Legal compliance is impossible without a proper record retention program. This is because record retention is a substantive requirement of many legal mandates and compliance itself is measured using records as the basis of measurement.
The record retention policy (for manual or cloud backup) must specify maximum and minimum periods of retention for different kinds of documents. The organization must define a framework for implementing the policy. The minimum retention period for each type of document is specified in the relevant acts. The policy maker must ensure that the minimum period selected confirms to the highest minimum period that is prescribed among all the relevant and applicable federal and state acts. Consideration must also be given for time frames of retention for any contractual obligations, intellectual property obligations and statutes of limitation. These must then be harmonized with business considerations to arrive at an appropriate minimum period for retention. Maximum periods can be determined at the discretion of the organization depending on its storage resource capabilities, budgets and other factors.
Manual implementation of record retention policy is expensive. Implementation involves training and educating the manpower, evaluating the system capability and assigning and overseeing the process of maintenance. Update of information, retrieval of information and other processes associated with legal compliance becomes a horrendous task that can rob the enterprise of several productive man hours of work.
Cloud backup based record retention polices automate the process of storing and managing records in keeping with defined retention policies. The retention policy can be described as an input into the system which identifies and specifies what a functioning business record is. The policy definition can kick into action the moment records flow into the backup repository from the source. The records can be automatically categorized by the software application in accordance with the business definition of what the useful life of the record is.
Cloud backup based record retention policies can be closely aligned with record archival policies to ensure that clutter is constantly removed. Records can be categorized as active, historical and ready for archival based on the cloud backup date stamp on the record. Archival policies can be input into the cloud backup software to ensure that records that are no longer required are archived. For instance, all data bearing a particular date stamp or specific types of file extensions can be automatically marked ready for archival on the basis of pre-defined criteria. The archived data can be transferred to cheaper disks or tapes and shipped back to the enterprise for storage in their physical storage vaults. This will free up expensive storage space for active and retained records of the organization.