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Crash Course: Records Retention Schedules

Businesses generate a lot of documents. A lot. From financial records, legal documents, contracts, emails, projects, proposals, and more there’s a ton of stuff to keep track of.

And there’s a fine line between hoarding documents and maintaining the proper records to stay organized and responsible. No one wants to be asked where an important record is only to discover it was thrown out years ago. But there’s also no need to clutter your office or increase your liability with excess paper.

So how can you most efficiently manage your business’s records? Well, if you find yourself wondering where your records are or why you have so many papers lying around, then it might be time to revamp your records retention schedule.

What is a records retention schedule?

The documents your organization keeps on hand for an extended period of time are the records it retains. When you strategically plan which records you keep, how long you keep them, and how you securely destroy them using shredding services, you have a record retention schedule.

The record retention schedule dictates the entire life cycle of a document in your business. From a document’s creation to destruction, everything your organization produces follows a unique production, retention, and destruction path designed by you and a security partner like DataShield.

Developing an efficient and secure record retention schedule is not only a key piece of a successful records management strategy, it’ll protect you from potential legal issues. Since nearly every organization handles sensitive information from those inside and outside the business like financial and personal data you must have a schedule to manage it.

According to federal regulations, you have a duty to protect the private information your organization holds. And as those regulations change and evolve over the years, it’s best to keep your records straight—just in case.

How do I make a comprehensive records retention schedule?

Your records retention schedule needs to outline what records need to be kept, how long to keep different types of documents, how to destroy unneeded documents with a shredding service, and how to organize everything. Organization is especially key. If your employees can’t find what they need, then what’s the point of keeping records in the first place?

As record-keeping becomes more complex to include both paper and electronic documents, it’s a good idea to ask experts to help you plan and organize your retention schedule and records management. DataShield will assist in organizing your documents across multiple platforms and help you decide when to discard old or unneeded documents. Additionally, DataShield can securely and professionally destroy both paper and electronic records with our top-of-the-line paper and data shredding services.

DataShield is equipped to advise your HR, finance, and legal teams to determine the best plan of action to keep your important information safe and organized for years to come. Categorize types of documents, create timelines for destruction and establish all the policies you need to have a compliant records retention plan. This strategy will keep your company protected as well as save your employees time. Contact DataShield today to create a customized records retention schedule that fits the needs of your business.

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