NextPage Research has produced a study detailing how document retention and disposal policies are failing -- on user desktops. The study, jointly created with CXO Media, found enterprises reporting a big gap between theory and practice when it comes to document retention and disposal. Anyone surprised? Ok... now what? First, the study (based on responses from 108 IT professionals) found that only 62 percent of companies surveyed have a document retention policy in place. Get a policy. This is important because in a related study, CXO learned that 80 percent of corporate documents typically exist on individual worker's hard drives. Fine. Now the sticky part... how do you get workers to follow such a policy once it's in place? The first answer to solving this problem lies with the fact that most users appear to be unaware of the number of copies and versions of corporate documents they have in email, on removable storage devices, and in their document directories. Educate the workers. Then, once awareness is raised, workers still don't have the software tools they need to find and manage these documents. Looks like an opportunity for document management vendors right there. Then again, maybe the study just serves as another argument for the end of "decentralization" ...and the desktop as we know them. If you're interested in a copy of the study, you can visit Conveniently bridging from the study to a conversation, NextPage has announced an online risk assessment tool that helps organizations analyze their current document management policies and behaviors. The assessment tool, available at, can be completed in less than five minutes and generates a preliminary risk score based on how the organization answers selected questions. Those of you with the poorer scores get to go straight to the front of the class and speak directly with analysts from NextPage.