What is records retention?
Records retention is the task of safeguarding important data by identifying documents and records that should be or must be retained for a period of time, storing records in secure archives, providing access to authorized individuals for legal and compliance purposes, and managing the length of time that records are kept.
What type of records must be retained?
Certain types of records are crucial for business operations, compliance, and legal purposes. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Financial documents, including accounting records, ledgers, and tax-related information.
- Legal documents such as contracts, agreements, and litigation records.
- Human resources documents, including employee files, payroll records, and performance evaluations.
- Operational documents, such as policies, procedures, and operational reports.
- Correspondence, including email communications, memos, and letters.
Retaining these records is essential for maintaining an accurate historical record of the organization's activities, ensuring transparency, and meeting regulatory and legal requirements.
Why is records retention important?
Records retention is essential to maintaining important information that may be useful to decision-makers within the organization, and to complying with legal and regulatory requirements for preserving documents, correspondence and other data that may be needed for legal and compliance discovery.
How to simplify records retention management
As digital documents continue to play an outsized role in litigation, legal firms today are increasingly seeking more power solutions to simplify electronic record retention while ensuring the security and integrity of digital files and email.
Electronic record retention and email retention serve multiple purposes, from supporting case work to providing institutional memory and from documenting business decisions to demonstrating compliance. Record retention management also carries significant risk: documents that contain sensitive information is at greater risk the longer it is retained, while files that are quickly or inadvertently discarded may hinder a client's case or violate regulations.
As the volume of email produced each year by an organization continues to multiply, managing record retention becomes costlier and more complex. To meet record retention and email retention requirements while achieving archiving compliance, law firms need easy-to-use tools that can minimize the time and resources required to manage archives. That's where Mimecast can help.
Streamlining records retention with Mimecast
Mimecast is an all-in-one, cloud-based service for email archiving, security and continuity. As a 100% SaaS-based solution, Mimecast is easy to deploy and requires no upfront capital expenses. And with solutions that address every aspect of business email management, Mimecast eliminates the need to deploy multiple point solutions to manage business email and record retention.
Mimecast provides powerful email and Microsoft Teams archiving tools in the Mimecast Cloud Archive, a centralized cloud repository. Mimecast makes archiving simple by giving administrators tools to automate record retention, setting and managing policy throughout the organization from a single web-based console.
To simplify record retention while ensuring data integrity, Mimecast automatically keeps three encrypted and tamper-proof copies of files and all inbound, outbound and internal email. Mimecast's record retention solution keeps both the content of email messages as well as metadata, which is critical to providing proof of delivery and non-repudiation information. Mimecast stores copies of each email or file in geographically diverse data centers, retaining originals as well as copies of policy-modified messages.
Mimecast tools for records retention
To simplify record retention, Mimecast provides administrators with:
- Management tools that provide centralized control of record retention policies.
- Industry-leading search tools for faster retrieval and e-discovery.
- Streamlined case management tools for faster responses to compliance and legal queries and challenges.
In addition to record retention and archiving, Mimecast provides business continuity services that ensure access to email even when primary servers are down, and backup and recovery software that enables fast restoration of mailboxes, personal folders and calendar and contact items after a data loss or data corruption event.
Learn more about record retention with Mimecast.
Records Retention FAQs
What is a records retention system?
A records retention system is a solution that simplifies and automates the task of selecting data for retention, determining the length of time it should be kept, protecting it on secure media, enabling efficient search and retrieval, and providing access to authorized users.
What are record retention policies?
Record retention policies are a set of guidelines that specify how long certain types of records should be retained, as well as the processes for storing, managing, and disposing of them. These policies are designed to ensure compliance with legal, regulatory, and operational requirements, as well as to facilitate efficient retrieval and utilization of records when needed. A comprehensive record retention policy typically includes provisions for document categorization, storage protocols, data security measures, and guidelines for the disposal of records once their retention.
What are record retention schedules?
Record retention schedules define the timeframes for the retention of various categories of records. They are created in accordance with legal and regulatory regulations, industry guidelines, and the organization's specific requirements. Record retention schedules serve as a framework for the management of records throughout their entire lifecycle, from initial creation or receipt to final disposal. They assist organizations in retaining control of their records, mitigating compliance risks, and ensuring the consistent and systematic management of data.
How long should records be retained?
The retention period for records can vary depending on the type of document and the relevant legal and regulatory obligations. Typically, the retention period is determined by factors such as statutory requirements, industry standards, and business needs. For example:
- Financial records may need to be retained for a minimum of seven years for tax and auditing purposes.
- Employment records could be retained for several years after an employee's departure to address potential legal or contractual issues.
- Legal and contractual documents may need to be retained for the duration of the contract and for a specified period thereafter.
It is important for organizations to consult legal counsel and regulatory guidelines to determine the specific retention periods for various types of records relevant to their industry and business.