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How to Develop a Strong Data Retention Policy

By October 29, 2019 No Comments
data retention policy

If you have a strong data retention policy, then you can easily manage your business records. These documents can be stored in different groups according to your business operations. A strong data retention policy will help you in establishing record classes more accurately. Hence, you can easily track your business records.

A data retention policy is a very important step in protecting and managing your business data to avoid any financial, criminal and civil penalties. There are various international, federal, state and local policies, laws and rules that already specify what type of data your business can retain. There are also many industry-imposed regulations which you have to follow. All these bodies specify what type of data should be stored and maintained.

Benefits of having a strong data retention policy:

  • Remove duplicated and outdated data

If you have a strong data retention policy, then you can easily remove outdated or duplicated files from your storage. Hence, you won’t get confused due to duplicate files.

  • You can save more space

If you are storing data in your own server, then you can’t expand your storage capacity easily. But, you can always remove the outdated and duplicate files to create more room for new files. Even if you are using a cloud storage provider, then you can keep your cost lower by deleting outdated files before the migration process. Hence, you can save a lot of money by creating a strong data retention policy.

The size of any business data is increasing every day. Also, the complexity of data is increasing in today’s digital environment. There are also many regulations that you have to follow. If you have a strong data retention policy, then you can save a lot of your storage space.

Your data retention policy is mostly going to depend on your industry type. It will also depend on your state and country. You have to follow the federal laws of your state. Thus, data retention policies are going to vary from state to state. But, there are some steps that are universal to the data retention policy. These guidelines will help you in developing a strong data retention policy that can easily be updated, maintained and followed.

  1. Build your Development Team

It is important to first build a development team that is going to work on your data retention policy. Make sure to include your accounting professional and legal team. Also, make sure to include all the people within your business who works with your data. Both, your IT department head and accounting manager should work together while creating the data retention policy. Below are some members that must be in your data retention policy team:

  • Legal team
  • IT department
  • Supervisors and Department managers
  • Anyone who manages or receives financial reports
  • Employees that are generating your financial reports
  1. Create a Universal Retention Schedule

Every business unit in your company should have the same retention schedule. This will make sure that all your data is stored in a unified way. Your retention schedule should be created in such a way that your system will already categorize similar records into the same group. This will improve the consistency of your data. It will also become easy to manage your data.

  1. Identify all the regulations and applicable statutes

There are various different data regulations for every industry. You have to make sure that your data retention policy is following all the data regulations. Consult with your business lawyer regarding regulations and applicable statutes. Some of the common regulatory acts and bodies are:

  • If your business is related to the healthcare industry, then you have to follow the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).
  • Businesses linked to the financial industry, then you have to follow SOX or Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
  • If your business is located in the United States, then you have to follow the Internal Revenue Service. It is applicable to every business.
  • If located in any EU country, then you have to follow GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation. This regulation is also applicable to every business.
  1. Develop your Data Retention Policy

It is important to write down your policy in a well-organized manner. This document should be accessible to all your employees. A data retention policy must include these sections:

  • Purpose of your policy
  • Applicable laws and regulations
  • Data Deletion and Retention Schedule
  • Litigation plan
  • Update and Review schedule
  1. Make sure your employees know about your data retention policy

According to a survey by Beta News, more than 60% of employees believe that their company doesn’t have any policy regarding data retention. Most of the employees are not aware of their organization data retention policies. You have to make sure that all your employees know about your data retention policy. You can also invite some of your employees in the data retention policy meetings. This will help them in understanding the various different aspects of your policy. Also, make sure that all your employees have a copy of your policy. You can also conduct review sessions and regular training for your employees. This will make sure that your employees are up-to-date with your data retention policy.

Conclusion

It is very important to have a strong data retention policy. A strong data retention policy will help you in saving a lot of storage space and money. After developing your data retention policy, you have to make sure that it is fully implemented. All your employees must stay up-to-date with your latest data retention policy. Any updates or changes must be properly communicated thoroughly in your company. If you are still worried about your data retention policy, then you can contact Bleuwire experts. They will help you in creating a strong data retention policy.

Contact us today to learn about Bleuwire™  services and solutions in how we can help your business.

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