The destruction of documents is an important element of the records management system of any business. In addition to reducing the sheer number of physical files that must be stored as well as the associated costs, routinely destroying documents reduces a company’s risk of liability from a privacy breach. When it comes to personal records, the law requires companies to destroy documents in a number of situations. While the process should be simple, many companies end up in hot water for not destroying sensitive personal data as proscribed by law. The following will outline some of the most common types of information that companies overlook during their document destruction process.

 Call Logs and Notebooks

A large number of companies record personal information of clients, customers, and employees on a routine basis. Employees often end up creating sensitive notes without even being aware of it. For some reason, however, these companies do not include these notes during their document destruction process, especially if the notes are particularly old and do not contain information that is relevant to current business. It is best to implement company-wide policies to dispose of all sensitive documents, including employee notes, after they have served their purpose.

 Copies of Files related to Projects

Many projects that companies take on involve a number of different individuals who are granted access to project-specific documents. Because many of these files include personal information, employees are hesitant to throw them away upon conclusion of the project. When your company destroys the master documents relating to a project, send out a notice to all involved personnel that any copies of project documents or related material should be destroyed, as well. Bake this practice into company policy.

Documents Stored on Other Devices

An increasing number of businesses are offering mobile devices for staff to utilize for work at the office, on the road, and at home. In many cases, it is impossible to avoid sensitive documents from being stored on these devices during the regular course of work. Only in rare cases do companies require that any document on a mobile device be “synced” with their general network file storage, which would ensure that when a file is deleted from a central server, any copies of the information are deleted from all connected mobile devices, as well. To greatly reduce the risk of any problems associated with documents on mobile devices, it is advisable to create clear and easily understood policies regarding the storage and destruction of records and data and to make sure that these devices are regularly “scrubbed” by IT workers.

Call an Experienced File Management Company

While the processes of business document storage, management, and destruction should be simple, they rarely are. If you have questions or concerns about your business’s record destruction policy, you should consider obtaining the services of a file management company. Contact Armstrong Archives today to learn how we can help meet your needs.

Sherri Taylor

Posted By: Sherri Taylor – President/Managing Partner

Sherri Taylor is the Managing Partner and President of Armstrong Archives, one of the largest independent records and information management companies in the Dallas/Ft Worth area.

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