4 Misconceptions about Records Storage and Retention

Posted on July 26, 2016

By now, we don’t need to tell you the importance of having an iron-clad records management plan. Whether you have paper documentation or e-copies (or a combination of both), anything saved is discoverable—a hard pill to swallow, especially if you’ve been faced with a security breach. Plus, a solid records retention strategy in place will help ensure you don’t prematurely toss out documents or hang on to information longer then you need to.

Sad but true, many businesses still use inadequate records retention procedures that are based in misperceptions. Here are some common retention myths to help bring your records retention program up to date.

1. Records storage: Do I have to keep my records forever.

While it is true that records storage periods vary, holding on to your records indefinitely is not necessary. In fact, keeping files longer than you have to can not only put you in legal risk, but also increases your storage needs—costs that can add up over time. Remember, as long as they have passed the specified retention period, it is completely legal to destroy your records.

2. Electronic records are not real records.

More and more businesses are taking the digital road, opting for an increasingly paperless environment. But thinking that electronic media storage is not as important as paper retention could come back to haunt you down the road. So, just like paper documentation, electronic records need to be retained by your business.

3. I can destroy all my records after seven years.

I am sure most of you are familiar with the seven-year guideline. However don’t be fooled into thinking this rule-of- thumb applies across the board. It is going to depend on specific guidelines and various industry standards. In some cases, you may have to retain your records longer than seven years. In other cases, it may be less.

4. My old records have historical value.

As much as you may want to believe it, not all of your records have historical value. Unnecessarily hanging on to a growing stack of ancient documents, thinking that they hold some value to your business, is only going to add up to more storage expenses.

If this sounds like you, maybe it’s time to rethink your approach to retention.

Ditching your misconceptions about records retention and incorporating accurate ones will help your business become more efficient and keep you safe from legal risks.

For the most complete records management storage, contact us today!