Iron Mountain Physical Content Classification Services

Solution Guides

Like most, you have legacy inventory stored both in-house and with vendors that is not classified to your current retention schedule nor being retained according to legal, regulatory or business requirements

September 1, 20226 mins
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The road to defensible disposition

Business challenge

Many organizations continue to store records that they have no legal or business requirement to keep. In fact, over 85% of Iron Mountain customers have records with insufficient metadata to classify and determine disposition. Additionally, many businesses struggle to implement records management policies to existing inventory. These factors result in ever-increasing storage costs and litigation risk.

How this affects you:

  • You may have trouble finding what you need and experience increasing discovery costs if your records are poorly indexed.
  • You could be paying more than necessary for storage if records not classified to your retention schedule cannot be destroyed.
  • You risk creating compliance gaps if older records are not managed according to policy.
  • You won't be able to make informed decisions about use of space if you don't have business insights about your inventory.

What if you could:

  • Search quickly and accurately for your information?
  • Classify and defensibly destroy the records you no longer need?
  • Easily reconcile your legacy records to your retention schedule?


In order to determine disposition, a record must be classified to a managed Records Retention Schedule and checked against active preservation orders. Iron Mountain's comprehensive classification solutions utilize cost-efficient and data-driven processes to the furthest extent possible, and employ physical inspection for the remainder.

Three steps to efficiently implement your records management program

How it works

Step 1: Content classification

Built on decades of experience and data analytics, the Content Classification solution combines data from multiple sources, a repository of over 80,000 classification rules, and the expertise of a team of Information Governance professionals to classify your inventory to your Records Retention Schedule.

As part of this cost-effective solution, Iron Mountain will:

  • Ingest metadata from any available source
  • Assess metadata to create classification rules to assign the appropriate record class for each carton
  • Review with you to verify classification rules and record class assignment
  • Calculate destruction to identify cartons immediately eligible for destruction, and forecast future eligibility

Step 2: Physical classification

Where there is missing or insufficient metadata to classify boxes using our automated tools, Iron Mountain's Professional Services teams are deployed to "lift the lid" and gather the information needed to bring the remaining records into compliance. This service can be provided at Iron Mountain records centers or your own field offices, and encompasses:

  • A physical inspection of the contents of each box to capture the metadata necessary for full compliance
  • An assessment of content per your retention schedule and legal hold parameters
  • An audit for mixed record types and separation of differing records when necessary
  • A quality assurance comparison of box contents and collected metadata
  • Triage of boxes for your review, approval, and final disposition

Step 3: Final disposition and implementation

Your legacy records inventory is classified, organized, and identified for final disposition, per your custom specifications:

  • Confidential and defensible shredding of eligible boxes
  • Calculated and scheduled future destruction for boxes remaining in storage
  • Further processing of specific subsets if desired: File-level indexing or digitization

Your Iron Mountain accounts are updated to systematically administer your records management policies:

  • Implement your Records Retention Schedule and accurately calculate destruction eligibility dates
  • Assign and enable legal preservation orders
  • Enforce metadata requirements for new records inventory


After classification, records can be destroyed in a legally defensible manner when they reach the end of their retention period. Active records now have enough metadata to facilitate searches and enable future destruction. Critical records can be identified for digitization or file-level indexing.

Utilizing Iron Mountain's classification services, either individually or in tandem, results in reduced overall storage at Iron Mountain records centers, your own offices, and other storage facilities. You'll know exactly which records can be immediately and eventually destroyed through extensive destruction eligibility reporting, infographics, and ROI Modeling.

Our comprehensive classification solutions are appropriate for organizations that want to reduce their legacy records inventory stored at Iron Mountain or elsewhere, reduce the amount of expensive office space used to store documents on premise, or consolidate holdings among multiple vendors into a single user-friendly inventory management system. For organizations moving towards a paperless future, the reduced corpus of fully-indexed content lowers the costs of digitization and storage.

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