By Bill Young, Senior Pre-sales Engineer

When archiving corporate data, whether due to decommissioning an application or moving static data to improve application performance, organizations in regulated industries must retain data records to satisfy the regulations.

compliance policy concept image

One criterion for deciding upon an archiving platform may, therefore, be the integration of record retention policies with the archiving solution. OpenText InfoArchive provides such a solution.

The compliance features in InfoArchive provide for flexible specification and application of retention policies, as well as the ability to override these policies on individual records or groups of records. Additionally, due to the write once nature of the archive, records cannot be altered. Storage system support for read only access to data can further ensure appropriate governance of data, and InfoArchive supports the use of such storage systems.

Retention policies are the most directly visible aspect of information governance to certain users of the archive. The flexibility of these policies is apparent in the record aging strategies supported by InfoArchive and the mechanisms for applying the policies. We discuss these aspects in more detail below.

Aging Strategies

  1. Fixed-date aging strategy: The data is retained until a specified date. When archiving data from an application which has been decommissioned, it is often possible to comply with retention requirements by simply keeping all the data until a specific date. This is the simplest policy to define.
  2. Duration-based aging strategy: The data is retained for a specific duration. This is frequently used for health records (e.g., retain visit records for seven or ten years after the date of the visit) and financial data (e.g., retain statements for access for one year). This is a fine-grained approach to retention, with records reaching end of life on various dates over time.
  3. Event-based aging strategy: The data is retained for a specified time after an event occurs. An example of this would be retention of a customer’s account data for three years after the account is closed.
  4. Mixed aging strategy: A mixed policy is one which involves both duration and event (or condition). The condition can override the duration, allow records to be disposed sooner than the duration.

Applying Retention Policies

Retention policies may be applied to individual records or to groups of related records. Some of this depends on the storage scheme chosen for the data. Simply put, the retention can apply to all records in an application, all records in a table or package, or to individual records. In addition to this flexibility in granularity, it is possible to apply retention policies automatically or manually.

Automatic policy application can take place during data ingestion. This requires that the policies be known and defined prior to ingestion of the data into the archive. An alternative automatic approach is be executing a job after the ingestion of the data is complete.

For duration and fixed-date aging strategies, a compliance manager may manually apply the policies using the InfoArchive web application. Alternatively, the InfoArchive REST API can also be used to manually apply policies.

Retention Exceptions

Legal issues or requests from the subjects of records may result in the need to block execution of record disposition. For this reason, InfoArchive supports the concept of holds. Individual records or groups of records may be identified for hold via the web application. The web application also allows the holds to be removed when the situation requiring the hold has passed.

In conclusion, this has been a brief overview of the use of InfoArchive’s retention policies to support some aspects of an overall information governance strategy. OpenText has provided videos showing the ease of creation of retention policies in the web application. Creating a Retention Policy, Part One covers how to create Fixed Date and Duration retention policies, including setting an annual cutoff. Part Two demonstrates how to create an Event or Mixed retention policy, including the aging strategy settings that are specific to these policy types.

For more information or assistance with setting retention policies in InfoArchive, contact us.