial to businesses, but implementing retention and IG policies can sometimes have roadblocks – only 36% of businesses have cross-functional collaboration throughout their company.
Transitioning to an IG program in place of keep-all policies requires all of an organization’s information-related departments to coordinate and work together to manage and maintain the new program.
Strategies for Adding and Managing IG
- Start by replacing keep-all policies with retention schedules and programs
- Get organized to ensure a smooth IG operations process across the company
- Emphasize employee engagement and training
- Follow up by regularly checking on and auditing your IG policies
Swap Keep-All for Retention Policies
The goal of most organizations’ IG programs is to create a retention schedule that can be easily and effectively used for records.
Retention policies should separate records into different categories with set retention schedules for each, and use categories that apply to the broadest types of information—47% of businesses see 100 or less as ideal.
Within those categories, it’s recommended you get rid of conditional retention times in your policies to help keep things consistent as well.
Make Organization the Priority
Increasing volumes of data in business now requires better IG strategies. When you get rid of a keep-all policy, here’s tips for keeping the program simple:
- Include considerations for quick retrieval and access
- Conduct regular employee training on current IG policies and practices
- Ensure destruction after retention is uniform and routine to establish consistent work habits
- Remove conditional and event-based retention periods to limit risk of disposing files early or keeping too long
- Consider storage options like document management system (DMS) software, which can track retention automatically
Employee Engagement and Training
There tends to be a disconnect between employees and their managers about engaging in retention and IG policies.
To help get workers on board, regularly educate them on current IG components—emphasizing their benefits to day-to-day operations, the company, and customers.
Audit Your Policies and Programs
When performance is measured, it often improves. Auditing your program with regular assessments and improvements to IG compliance should include monitoring:
- The overall volume of information being retained, kept for legal requirements, and destroyed
- How storage locations designed and designated to retain the specific type of information are being used
- How many employees, information management professionals, and management are attending IG training
With those your can also monitor derived metrics, such as:
- Increased awareness organization-wide
- Costs savings
- Risk mitigation
Ready to Add a Retention and IG Policy?
Shred Nations can help you find a retention program that works. Call us today at (800) 747-3365 or fill out the form on the right for free quotes on document shredding and record retention program services. Get organized with help from qualified professionals.