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Records Management Myths – Sorting Facts from Fiction

Separating truth from fiction.

Records Management myths have been around for a long time and like other subjects these myths tend to confuse and are no help to anyone.

Therefore, today we will be busting a few myths and revealing some valuable insights.


Myth Number 1

CDs and DVD are great for long-term backups and archival storage

While manufactures claim lifespans of 10 to 25 years and even up to 100 years, the consensus is that CDs and DVDs are not really the safest option for storing files on for longer than 2 – 5 years.

Physicist and storage expert at IBM Deutschland GmbH, Kurt Gerecke, had this to say in a Computer World article, “Unlike pressed original CDs, burned CDs have a relatively short life span of between two to five years, depending on the quality of the CD. There are a few things you can do to extend the life of a burned CD, like keeping the disc in a cool, dark space, but not a whole lot more.”

A more recent article on CNET entitled “Do not trust DVD for long-term backup” also warns against using DVDs and CDs for long-term archival backups.

If DVDs or CDs are you only option for storage then you should make at least two copies. However, hard drives and magnetic tape drives are generally considered better long-term storage options. That said no storage option at this time has an infinite life expectancy.

So, no matter what you choose you need to make sure you keep multiple backups. Also, ensure that every few years depending on your storage media, you re-backup your files if you really need or want them to last well into the future.


Myth Number 2

The IT department is responsible for records management.

Due to the fact that organisations today rely so heavily on computers to store and manage data, it is often assumed that the IT department is responsible for looking after your records. Whether your organisation has a dedicated Records Manager or not, responsibility to manage your records does not rest solely with your IT department.

The reality is, different department keep and manage a variety of records. Some records are of course more important than others are and the numbers of records kept and used will differ from department to department. This means that each department should be empowered and encouraged to take responsibility for their own records.

An organisation where each department took responsibility for their own records and worked with their Records Manager or IT department to properly secure, archive and manage those records, would probably be more productive, have reduced legal risk and run more cost effectively than its competitors.


Myth Number 3

Records Management is just filling.

Here is one of those myths that really needs busting. There is so much more to records management than just filling. For one, the filling process needs to be carefully considered and a filling plan that details such things as how to name files needs to be created.

Similarly, for computerised filing, one needs to carefully plan the right metadata to use for ones documents in order to make keyword search functionality useful and thus, find files quick.

One also has to consider record security and access control. Then there is the matter of offsite records and data storage, backups, record retention periods, and eventual destruction.


Records Management can be done in-house up to a point, but when the volume of records becomes too much and greater controls and efficiency is needed then it is time to talk to a specialist Records Management Company.

Iron Mountain is one such company. Our experience, state-of-the-art facilities and top-notch products and services from File Tracking Software, to Shredding and holistic Records Management will help you take control of your records. Contact us today.


Image Credit: Copyright: tverdohlib / 123RF Stock Photo

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