Sentencing of records is the act of making and applying a decision about their long term handling.
Simply put, it’s about when to destroy them.
While most organisations are amazingly efficient keepers of information, very few outside of government are efficient destroyers of information.
When it’s done well, records that you capture are sentenced by the act of capturing them. This is called sentencing on creation. It means that the process will be largely automatic, and include destruction when the record reaches it’s end of life.
When it’s done badly, a vast trove of data and information will need to be classified and sentenced after the fact. It’s expensive, the chance for error is high, and the trove is what every hacker on earth is hoping they’ll find when they breach your organisation. Then there’s the chance that you’ll destroy information that legislation says you need to keep.
Sentencing is the discipline that every organisation needs to understand in a post privacy legislation, breach reporting world.
If your organisation has a great Records Manager, chances are that you’re already on your way there. If not – now is probably a good time to go and find one.