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How to Handle Non-Value Documents and Data

A significant portion of organisations’ information is made up of non-value documents and data.

How does your organisation currently handle its non-value documents and data?

Before you can correctly handle your non-value documents and data, you need to understand what they are.

 

Essentially, non-value documents and data are those documents and data that do not constitute records and do not hold any value for your organisation.

 

To compare, lets take a brief look at document and data types:

Records

Documents and data that are deemed to be ‘records’ have great value and have definite retention periods. Examples of ‘records’ include such things as meeting minutes, contracts, emails, invoices, etc.

Valuable Documents and Data

Other business documents that may not constitute records can still hold value. Examples of these ‘valuable documents’ include marketing reports, survey results, document templates, strategy and planning documents, etc.

Non-valuable Documents and Data

Then there are those documents and pieces of data that hold no value for the organisation. Sometimes these are documents that had value but in time have lost their value, other times they are just non-work related documents or data.

Examples of these would be your company braai invite, old strategy presentations, outdated quotes, employee emails containing jokes or personal event invites such as a dinner invite, funny photos shared with co-workers, sticky notes with to-dos, etc.

 

Why do you need to handle non-value documents and data with care?

Now you might be wondering why we’ve written an article dealing with the handling of non-value documents and data. Surely they require no special handling as they hold no value and no retention period?

While this may be true, incorrect handling can still land you in a legal nightmare and damage your organisation.

Here are the reasons why…

1. Privacy and Confidentiality

Non-value documents may contain confidential or personally identifiable information. Disclosing this type of info creates privacy issues. In terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act or PoPI, organisations must handle this type of information in a specific manner.

While non-value data may not hold any value for the company, they can still damage the company if they contain information that could be seen to violate privacy or confidentiality.

This opens the door to litigation which can be both financially and image damaging.

2. Competition & Intellectual Property

Then there is the matter of staying ahead of your competition and maintaining control over ideas that are the property of your company.

While old marketing reports form a few years back or strategy presentations that are either old or where not implemented may not hold any value for the company, they can still be valuable to competitors.

This is because such documents could still contain insights into your company and even contain trade secrets or strategies that you hoped to leverage to gain a competitive edge. In the hands of a competitor these documents could do untold damage.

What about documents detailing partnership agreements with third parties that didn’t go through? These documents though valueless could contain information about the third party that could be seen to do harm to them if leaked. Thus, litigation rears its ugly head.

 

How Should You Handle Non-Value Documents and Data

While for the most part documents and data that hold no value do not pose a risk to your organisation, there is always the chance that there are a few that might.

Thus, the best way to handle such documents and data is to review it as if it does hold value and dispose of it in a secure manner using a secure document destruction service.

It’s a case of be safe than sorry.

 

For more information on the secure destruction of your documents and data, contact Iron Mountain today.

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