The long arm of the law
Those laptops above belong to Ben Wright, who has a better rationale than most for hanging on to them. He's an IT lawyer and an instructor on investigations law for the SANS Institute, and he practices what he preaches. "I keep my old laptops, hard drives, and flash drives because they contain old electronic business records," he says. "The legal system expects responsible parties like enterprises to keep more electronic records, especially e-mail. Early destruction of business and professional e-records is dangerous." (Those are links to Ben's blog, which goes into much more detail on those topics.)
"As the information age matures, courts (and government regulators) are expecting generous retention of other records such as text messages, spreadsheets and so on," he explains. "I predict that the courts will become even more demanding in the future. Many enterprises and professionals are surprised (even shocked) at how the law on record retention is changing. From my point of view as a lawyer who can get involved in audits, lawsuits and disputes, the cost of keeping old laptops, hard drives and flash drives is small compared to the risk."
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