Document Destruction – Tips for Creating a Document Destruction/Retention Policy
One of a business owner’s most sacred duties is to protect and secure the confidential data of his/her company, workers and clients. But doing so in a manner that is consistent with the law and that is truly effective takes a fair amount of planning. This is why we offer the following advice for implementing and maintaining systems and policies that protect confidential information.
· Create a Document Destruction and Retention Policy (DRP): Create a formal document so that the company’s document destruction/retention policies are legally compliant and clear to all employees and clients. The policy should include procedures for closing files, the designation of people who have access to confidential files, a schedule for the periodic review of files, etc.
· Select a point person or create an oversight committee: Assemble a team or appoint a person to help develop and oversee a comprehensive plan to handle your company’s confidential waste disposal and retention. Be sure to include departmental heads from IT, legal, etc., on the team.
· Decide which documents will be retained and which can be destroyed: Examples of corporate records that should be retained permanently include items such as a company’s Articles of Incorporation, fixed asset records, annual audits and financial statements, general ledgers, depreciation schedules, retirement and pension plan documents, etc. Items that are subject to confidential waste disposal include petty cash receipts/documents, bank deposit slips, employment applications, credit card receipts, etc.
· Set guidelines on destroying expired or useless data: Decide on how long to retain certain documents. For examples, bank deposit slips should generally be held for up to 7 years, employment applications for 3 years, etc.
· Consult with data management and IT personnel: This will ensure that all electronic/digital data is included in your program.
· Review state and federal rules: Address all applicable federal, state, and regulatory requirements regarding confidential waste disposal
· Train employees on the plan: Proper training leads to effective implementation of your plan. This will minimize the chance that costly errors will occur.
In short, an effective and legally compliant data destruction/retention policy takes careful planning. It takes a commitment to protect and secure your client and worker’s information. This is why the data security of your company should never be an afterthought. Secure Waste Disposal, Inc. can further strengthen your DRP by providing you with a safe and effective means to manage your data.