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How to Integrate Document Destruction into your Records Management Program

Each of us has “pack rat” tendencies, whether due to over sentimentality or a chronic procrastination.   No matter if it's trinkets or clothing, we hold on to items that have long outlived their purposefulness.  Businesses are often the worst offenders, stockpiling documents that have outlived required retention periods.

This practice of holding onto files is frequently justified with the following:  “When I get rid of it, that’s when I’m going to need it.”  Or often the example of Arthur Anderson shredding of Enron documents is cited as a far worse practice.  Indeed, obstruction of justice is hard to argue against.   Yet failure to shred business documents in a timely manner exposes your business to otherwise preventable risks.

Final disposal is a key component of records retention

Records retention is critical within any organisation.  Documents must be identified, organised, stored and preserved for defined periods of time to support corporate governance and compliance objectives.   Procedures and guidelines should be set to control the access and retrieval of files.   Similarly, systems should be put in place to prevent exposure of confidential information.  Timely disposal of documents at the end of the retention life cycle is also important and yet is a critical records management function that often neglected.

Why in-house records management often fails

Boxes of documents and files that sit idly on a shelf in a storage room without proper oversight can easily outlive a designated retention period.   This is not uncommon for companies that attempt to store and manage their business records onsite.   Whether due to oversight or for a need to err on the safe side, this is a risky practice.   Any documents that have not been shredded at the end of their retention period create unnecessary litigation risks or even violated privacy statutes.    Additionally, even expired records may contain confidential information that may fall victim to unauthorised exposure.

The advantages of professionally managed document storage and shredding

Without the proper resources, expertise and systems, storing and managing a collection of archival business records is both challenging and risky.  A professional document storage and management solution not only enhances security and organisation of a record inventory but also ensures that documents are destroyed at the end of the retention lifecycle.   Barcode tracking combined with inventory management technology allows for constant monitoring of retention periods to meet regulatory and legal requirements regarding final deposition.

Day to day paper work that may contain confidential information should also have a monitored and verifiable disposal process.  Again, a records and information management specialist can help by offering a secure system that enables secure disposal of documents and files.   Professional shredding and destruction facilitates regular and easy disposal of business records through the strategic placement of shred collection container within your office facilities.   The right vendor can offer a variety of solutions to meet your specific needs, including:

  • onsite mobile shredding
  • offsite plant shredding
  • scheduled destruction
  • one time purge collections

Docu-Dépôt provides professional records management and storage solutions to companies throughout Montréal and Québec. To find out more, please contact us by phone or fill in the form on this page.

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