Document retention and destruction – it’s complicated

Document retention and destruction – it’s complicated

Document retention and destruction – it’s complicatedThe importance of proper document management in companies is often overlooked-until things go wrong! That is why every company should have a solid document management policy and process.

Many companies focus primarily on securing information contained in important documents such as financial or legal documentation. However, many other documents may be equally important.

Think before you destroy

The careless destruction of documents can be just as detrimental as documents that fall into the wrong hands. In some cases, even destroying documents can be illegal. For example, if certain documents are destroyed during a dispute or in a situation where a dispute is likely to arise, it could be seen as obstruction of justice, which is a criminal offence.

Control document retention with scanners

An effective records management system by using of scanning technology means that documents can also be preserved and stored as original copies. The scanning of documents can speed up search time for documents. Another advantage of scanned documents is that the information can be date-stamped, and marked for automatic destruction when the retention period has lapsed.

The importance of retention and destruction policies

As companies rely more and more on electronic documents and the management thereof, it is important to implement document retention and destruction guidelines and policies. A written policy should be developed regarding electronic records management and should be applied consistently, throughout the organisation.

Document management guidelines

In order to create a system that is easy to manage, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure efficiency:

  • Implement intrusion detection systems so that you will be alerted on key phrases and when certain types of data are sent, for instance in encrypted emails.
  • Classify all documents that are scanned or electronically created. This enables the efficient automated allocation of documents by using criteria that reflect the content of the document.
  • Make use of techniques such as digital analysis for scanning data storage areas through classification as well as keywords. Document management and data warehousing software systems enable automated data searches.

It is important for companies to remain vigilant when it comes to their document management processes. If you’re unsure of your current processes it may be time to call the experts.