The Beyond Blog

A Tidal Wave of Records is Growing. What’s the Best Records Disposition Solution?

As digital information gets easier to store, its volume is increasing an unprecedented rate. According to some estimates, its compound average growth rate is 61.7—a rate that’s expected to skyrocket over the next decade.

The growing mass of information puts organizations, and especially law firms, in a bind. Not only do they have to manage and track the retention and disposition of paper records, they must also keep up with rapidly growing digital records as well. While retaining records seems like a much easier way to go in the short-term, it’s not a sustainable long-term strategy.

Besides the growing tidal wave of records, firms also need to consider the more serious consequences involved with failing to follow proper principles of disposition. Fines, lawsuits, loss of market share, and irreparable brand damage are just some of the risks. With so much riding on disposition, why can’t more law firms get a handle on it? And what records disposition solutions can help them get disposition under control?

Records are everywhere

Disposition isn’t easy. Over the past few decades, a number of new federal and state regulations essentially forced law firms to get serious about document management. As a result, they invested in compliance, purchasing software solutions, like eDocs and iManage.

However, these solutions failed to solve the disposition problem. Why? Because during this same period there was a dramatic growth in the volume and types of records that law firms needed to manage.

Electronic records are stored in a number of places outside the document management solution. From SharePoint to shared network drives to individual computer desktops to file cabinets, records are everywhere. Paper records, which are stored on-site at numerous branch offices as well as offsite storage facilities, must also be taken into account.

It’s not hard to see why tracking and managing records in so many different places has become almost impossible. Effectively instituting and following-through with disposition and retention policies in this environment is a task that very few firms succeed at.

Disposition failure will cost you, big time

According to The Paperless Project, a typical four-drawer filing cabinet costs 9 square feet of space on average, which equates to about $1,500 per year in office space. However, the real estate costs for storing paper files is just one line item in a long list of costs associated with unnecessary file retention. Upwards of 15% of the typical organization’s annual revenues are spent managing and distributing those documents.

Getting rid of 10,000 boxes of files could save as much as $300,000 in storage costs over a 10-year period. It’s estimated that upwards of 70% of organizations could reduce their records storage costs by as much as 30%. But that’s only if they knew what they could destroy safely.

And cost savings for storage aren’t the only benefit. There are losses associated with excessive storage, too. The average organization spends between $1 million and $3 million per terabyte on electronic data discovery.

Manage retention and disposition of records in every repository

Today it’s possible to ensure your law firm is always in compliance with both internal and outside general council guidelines on records retention and disposition. And it doesn’t matter where those records are located. Management can happen “in place,” regardless of whether they’re sitting in boxes in a storage facility or inside document management software, shared network drives, or individual desktops.

From the moment a record is created, FileTrail’s policy management tool tracks all its retention and disposition information. As deadlines arise, the tool triggers workflow events, which are all based on your firm’s unique records management policies. To view the status of any record, all you have to do is open the policy management tool’s dashboard. Retention schedules and disposition alerts are just a click away.

Information on your exact cost savings for records disposition is also available by using its business intelligence management reports. At any time, you can generate a report and find out exactly how much storage you will gain in the future.

Start managing records disposition in all your repositories today

Records disposition has never been more critical to law firms’ success. By implementing a comprehensive system that tracks and manages all your records, regardless of where they live, you can avoid the risks of massive and unexpected discovery and compliance expenses. You can also generate enormous cost savings. With FileTrail as a trusted partner, you have the best opportunity for success.