Laws, regulations, and internal policies dictate how long electronic information should be kept.
A typical organization will have to manage many such retention policies. Doing so is difficult enough when you just have to deal with formal paper records, such as financial returns or customer contracts. When it comes to handling a much larger corpus of electronic information, the problem becomes significantly worse.
There are advantages to deleting electronically stored information after some period; there are disadvantages of doing so as well. All in all, given the difficulty of getting retention policies right, and the value and small cost (on a per-user basis) of keeping electronic information, I believe most organizations will abandon retention policies. We’ll all end up keeping information for arbitrarily long periods, and thus satisfy the varying retention requirements. Much simpler.
- “Reduce your risk profile.” Information you keep can be used to show you did something wrong in litigation (assuming you did, in fact, do something wrong).
- Early case assessment. By deleting information you reduce the numbers of documents that must be (expensively) reviewed during litigation.
- Less time spent weeding through documents to find the ones you need.