1 RECORDS & DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT EXPERTS MANAGEMENT AND RETENTION: CONSULTING CAPABILITIES OF ZASIO ENTERPRISES, INC. By: David O. Stephens, CRM, FAI Senior Vice President of Consulting 2013 Zasio Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.
2 MANAGEMENT AND RETENTION: CONSULTING CAPABILITIES OF ZASIO ENTERPRISES, INC. Page 2 of 6 Today, more than 20 years after its introduction and widespread adoption as a means of business communications, the management and retention of remains perhaps the biggest single problem in records management. Zasio helps its clients address these challenges. Perhaps the major ones are the lack of comprehensive policy guidance for employees and the variable practices that result, discretionary message deletion, indefinite message retention, ediscovery and other legal risks, and related issues and problems. Zasio s consulting practice provides solutions to these problems. Our recommended solutions consist of two main components: 1) a new policy for management/retention; and 2) where needed, a new tool for the implementation of this policy a new archiving solution. Both are designed for practicality and ease of implementation by all employees, as well by your IT staff. RECOMMENDED POLICY Zasio s recommended management policies typically consist of the following components: Policy goals and objectives Retention rules for Employee responsibilities for retention Official vs. duplicate copies of messages Approved repositories for retention
3 MANAGEMENT AND RETENTION: CONSULTING CAPABILITIES OF ZASIO ENTERPRISES, INC. Page 3 of 6 THE RETENTION OF A THREE-RULE MODEL Zasio s recommended retention policies for are typically formulated on the basis of three rules: Rule 1 of Routine Business Value In its consulting practice Zasio Enterprises, Inc. often recommends three years as the shortest advisable retention period for messages and attachments of routine business value. The rationale for this retention period is as follows: To be considered legally acceptable, an organization s retention practices must be reasonable for the types of records involved and for the circumstances in which the records are used. In records management work, three years is widely regarded as a reasonable minimum retention period where a longer period is not required by law and a shorter period cannot be confirmed as permissible. There is some basis for this in U.S. statutory law. According to the Uniform Preservation of Private Business Records Act (UPPBRA), business records can be discarded after three years unless a longer time period is required by law. The Uniform Preservation of Private Business Records Act has been adopted in the following states: Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Texas. Federal regulations associated with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 US Code 3501 et seq.) recognize three years as a reasonable record retention period. As specified in CFR (d)(2)(iv), the Office of Management and Budget provides a default retention period of three years, subject to exceptions, for federal government records that do not have a retention period mandated by other laws or regulations. Legal considerations aside, many employees have an operational need to access messages that are several years old.
4 MANAGEMENT AND RETENTION: CONSULTING CAPABILITIES OF ZASIO ENTERPRISES, INC. Page 4 of 6 The three-year recommendation conforms to prevalent business practices. The National Association for Corporate Directors, for example, specifies a three-year retention period for general business correspondence, the paper counterpart of . It should be noted that there is no general provision in U.S. law mandating the retention of as a form of business communications for any specified period of time; thus, users of this technology are at liberty to devise reasonable retention rules for based on cost / risk / benefit or other business considerations. There are, however, some laws and regulations that address as a communications medium in certain specific business environments. Regardless, we assist our clients in devising a set of retention rules for of routine business value that would be defendable as reasonable should these rules become subject to legal scrutiny. Rule 2 of Transitory Value It is important to note that the three-year minimum retention policy does not apply to all . Messages of transitory value can and should be discarded in a shorter time frame immediately after reading in many cases. Further, any message received as a copy can and should be discarded at the earliest opportunity. If it is technically practical, the organization can impose a short maximum retention period one year, for example for such copies. Rule 3 of Long-term Retention Value At the other extreme, some messages possess business value for periods of time exceeding three years. Examples include messages the content of which is material to the terms and conditions of contracts, messages related to projects of long duration, etc. These s should be preserved in designated, approved repositories for the requisite lengths of time. Regardless, the organization s retention rules should contain clear guidance as to these exceptions to the three-year retention rule.
5 MANAGEMENT AND RETENTION: CONSULTING CAPABILITIES OF ZASIO ENTERPRISES, INC. Page 5 of 6 ARCHIVING SOLUTIONS In order to achieve the implementation of the foregoing retention rules, the implementation of an archiving software solution may be required, particularly in the larger organizations. Zasio can assist your company in selecting an archiving solution that addresses the following aspects of management: Features and functions of various software solutions Folders and subfolders PST files: Restrictions or prohibitions Message transfer, storage and deletion Employee access to archived messages Implementation issues If an archiving solution is not desired or required by your organization, Zasio s consultants can help you achieve your goals within the framework of your existing technology environment. COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL MANDATES It should be noted that the above aspects of retention are reflective of the situation in the United States. Zasio has expertise in the international mandates pertaining to the management and retention of . Our global footprint currently extends to 107 countries.
6 RESOURCES: 1 Lewy v. Remington Arms Co., 836 F.2d 1104 (8th Cir. 1988). The defendant was unable to produce customer correspondence destroyed pursuant to its record retention policy, but that policy was determined not to be reasonable considering the facts and circumstances surrounding the relevant documents. Various commentators have extended this principle to electronic messages, including . See, for example, The Sedona Conference Commentary on Management: Guidelines for the Selection of Retention Policy, Sedona Conference Journal, vol. 8, pp. 240 (Fall 2007). 2 New Hampshire Statutes, Title 31, Chapter 337-A:2; Maryland Code, Title 1, Paragraph 1-304; Oklahoma Statutes, Title 67, Paragraph 252; Georgia Code Annotated, Title 10, Paragraph Texas Business and Commerce Code, Chapter 35.48(b); Illinois Compiled Statutes, 805 ICLS RECORDS & DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT EXPERTS Zasio Enterprises, Inc. is one of the nation s leading records management software and consulting companies. The firm was founded based on one vision: to provide organizations in both the public and private sector with affordable computer software that establishes total life cycle management and control over their records. In 1995, the company extended the range of its records management services when it established its Records Management Consulting Division. The strategic objective behind this decision was to offer a total solution both software and high-level expertise to those clients that require it. LEGAL DISCLAIMER This information is provided for educational purposes only. It is not offered as and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinions. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this article without first seeking the advice of an attorney. Contact the Zasio Records Management Consultants at: Consulting Division Zasio Enterprises, Inc W, Explorer Dr., Suite 250 Boise, Idaho