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What is a Document Retention Policy and Why You Need One

A document retention policy is vital for many businesses when managing and protecting important records. It helps you to avoid criminal, civil, and financial penalties that are caused by bad data management practices. GDPR doesn’t dictate how long you should keep personal data, however, organisations are encouraged to set deadlines based on the personal information they hold. You must be able to document and justify why you keep documents for the time frame that you do.


At Highlander Security Shredding, we offer secure document shredding to help keep you on track with your document retention policy. Here is what you need to know about a document retention policy.

What is a document retention policy?

A document retention policy is a set of internal guidelines that you create as a business to determine how sensitive documents should be handled from the moment they are created, through to a specific destruction date.


A retention period is the required amount of time you can keep your documents before you must securely dispose of them. The minimum period depends on the type of document and what the document contains.


Here is why you need one.


If you fail to comply with state and federal privacy laws and destroy records before the end of the required retention period, you could face penalties. Additionally, you might need records to defend against claims. Keeping records for the right amount of time ensures you comply with applicable regulations.


Both saving records for too long and destroying them too soon can be problematic. A document retention policy, alongside a comprehensive document management process, will help you to organise documents, store them better and make for easier retrieval and recordkeeping. This makes the whole process much more efficient and enables you to easily flag when the retention period ends.

Culture of security

By following a document retention policy, you can ensure that the security of your records is much higher, even if they are hard copies or digital. By embedding these regulations throughout employee training and standard workplace processes, you can strengthen the security of your whole organisation and keep everyone’s data safe.


To get started on your data security journey, get in touch with Highlander Security Shredding today. We can securely dispose of documents as well as provide confidential waste collection and waste paper collection.  We aim to make secure document shredding easy.

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