Rockliffs Solicitors and IP Lawyers
Publish Date: July 12, 2009
Recovering information from backup or disaster recovery systems is almost always very expensive and consumes valuable employee resources.
If you are (legitimately, of course) destroying documents, you should probably consider the adequacy of destruction.
Deleting from a live IT system doesn’t mean files disappear from backups or disaster recovery systems. Those records may exist on dozens of backup tapes or other media.
The information is now of no use to you and there is no legal requirement to keep it, but if you end up in court, your long-forgotten backups may be called into play if the other side believes they contain useful evidence to support their case. This can be a costly and time-consuming drain on your business.
It makes a lot of sense to have well-crafted retention and destruction rules. This implies that you consider triggers for the destruction process. For example, you might decide that employee records will be maintained until the relationship is terminated. Termination could then trigger the start of a retention period of, say, seven years, after which the documents would be destroyed.
If you can easily determine whether documents have been destroyed according to business rules, you should know without expensive searching that they do not exist anywhere else. Processes need to address common law, statutory and prudent commercial retention requirements, including holds or freezes on documents that may be required for any legal or commercial inquiries.
Reproduced with the permission of the Law Society of New South Wales.
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