Does Your Business Data Have a Self-Destruct Switch, Just in Case?
It seems most logical to store every byte of your business data. With the advent of cloud computing, it’s more affordable than ever. While most companies tend to store a huge amount of data, some forget that they should always be willing to delete old files if need be. This is especially true if you deal with sensitive data which can leave your business liable to a possible lawsuit.
Understanding Your Business Data
Data Is a Liability
Your business’s data is used for all sorts of things, but the last thing you want it used for is against you in a lawsuit. For instance, there might be a file on your company’s network that could potentially be used against your business in court. If the file doesn’t have anything to do with your day-to-day operations, there’s no reason to keep it. In fact, according to a recent study by IDG Research Services, up to 72 percent of all data a business keeps has no practical use.
Tony MacFarland, an attorney who advocates methodical and vigorous data destruction, told CIO that this is the ideal course of action:
It’s a way to avoid risk. That’s because when you no longer store the data you don’t really have to retain. You also are complying with legal requests for e-mail or documents, it means that whatever the topic of the legal inquiry of electronic discovery, the old documents are simply not there to produce, hence less legal exposure.
For clarity, we don’t want you to trash any documents necessary to file a formal investigation, as was the case with Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal; rather, you should simply manage your business’s data risks. Think of deleting data to minimize liability as a way of performing routine maintenance in the office. Cleaning up your office is the same as cleaning up your network; making sure that nothing is interfering with your day-to-day activities. If something is useless, like old company emails from several years ago, get rid of it.
Business Data Destruction is Important for Companies
In order to avoid data liability, your business should have a self-destruct button for data destruction. Not literally, of course; we mean to have a data destruction plan that is ready to put into motion if need be. One particular solution is an electronic document management system, preferably an automated one. This can save you countless hours and prevent potentially risky documents from collecting in your system. Here are some tips from attorney Tony MacFarland to help you integrate the best data destruction plan for your business:
- Consider email transitory: If possible under law, move all emails to a personal folder, which disappear at the end of the year.
- Get rid of shared folders: The less eyes on potentially incriminating data, the better.
- Limit the amount of personal employee data: Only keep as much as required by the law.
- Know your document policies inside and out: Some documents have an expiration date and should be stored only for a specific amount of time. If they are past this date, electronically destroy them. The same can be said for paper documents of the same variety.
This is also a valuable time to mention that your business shouldn’t be without a data backup plan. What if you were to accidentally erase important data from your business’s network in the midst of your data destruction plan? A Backup and Disaster Recovery solution (BDR) from Protek will help you ensure the preservation of your business; plus, it takes care of minimizing your business’s data liability. Protek can help your business take these measures to ensure the future of your business. Give us a call at 844.796.1717 to learn more.
Eric is the owner and CEO of Protek Support and is a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). He graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Business with an emphasis in Information Technology (IT). He is an IT Services expert in a variety of technology related fields. Some of these fields include document management software/hardware, enterprise level networking and VoIP phone systems, as well as large scale software implementation projects and the setup of small business networks.