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12 June 2018

You Need a Records Retention & Shredding Policy

A document retention and destruction policy identifies the type of files your company has, how long you need to keep them, and how to properly destroy them when they have reached the end of their retention period. The policy should be in writing and provided to every employee.

shredding policy

File’s End of Life Cycle

When a document or file has reached the end of its required retention, it has to be destroyed in a secure manner. The best way to do that is to have the papers shredded. A professional document destruction service will destroy the documents so the information can never be retrieved again. More than half of your business documents have information on them that need to be securely protected and shredded according to privacy laws. If and when documents are being discarded, the best policy is to shred everything that could be considered confidential.

Reduce Litigation Costs

Every business is going to be involved in some type of litigation at some point. One of the biggest expenses in any law suit is discovery. The time it takes to locate documents, copy them and provide them to your lawyer so he or she can review them, gets very expensive. If you have retention and shredding policy in place, you can present that to show that the documents don’t exist anymore because they have been destroyed in accordance with your company’s policy, for file preservation and destruction. It is essential that your policy specifically states the manner in which documents are properly destroyed.

Reduce Off-site Document Storage Costs

When you are following record retention and shredding policy you are not keeping business information any longer than you have to.  By doing this you are reducing the need to pay a vendor to store your files at an offsite location.  If your firm has no policy in place you will continue to hold on to files, and as result, your document storage will continue to grow while your monthly storage bill does too.

Better Use of Office Space

If you are shredding your company papers in accordance with your shredding policy you will be using office space to store only the file you need thereby more efficiently using your office. Not following an ongoing shredding policy will require more file cabinets and more office space to store them. Office space is expensive; why pay for more space than you have to.

Considerations When Writing a Record Retention and Shredding Policy:

  • Classify the types of documents that your firm has. Are they Medical Records, Legal Case files, Client files, Accounting Records? All of these documents will have different retention periods. Check with your legal and accounting professionals to ensure you are compliant with regulations for your industry.
  • Can the documents be reproduced so they are acceptable in a court action? If so, do you need to keep the printed originals?
  • The policy needs to be written in a clear and straight forward manner so it can be easily understood and followed by all your staff. A system that is difficult to follow will not be successful so it is best to keep the content simple and easy to read.
  • Once the policy has been completed and approved by management, you must train your staff. Be sure to give them a written copy, have them read it, ask them if they understand it, ask if they have any questions, and finally have them sign an acknowledgment that they have been trained on it.

Are you in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester, and New Jersey and Need Document Destruction Services? Call Time Shred Services, a local onsite shredding service that provides document destruction to business and residential customers. For more information give us a call at 855-85-SHRED (74733) or visit


Jim Dowse, CSDS

Jim Dowse is the COO of Time Shred Services. Jim has over 35 years’ experience in the document management and document shredding industry and runs Time Shred Services with a staff of the most accomplished professionals in the document destruction industry. Under Jim’s leadership Time Shred has grown to be the largest locally owned Document Shredding company in the New York City area. Since we are a local business, we have a vested interest in providing the residents and businesses in our community with the best shredding service possible. Jim recognized that there was a need for a better and more convenient document shredding service that provided customers with shredding services when they needed it Monday through Saturday and Time Shred was born. Jim is also a CSDS, Certified Secure Destruction Specialist. This is the highest individual certification for an individual in the document shredding industry. This Author Biography is courtesy of i-Sigma