Off the Record – Nuclear Records Testing, Legal IG Guidance, Perfect Retention Policies

Tune in monthly for a curated collection of articles we found interesting on a broad range of topics; some which are directly related to records management and others which might share common themes.

No, we didn’t write these articles —hence the name of this series, “Off the Record”— but fortunately, we didn’t need to in order to share the knowledge with our subscribers.

Let us know in the comments below what topics you are interested in learning more about!


“The U.S. Government Once Nuked a Bunch of File Cabinets” — Atlas Obscura

Did you know that the U.S. government has already determined the best way to store your files in the event of a nuclear attack? Enter Operation Teapot and the 14 separate explosions the government orchestrated in the Nevada desert in 1955 in order to gather information and report on the nuclear impact in various situations. During the setup for the Apple-2, “meant to ‘test the effects of an atomic blast upon the things we use in our everyday lives‘”, they went ahead and threw in some file cabinets filled with varied medias and scattered them throughout Apple-2’s Ground Zero.

Read the article to find out the ultimate findings of the test and I’ll leave you with this resounding records management truth:

Business records are the memory of an organization. Preservation of important business records in a disaster can help ensure survival of managerial direction and continuity of enterprise.

Law firm, Drinker Biddle provides practical guidance for information governance:

For many local governments and state agencies embarking on the quest to establish an information governance (IG)program feels insurmountable if not impossible to get right. With this information and guidance from a legal entity, perhaps the first steps can be without too many stumbles.

Logging Your First Information Governance Success” – DBR on Data

The firm’s blog articles discuss first finding a small-scale project that can offer a quick-win opportunity to establish IG value. To illustrate this point, they focus on a case study of a large U.S. retailer and distributor of tires and automobile parts profiled by Information Governance Initiative (IGI).

Drafting an Information Governance Program Charter” – DBR on Data

Next, they discuss the essential structure and content for an IG program charter to ensure there are at least certain concepts and expectations in place to create the foundation for the program. The good news? It doesn’t have to be perfect or fully-developed from the beginning, it can always be built upon as time goes on. It provides “a certain level of vision and understanding of the company’s desired approach to achieving its IG objectives”, especially when what you’re needing is C-suite and governing body buy-in.

Document retention: Policies make perfect” — Accounting Today

Financial records are the common thread that bind all types of government entities together; we all take in and release money in some shape or form– to pay employees, if nothing else. If your government entity uses a centralized document management system to manage these types of records for your entity, take into account (pun intended) that an accurate and applicable document retention policy which “categorizes the various types of information and documents that [your]organization retains” is worth developing or revisiting to fine-tune.

Even though this article is specifically geared to accounting firms or departments, the ideas and premise apply to all types of information management systems and policies.

Without a well-formed retention policy that reflects the unique aspects of your entity, such as “compliance rules, and [any] applicable internal processes for compliance, including…storage and management during the active life of the data, as well as archiving and purging or destruction of data after its useful life”, your organization could be missing out on efficiency, data security, and meeting legal obligations.

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