ROT stands for Redundant, Obsolete, and/or Trivial information and includes all information NOT being stored for a valid business, legal or common practice purpose. It is duplicative of official records, past its useful life, and/or information that does not meet the standard for an official record. Also, it’s important to remember that ROT consists of both physical and electronic information, including email.
Examples of why it is problematic:
- Storage is expensive. Although it seems like less of a problem to store ROT electronically it can actually be more expensive in the long term than paper. For example, extensive ROT that is being accumulated in an unstructured format has the potential for expensive discovery and legal hold work should a suit commence.
- It adds useless clutter, reducing accessibility of information by making it more difficult to find documents you need.
- It is a liability. Keeping information that is no longer useful and that is no longer required by law may create liability risk by preserving evidence that could be deemed adverse.
- Finally, if ROT contains personally identifiable information (PII), keeping it could be illegal.