This is perhaps one of the most-asked questions in all of records management. Too often I hear one of two, equally bad answers: Keep Records for Seven years: This seems to be the de facto answer, especially for financial services records. As near as I can tell, this comes from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service rules around when they can audit individual and corporate tax returns. If you've heard another original story for why we should keep all records for seven years, please share, and I'll update this post. Keep Records Forever: This generally is presented as one of four arguments: Just in case we get sued (or for some other legal reason) There's gold in them thar records! Analytics! AI! BIG DATA!!! Storage is cheap, figuring out what we can get rid of is not. Storage is cheap, penalties for getting rid of records inappropriately aren't.
If your organization is like just about every other organization on the planet, you likely have some degree of an information management problem. Most likely, you create too much information, and you keep too much of it for too long. This causes enough problems by itself, but when you then add to the pile all the redundant, obsolete, and trivial (ROT) information you have in your systems, on your file shares, and in every other possible location, it’s a real nightmare. And it’s expensive – in terms of storage costs, in time to find information, in resources, and, sometimes, in fines and legal penalties.
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Allow me to introduce you to Wendy McLain, Manager of Enterprise Content & Records Management at Valero. Valero is a publicly-traded international oil and gas company, with revenue in the billions of dollars. Wendy will be presenting at The AIIM Conference 2018. Her session is called "How We Learned to Love Event-Based Retention: A Valero Energy Case Study in Records Management." I thought this would be a great time to catch up with Wendy and ask her some questions.
All too often, businesses discover the need for a document retention policy either when it is least convenient to implement or too late in the game. Particularly in today’s litigious environment where virtually any form of information (paper, electronic, or audio) can be used in litigation, being proactive in this regard can save an organization from headaches and high costs. An organizational retention policy provides for the systematic review, retention, and destruction of information and records received or created in the course of business. Below are eight items to consider when developing your company’s retention policy.