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Benchmark Study Reveals 65 Percent of Organizations have not Implemented Enterprise-Wide Records Management Policies
Oct 08, 2007 (08:10 AM EDT)


BOSTON, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sixty-five percent of public and private organizations do not have an enterprise-wide records management policy and program, putting them at risk to face the heavy fines and loss of brand equity associated with non-compliance with state and federal regulations, according to a study of nearly 2000 General Counsels, CIOs and Records Management professionals. However, 61 percent of organizations surveyed stated that they are committed to records management improvement and are in the process of identifying plans for continuous development.

"We developed the assessment survey to help our customers understand how well their records management programs stack up against industry norms and best practices," said Richard Reese, chairman and CEO of Iron Mountain. "The survey is a tool to help businesses uncover hidden risks of non-compliance and implement a plan to reduce those risks and costs. Iron Mountain is uniquely positioned to help companies do both."

The Compliance Benchmark Study, conducted by Iron Mountain Incorporated , surveyed participants in private, public, government, and non- profit organizations of all sizes and industries, to evaluate their current practices and areas for improvement.

Key findings of Iron Mountain's Compliance Benchmark Study include: -- Records Management oversight is unclear: 73 percent of organizations state that oversight responsibilities are "not clearly defined" and steering committees have limited participation from key stakeholders. As a best practice, businesses should establish a senior level steering committee to provide oversight and strategic direction and clearly define and designate roles and responsibilities to its employees. -- Records Retention is solid: 81 percent of all organizations have a retention schedule that serves as the lynchpin for a compliance program and provides a blueprint for all records management activities. As a best practice, businesses should adopt and apply a universal records retention schedule across all business units, and all records, regardless of media format. -- Record Retrieval is usually accurate and quick: Although participants differ in their own assessments of the speed at which they can retrieve active records from on-site filing areas and off-site storage facilities, 90% rate their ability to do so as effective and accurate. This indicates that most people are generally satisfied with their ability to retrieve records, and that most seem to understand the basics of record storage, indexing and retrieval. The success of a records management program hinges on the ability to access information for business support, litigation response, and/or regulatory compliance. To avoid sanctions or loss of rights, organizations should institute policies and procedures that facilitate timely and effective record recovery. -- Secure Destruction Practices are Inconsistent: Only 38 percent of organizations described a consistently applied program for the appropriate disposal of confidential information. Federal and state privacy laws require the secure destruction of virtually all documents that contain personally identifiable information. Therefore, it is important for records disposition to be an inherent and consistent element of an organization's overall Records Management Program, covering both active and inactive records. Standard destruction policies should be set at the corporate, rather than departmental, level and should be reviewed by the proper legal and compliance professionals.

Companies that participated in the benchmark study can use the results to educate key stakeholders and decision makers in their organization to make improvements to their records management program.

"The good news is that we're seeing an emergence of competency and strength in key areas of records management, particularly in the highly regulated industries," said Laura McDaniel, director of compliant records management at Iron Mountain. "Our research shows that more than half of respondents are very committed to records management improvements and as mandates and regulations continue to grow, this is a very positive sign."

Iron Mountain offers a Compliant Records Management program that consists of a comprehensive set of practices and processes designed to enable companies to achieve compliance efficiency for rapidly evolving records management requirements. Iron Mountain's solutions encompass the full range of responsibilities required to ensure compliance - from record classification to storage and destruction.

For additional information on the Compliance Benchmark Study or to download a copy of the abstract, please visit http://www.ironmountain.com/benchmark

About Iron Mountain

Iron Mountain Incorporated http://www.ironmountain.com helps organizations around the world reduce the costs and risks associated with information protection and storage. The Company offers comprehensive records management and data protection solutions, along with the expertise and experience to address complex information challenges such as rising storage costs, litigation, regulatory compliance and disaster recovery. Founded in 1951, Iron Mountain is a trusted partner to more than 100,000 corporate clients throughout North America, Europe, Latin American and Asia Pacific. For more information, visit the Company's Web site at .

Contact: Laura Sudnik Derek Delano / Sara Steindorf Iron Mountain Incorporated Weber Shandwick laura.sudnik@ironmountain.com / (617) 535-2907 (617) 520-7120 / (617) 520-7259

CONTACT: Laura Sudnik of Iron Mountain Incorporated, +1-617-535-2907, laura.sudnik@ironmountain.com; or Derek Delano, +1-617-520-7120,, or Sara Steindorf, +1-617-520-7259,, both of Weber Shandwick for Iron MountainIncorporated

Web site: http://www.ironmountain.com/ http://www.ironmountain.com/benchmark/