Evaluate Your Retention Schedule by Answering These Questions

Topics: Govern Information | Information management: Best Practice Guides | Information Management: New Thinking

Before you modernize, you need to understand your current retention schedule's merits and drawbacks. Ask these questions to evaluate your program before starting to modernize

You've got a well-planned retention schedule—and you make it work. There's buy-in from across the organization and backing from the C-suite to boot. Mission accomplished, right?

Not so fast. Which of the following laments do you or others in your firm have about your current records retention program?

  • The explosion of mobile-device data makes it hard to capture email records for compliance purposes. (Just ask Wall Street firms that were felled by email missives around the beginning of the millennium.)
  • Compliance mandates are multiplying faster than ants on a picnic blanket, putting new burdens on your RIM team.
  • Your granular approach to collecting records-retention parameters now seems restrictive. If you're not working to modernize your approach, you're falling behind, and there you'll stay, always trailing behind the latest regulatory changes.

The State of Retention: Four Essential Questions

Before you take steps to modernize your program, evaluate your records retention schedule by asking these questions.

#1: Just what is a record, anyway?

Too easy, right? Maybe not. Much like the regulations governing them, records—and what makes them so—are constantly evolving.

Most companies base their retention schedules around core business technology. But what about:

  • Personal email accounts?
  • Social media and blog posts?
  • Recordings of videoconferences?
  • Company data stored on employees' mobile phones?

All of these content types have risen in prominence and now contain vital pieces of information that you must protect(in some cases by law). Look for a partner who can help you sort through such information,then evaluate and prioritize it no matter its form or source. Then you can work together to develop a classification scheme to keep your retention schedule ontrack.

#2: Who's(really) the boss?

Once upon a time, the RIM team ruled the information realm. But these days, IT may try to run the show: Your techie colleagues may deploy tools and tap cloud services to keep up with your firm's dizzying and ever-growing amounts of information.

The reality is: Without a flexible and dynamic way to update retention schedules, even the best IT operation will be hard pressed to bring order to the volume of information under its organization's "roof." To keep your retention schedule up to speed, IT should look for ways to collaborate with your RIM specialist. Keep in mind that content stakeholders lend an important voice to the chorus, identifying which information is critical for their department and how long it must be retained.

#3:Are you still chasing paper?

Legacy physical records still matter: Just ask anyone who's been caught without the right information during a compliance request. But it's actually skyrocketing levels of electronically stored information (ESI) that's driving the critical need for updated retention schedules. Be sure to your retention requirements and policies address ESI .

#4: Are you running ahead of the ESI tsunami?

Manual-update retention schedules can be cumbersome to manage on your own—and why would you want to, given the innovation solutions that are available in the marketplace today that make the process easier? Let a trusted partner:

  • Systematize the collection, curation, distribution, and validation of retention rules
  • Improve collaboration among RIM specialists, IT staff and stakeholders across the organization

There's no getting around it: If your retention schedules fail to keep up with the pace of information flow, your organization will soon become overwhelmed. With the right partner—and the right tools—you can accelerate the modernization of your organization's retention schedule while saving valuable staff hours, lowering costs and becoming even more efficient.

Do you have questions about records and information management? Read additional Knowledge Center stories on this subject, or contact Iron Mountain's Information Management team. You'll be connected with a knowledgeable product and services specialist who can address your specific challenges.


Records Management Solution Brief
Records Management Solution Brief

Topics: Govern Information

With Iron Mountain Records Management services, you'll have the resources you need to effectively store and safeguard your information assets, and make them easily accessible to individuals across your organization.