Do you feel frustrated while searching for something really important in the massive junk of data? How often did you end up wasting your precious time in which you could’ve performed some wonders? Ahh, we know your response.


Be it physical documents or digital data, we often struggle to find the important stuff that’s hidden in the immaterial dump. This dump is nothing but the stuff we do not organize and dispose of after its use.


And, guess what? Your individual problem is a minute version of the gigantic struggle faced by large organizations which deal in huge data every single day.


So, what’s the solution? Data retention! And how?


Let’s understand with this blog.


What is Data Retention?

When organizations retain/store information for a certain period, it refers to data retention. It aids in eliminating useless data and holding back only the important ones. Predominantly, it is helpful for the businesses that store data for catering to their customers. Compliance with the legal and regulatory requirements is also the primary motive of data retention.


What is a Data Retention Policy? What should form part of a Data Retention Policy?

Data retention policy is a standard protocol that an organization follows to control data storage. Where and how to store the information? How long must you hold it? How and when should you dispose of it once it is used? These are the questions that are answered in a data retention policy.


Things That a Data Retention Policy Should Include:

A standard policy essentially covers the below aspects:

  • The purpose of retaining information and its scope
  • Source of information
  • Defines the concerned users
  • Defines relevant legal and regulatory requirements to maintain the data
  • Stipulate the format and the time span to keep a particular class of information
  • Sets rules for protecting the privacy of customer data and other data during retention
  • Prescribes guidelines for backup, compliance, breach, and enforcement

As Marie Dressler, a renowned Canadian artist, quoted, “Only a few things are really important”. Thus, it is essential to have a comprehensive and well-drafted data retention policy that accommodates the organization’s goals.


Why Is It Important to Have a Data Retention Policy?

In the absence of a data retention policy, businesses face operational inefficiencies like increased storage costs, time wastage, increased security risks, etc. Having a robust data-retention policy not only safeguards the operational interests of your business but also fetches manifold benefits to you.


Benefits of having a Data Retention Policy

1) Automated Compliance

An established policy ensures automated regulatory compliance to the laws that command retention of data of different forms.


2) Assists Easy Access to Data

The policy ensures well-organized and segregated data. This makes the data handy to use and provides hassle-free access.


3) Secures Data

Higher the data means higher the security threat. Cyber thieves constantly keep an eye on and try to snatch every single piece of your database. Data retention policy minimizes data storage and promises improved data security. When you store lesser information, you reduce the criminal interests and security risks.


4) Minimizes Costs of Storage

Eliminating the irrelevant data helps you to maintain less but important data. This, in turn, enables you to lower the costs of storage that you otherwise would have incurred.


5) Mitigates Legal Risks and Exposure

Your inability to produce the right information at the right time may lead your organization to legal troubles. Imposing fines and penalties, litigations, assessments, etc., are some of them. A proper data retention policy correctly defines the density of the relevant information to be stored. This aids in presenting the right data to the regulatory authorities as and when required. Thus, reduces the chances of your organization getting penalized.


How to Develop a Data Retention Policy

Creating a retention policy is not a tough nut to crack. Rather, it’s easy for many organizations to manage to develop their policy internally. At the same time, a large number of them outsource the policy development and implementation process.



If your organization is among the first cases, follow the steps mentioned below to create an effective policy:


1. Form a Technical Team and Allocate Responsibility to Create the Policy

You need a whole dedicated team to put efforts into developing a strong data-retention policy. Hence, the very first step is to form a dedicated team of IT experts and designate responsibilities. This way, you would ensure the timely and effective creation of your data retention policy.


2. Recognize the Legal and Regulatory Requirements

As mentioned in the beginning, compliance with the legal and regulatory requirements is the primary motive of data retention.Hence, identifying the regulatory requirements upfront is crucial as it will form the base of the policy.


It must satisfy or surpass the requirements defined in the laws and regulations that apply to the organization. This step sets the foundation pillars for developing an effective policy.


3. Identify the Business Requirements

Many businesses run significantly on their database. Particularly, the company that works in the digital domain caters to the customers based on data analytics. Thus, you should carefully outline the business requirements before you start building the policy.


4. Assign Responsibilities to Enforce the Policy

After the policy the developed, you should be mindful of allocating responsibilities to enforce the policy. Your policy should highlight who is responsible and for what. 

  • Who will retain the data, and how? 
  • Who would be responsible for getting rid of the data, and how?
  • When should it be disposed of?


5. Enforce and Monitor!

Once everything mentioned above is fixed, the implementation of your policy is good to go! While and even after it is enforced, you need to continuously monitor it. Regular audits and corrective measures in case of any deficiency will set your policy strong and robust.


Key Takeaways

In this highly digital era, the prominence of having a data retention policy is no more hidden truth. Now that you are aware of the same, take a step forward to create your policy for data retention. You can also opt to outsource policy creation to many service providers who make it way more simplified for you.


So, don’t waste any more time struggling with that huge chunk of information. Get a data retention policy, sit back and enjoy playing with your data!


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