Answers to Your Document Retention Questions

In the shredding business, document retention is one topic we’re frequently asked about. In this blog post, we’ve highlighted the most frequently-asked document retention questions from our clients. We hope this helps you understand your own document retention requirements and devise an effective retention and disposal strategy.

Question: Why do I need a document retention policy?

Answer: Every business that collects information from its clients and employees must have a document retention policy. It helps protect your organization from litigation and your customers and employees from identity theft.

Question: How long do I keep my documents?

Answer: It depends on your administrative needs, your industry, and the laws that affect your business. You should always consult with your attorney to make sure your retention policy matches your legal obligations.

Question: What’s the best way to protect my retention inventory?

Answer: Avoid boxing them up and stacking them in a storage room where anyone can access them—and where fire, flooding, mold, mildew, and insects have the potential to damage them. They should be kept in a climate-controlled secure storage facility featuring strictly controlled and monitored access and built to protect against damage and disasters. Consider using a records storage service to protect and preserve your retention inventory. Your records are barcoded and tracked in a secure records centre equipped with the following systems:

  • 24-hour security surveillance
  • Controlled card key access
  • State-of-the-art alarm system with monitoring

Access to the records centre is limited to background-screened records management professionals.

Question: When should I destroy my documents?

Answer: A document retention policy should have final disposition dates for the secure disposal of records that are no longer needed. Final disposition dates can vary depending on the nature of your documents and your company’s corporate governance and legal obligations. When your documents have reached the end of their retention lifecycle, you should always use a NAID AAA Certified shredding service to make sure they are destroyed securely and in accordance with provincial and federal privacy laws. Your shredding provider should give you a Certificate of Destruction documenting the day and time of destruction.

Question: Should I review my document retention policy?

Answer: Yes, you should regularly review your document retention policy to make sure it adheres to your growing administrative needs and changing legislative requirements.

Question: Do I also need a data retention policy?

Answer: Yes, as with a document retention policy, a data retention policy helps your business comply with legislative requirements and industry regulations regarding digital records. Managing your digital records, emails, customer data and financial data helps ensure your business is legally compliant, legally protected, and can recover from catastrophic data loss.

Question: How do I make sure my electronic records are disposed of securely?

Answer: Deleting electronic records from tapes and hard drives doesn’t prevent identity theft and business fraud. The only way to keep your data private is to completely destroy it. A digital media shredding service uses specialized mobile media destruction vehicles to reduce tapes and hard drives to bits and pieces in a matter of minutes. On a scheduled or as-needed basis, obsolete digital media is collected from your office by a background-screened shredding technician and shredded on-site in a mobile shredding vehicle.

Do you have a document retention question we haven’t answered here? Please let us know so we can answer it for you! 

Shred Guard provides NAID AAA Certified shredding and destruction services for businesses throughout Atlantic Canada. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

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