How long should I keep documents for?
Document Retention Guide: Most businesses are required by law to retain confidential client information, along with employee or company data, for a minimal amount of time.
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In this PDF we show you the minimum time to keep documents for.
Most businesses are required by law to retain confidential client information, along with employee or company data, for a minimal amount of time. But many types of documents eventually outlive their purpose, and holding on to them too long puts you at risk of a security breach and non-compliance with today’s privacy legislation.
The length of time you should hold business records for is determined by a retention schedule that balances each record’s usefulness with the legal requirements. To some degree, this will depend on your type of business, and the life cycle of specific documents.
What to do when documents are past retention date:
To determine a retention schedule for each type of document, you should also check the legal minimum time to store documents to ensure your plan is in line with legislation. You can then create a secure destruction schedule for those documents to reduce risks associated with data breaches.
From a risk-management perspective, once you have agreed on a time period to retain each document, the only acceptable way to discard your documents is to make sure they are irreversibly destroyed. Shredding is a legal requirement for many types of documents, and onsite shredding is the safest policy. With a professional shredding firm, you will receive a Certificate of Destruction that specifies the exact date and method used to destroy your documents.
How can Topwood Help?
To help you create the right retention schedule for your business, the above PDF supplies a list of documents that contain confidential information, along with the recommended retention period for each type in accordance with certain legal requirements. These recommendations on document retention are general guidelines only. They are not intended to represent legal advice. Contact your legal expert(s) or council to ensure you are following current legal requirements.