As a business owner, you have a lot of responsibilities. You also have a great number of legal obligations. Many of them include the declaring of information. You have to declare your company turnover. You have to declare your losses and your personal earnings. Tax returns, insurance documents, and incorporation papers all need to be publicly visible. Your finances are perhaps the most scrutinized part of all this. Did you know you had to keep your accounting records available for a number of years?
When you want to tidy up the filing cabinet, company records are often the cause of the clutter. Some of it may be four or five years out of date, but that doesn’t mean you’re legally permitted to toss it in the shredder. The laws on holding documents with financial information vary from region to region. It’s always a good idea to check with your local authority and your accountant. Many accountancy services hold these old records on your behalf for a fee if you need to clear some space.
If you have employees, chances are you hold a lot of personal data about them. You may have checked their police records, taken copies of their qualifications, and use their bank account details to pay them. How do you protect all that sensitive information? Do you hold their full name, former names, date of birth, address and bank account numbers? Any theft of that data could have very dire consequences for your employee. There is more than enough there for someone to steal their entire identity and possibly clean out their bank account!
Equally, the law forbids you from deleting all that data. Again, the rules vary from region to region so check with your HR office, or seek specialist legal advice from an employment lawyer in your area. Protecting information can often go beyond the most current and relevant information you hold. Sometimes you have to protect electronic and paper files that date back years.
The sort of information you might want to clear could include old product development or research files. Data can clutter your systems. All businesses are looking to cut costs where they can, so why buy new hard drives when you can use the existing ones? Deleting data that is not needed or required is easier if you can use systems like a handheld degausser to do it. If you’re satisfied the data is not needed or required to be archived and protected, simply reuse your existing hard drives.
So what are your options? Trying to keep useless data live can cause systems to slow down and cost you more money for storage. Think about your website. Your contract with your domain host permits a maximum amount of data. You know you have to archive old pages and image files that are no longer relevant. These things are often OK to compress in an archive file. Having a clearout can speed up the system, and help to improve load times for your website. How do you keep on top of your data storage?
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