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Worrisome data about vulnerability in the areas of document retention and destruction

The legal group of many companies has some responsibility for policies on records management. At the least the lawyers help to identify and apply the legal requirements for retention and deletion policies; at the extreme the legal department is tasked with enforcement of those policies. With that range of responsibilities in mind, consider data from NextPage’s survey in May 2006, which obtained responses from 108 IT professionals who subscribe to CIO Magazine.

The survey results below comes from a handout at the recent LegalTech conference. “While two-thirds of the companies surveyed have a document retention policy in effect, almost half of them don’t actively enforce it.” The best legal advice in the world amounts to little if there is flaccid enforcement. And legal concerns drove most of the efforts: “Primary drivers for their document policies were regulatory compliance (61%), ensuring confidentiality (38%) and reducing risk of litigation (33%).”

One more quote highlights again the interaction of legal analysis to decision-making and operational support: “The greatest weakness in document retention efforts: 39 percent answered implementing a standard policy, 38 percent listed a document disposal policy and 34 percent said user compliance.” Lawyers should be tangling with each of these three risk areas.