Data Retention Best Practices: Are You Keeping Up?

Keep Your Files Organized with These Data Retention Best Practices

With mass amounts of data circulating through every business, regulating data retention is essential. Businesses are facing the challenge of managing increasing amounts of data, all while ensuring access to that data is secure. Some documents need to be maintained for normal business needs; others need to be kept for legal compliance. Nonetheless, the key to data retention best practices is knowing the proper lifecycle of your organization’s data.

Legal Factors

First and foremost, determine the minimum legal requirements for data retention. Even information that may seem old or irrelevant to your organization may need to be retained to comply with the laws of your industry. Make sure you do your research before tossing aside any valuable information. For example, HIPPA compliance states no minimum retention requirement, but defers to requirements set forth by each state.

Classes of Data

Next, you need to determine how long to keep different types of records for internal business purposes. Is the data at hand critical for business operations? Is the information required to properly serve clients? In accordance with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) most public companies need to retain financial documents for seven years, while payroll documents only need to be retained for three. Consult with corporate legal counsel to ensure proper compliance, then map out relevant data lifespans and their accompanying degree of necessary protection.

Proper Data Storage

Safely storing sensitive data is essential to proper document protection practices. The threat of security breaches is only continuing to grow with technological advancements. Proper protection lays not only in where you decide to keep your data, but who has access to it. All businesses should have proper access controls/level of permissions for employee access to files so that each employee only has access to the data they need to get their job done. We also recommend logging who opens/closes/saves files so that you can reference that information should you have a security incident. IND Corporation is skilled in assessing your business and developing a customized solution to data retention. With proper data storage, system backups and disaster recovery are simplified and secure.

Clean Up

After you’ve assessed your business and made necessary retention decisions, it’s time to purge your network of bulky files. Records that have expired or are no longer useful should be safely expelled from your system. Cluttering your network with unnecessary information will interfere with organization, proper updates, and document management as well as increase your file storage costs.

To learn more data retention strategies, or for personalized assessment of your own business practices, reach out to the team at IND Corporation today. We’ll look at your network with a comprehensive approach to ensure you fall in line with data retention best practices.