of Visual Arts is hereinafter referred to as “the company.”


The need to retain
data varies widely with the type of data. 
Some data can be immediately deleted and some must be retained until
reasonable potential for future need no longer exists.  Since this can be somewhat subjective, a
retention policy is important to ensure that the company’s guidelines on
retention are consistently applied throughout the organization.

2.0 Purpose

The purpose of this
policy is to specify the company’s guidelines for retaining different types of

3.0 Scope

The scope of this
policy covers all company data stored on company-owned, company-leased, and
otherwise company-provided systems and media, regardless of location. 

Note that the need to retain certain information can be mandated by local,
industry, or federal regulations.  Where
this policy differs from applicable regulations, the policy specified in the
regulations will apply.

4.0 Policy

Reasons for Data Retention

The company does not
wish to simply adopt a “save everything” mentality.  That is not practical or cost-effective, and
would place an excessive burden on the IT Staff to manage the
constantly-growing amount of data. 

Some data, however, must be retained in order to protect the company’s
interests, preserve evidence, and generally conform to good business
practices.  Some reasons for data
retention include:

•           Litigation

•           Accident investigation

•           Security incident investigation

•           Regulatory requirements

•           Intellectual property

4.2 Data Duplication
As data storage
increases in size and decreases in cost, companies often err on the side of
storing data in several places on the network. 
A common example of this is where a single file may be stored on a local
user’s machine, on a central file server, and again on a backup system.  When identifying and classifying the
company’s data, it is important to also understand where that data may be
stored, particularly as duplicate copies, so that this policy may be applied to
all duplicates of the information.

4.3 Retention Requirements
This section sets
guidelines for retaining the different types of company data.

Personal  There are no
retention requirements for personal data. 
In fact, the company requires that it be deleted or destroyed when it is
no longer needed.

Public Public data must be retained for 1 year.

Operational Most company data will fall in this category.  Operational data must be retained for 2

Critical Critical data must be retained for 3 years.

Confidential Confidential data must be retained for 3 years.

4.4 Retention of Encrypted Data
If any information
retained under this policy is stored in an encrypted format, considerations must
be taken for secure storage of the encryption keys.  Encryption keys must be retained as long as
the data that the keys decrypt is retained. 

4.5 Data Destruction
Data destruction is a
critical component of a data retention policy. 
Data destruction ensures that the company will not get buried in data,
making data management and data retrieval more complicated and expensive than
it needs to be.  Exactly how certain data
should be destroyed is covered in the Data Classification Policy.

When the retention timeframe expires, the company must actively destroy the
data covered by this policy.  If a user
feels that certain data should not be destroyed, he or she should identify the
data to his or her supervisor so that an exception to the policy can be considered.  Since this decision has long-term legal
implications, exceptions will be approved only by a member or members of the
company’s executive team.

The company specifically directs users not to destroy data in violation of this
policy.  Particularly forbidden is
destroying data that a user may feel is harmful to himself or herself, or
destroying data in an attempt to cover up a violation of law or company policy.

4.6 Applicability of Other Policies
This document is part
of the company’s cohesive set of security policies.  Other policies may apply to the topics
covered in this document and as such the applicable policies should be reviewed
as needed.


This policy will be
enforced by the IT Manager and/or Executive Team. Violations may result in
disciplinary action, which may include suspension, restriction of access, or
more severe penalties up to and including termination of employment. Where
illegal activities or theft of company property (physical or intellectual) are
suspected, the company may report such activities to the applicable

6.0 Definitions

To copy data to a second location, solely for the purpose of safe
keeping of that data.

Encryption  The process of
encoding data with an algorithm so that it is unintelligible and secure without
the key.  Used to protect data during
transmission or while stored.

Encryption Key  An alphanumeric
series of characters that enables data to be encrypted and decrypted.

Revision History

Revision 2.0, 1/1/2015