With the beginning of a new fiscal year on the immediate horizon for many, it reminds us that it’s time to clean up our books and our filing. And by that we mean both our digital and physical files! If you don’t already have a written document retention policy, one needs to be drafted. It should be tailored to your business needs and meet the requirements identified in local, state or federal laws and regulations that apply to your particular industry.
As a part of your document retention plan, you will establish a document retention schedule of what to keep and for how long. Once you have this identified, it’s time to dive into the files, both paper and electronic, to see what should be properly destructed.
It is critical that paper documents are either incinerated or shredded. Electronic files must be properly sanitized and purged. Purging can be accomplished a variety of secure erasing tools. A quick Google will turn up several free or low cost solutions. Clearing electronic data is often accomplished by overwriting existing data using software that incorporates a fixed sequence of characters.
Whatever the processes are that you elect to perform, it is imperative that you stick to the schedule and destroy your documents per your written guidelines in your document retention policy.
Thanks to Teresa West for this post.