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“While physical volume of records will continue to be reduced through greater and greater information packing density, the number of records grows faster than the rate of disposal, and the need for maintaining accuracy of information, effective indexing, correct retrievals, and application of retention scheduling does not diminish” (IMA 2010)

The situation with the numbers of records and documents created since the above was written in 2010 has exploded exponentially.  According to Statista, their market survey report showed that the total amount of data being consumed globally was forecasted to increase rapidly to 64.2 zettabytes in 2020 and 79 zettabytes in 2021 while it is projected to grow to over 180 zettabytes by 2025. It also reported that the installed base of storage capacity will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 19.2% from 2020 to 2025.

Is your organization prepared for this increase in managing a similar growth in your information?  Can you prove that you are compliant with the “right to be forgotten” laws coming your way?  If you don’t have an information governance program in place, chances are you won’t be able to prove that you’ve found all instances of a consumer or employee record. You may not be able to prove you’ve found all responsive records in litigation or regulatory audit either. The days of if I don’t have a policy, I can’t be nom-compliant are long gone.

Information Governance Programs with policies, procedures, desktop instructions, data maps and retention schedule(s) aren’t a “nice to have” anymore. The information you create and receive needs to be protected and preserved for its entire lifecycle as defined in a retention schedule and then disposed of in a transparent process.

Operational, legal and historic values of the information should be considered when defining the optimal retention period; legal requirements are generally a minimum retention requirement and taking into account operational or historic values leads to employees actually following the retention periods and not keeping copies “just in case”. Providing a system of record that is easy to use reduces the making of convenience copies, too.

Data, documents and records volumes are only going to continue to grow. Address the issue now and make sure your foundation is sound so it doesn’t crumble under the weight of those zettabytes!