In today’s era, data is one of the top resources for various companies in the business sector. Not only that, but personal data is also precious for customers and other individuals. Different laws require companies to protect valuable data.
A key thing that plays an integral role in maintaining information is a retention policy. You may also have heard about it by its other name: records retention policy. If not, you’ve come to the right platform. Here is what you need to know about it.
Retention Policy: A Brief Definition
As the name suggests, a retention policy is a protocol that can help your company retain data. Typically, this is essential for operational and compliance purposes. The top thing about this policy is that it enables you to target various needs.
For instance, it determines what information you must hold on to and in which format. It also allows you to decide how long you should store the data. Additionally, the policy is also helpful for determining whether the information should be archived or deleted after a specific period.
Besides that, a policy allows you to assign authority by choosing who can dispose of the data. Lastly, it provides guidelines about what should happen if someone violates the policy.
How To Maintain The Best Retention Policy?
Many practices can help maintain an excellent retention policy for data safekeeping. Here are the top tips that can help you with this aim:
- Always Research
You should first understand that your policy should cover all aspects of legal regulations. This is because various organizations have placed different requirements on companies. For instance, the US’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that employers must keep information records for at least three years.
So all companies in the US need to have a policy that states that you can dispose of or archive data after three years. Of course, you can also extend this time depending on your company regulations.
- Determine Your Company Needs
When writing a retention policy, you should first consider the legal requirements. After that, your focus should be on developing a protocol that streamlines your company processes. This is why you must understand your business needs completely.
- Use Simple Language
One of the top things you should ensure is that your retention policy is easily understandable. This is why it is always best to use simple language instead of complicated terms. After all, employees can only comply with something properly if they understand it.
- Create Different Policies
The critical thing you should note is that the company does not need to have one retention policy. You should develop different protocols depending on the data type. This is because one rule does not consider all pieces of information.
For instance, you may be required by the law to keep specific data for two years. However, the FLSA in the US requires you to keep information for three years. This means that you must follow both rules.