17. October 2006, 22:06 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

Which electronics records should you save; which are you required to save; and which should you delete? The retention of data or its permanent deletion are flip sides of a coin that all companies must increasingly deal with. Beyond legal and ethical considerations, it is also a critical storage and security issue for any IT department.

A recent survey had some startling numbers.

  • Only 18% of respondents use a method to delete data so that it is unrecoverable.
  • 49& of re-sold hard drives contained personal information.
  • 47% of re-sold hard drives contained corporate information.

The information left on the hard drives ranged from employee databases and business strategy documents to personal information regarding sexual proclivities.

A large number of companies can be found at the extremes of this issue - those that destroy everything they aren’t absolutely required to keep, and those that delete nothing and keep every last byte. There are some basic practices that if followed should form the core of an effective rention policy.

  1. Know your data and organize it well.
  2. Identify laws and regulations that affect your company and keep any relevant data as long as required.
  3. Retain any data that might be subject to legal investigation.
  4. Avoid creating high risk e-mail and memos.
  5. Educate employees on what data to keep.
  6. Be consistant and objective about the data you choose not to keep.
  7. Ensure that you are aware of why, what and where data was deleted and by whom.
  8. When deleting data, make sure you also delete all copies.
  9. When switching owners or decommissioning systems and hard srives wipe them of all contents.
  10. Ensure that all deleted data is indeed gone and unrecoverable.

While aimed at business, these guidelines can be extended to personal data management as well.

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Categories: ,
Keywords: retention,deletion,data,security,policy



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