Today, the state of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) is in disarray for many companies. The introduction and widely adapted use of mobile devices has drastically changed the way information is shared—and with that comes the need to better regulate digital data across multiple platforms.
Although technology has made sharing information easier, many aspects of ESI are problematic. For example, when you put work information on an iPad or other type of tablet, that’s a new place for information to “live,” but the data is not necessarily managed or protected the way it might be on your work desktop computer. Another place for information to lurk is on network shares, not just mobile devices. Employees sometimes use external drives to store extra data, but that, too, can put a company at risk if the data isn’t destroyed or falls into the wrong hands.
Social media, another revolutionary tool for work, is another breeding ground for information to be mismanaged. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are becoming storage spots for critical business information. Without the right governing regulations, sensitive and otherwise relevant information could be compromised.
It’s not just new devices or social media that causes the problem—it’s sharing data from traditional computers with these devices that can put a company at risk and cause data leaks. Why? If a company doesn’t know their data is out of the four walls of their office, that ESI could put them at a huge risk.
How do we manage this information? How do you allow ease of use with this data? Should companies let employees do business across multiple types of devices or do they change their policies to embrace technology?
Getting a Grip on Information Chaos
Risk management and governance are two ways to address today’s ESI issues. Companies need to determine the risks associated with ESI in order to classify and regulate it.
Businesses need to define and follow a records and retention policy that mandates how information is kept for a certain amount of time. That way, employees know what to hang on to and what to delete. This will help prevent the company from being at risk.
A records management policy can also stipulate what type of data can be shared on company computers and devices. Content management systems can keep copies of information that’s being shared across smartphones, laptops and other mobile devices so it is backed up when these short-lived devices stop working—another critical issue when it comes to ESI.
Pervasive governance solutions key to better ESI management
ESI solutions give companies the technology and regulations to help them address their information chaos issues. This matter has been coming up for a long time, and now more business leaders realize it is imperative—and easier than they may think—to manage ESI.
Pervasive governance is used to identify issues associated with ESI. Data is classified across multiple layers and devices are designated by the type of public or private information they are allowed to hold. Next, people process and tools can go into those systems and use technology solutions and automate enforcement of the new policies. Tools can include digital shredding when devices are destroyed or staff members get terminated. Encryption and digital signature requirements can also be used to govern information.
A pervasive governance tool along with risk management measures are an organization’s best defense against ESI disasters and work to proactively ensure compliance.
Does your company use a pervasive governance solution?
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Doug Vargo is Vice President and leader of Paragon’s Digital Information Management team. Doug provides business process and technology solutions that apply to the generation, management, use, compliance and disposition of enterprise content. Paragon’s Digital Information Management team focuses on ensuring organizations have effective, pervasive content management strategies, business processes and technology to ensure the right content is available at the right time, for the right person. Prior to joining Paragon, Doug was the Director of Records Information Management for Rusco, Inc., where he was responsible for the implementation and validation of Document and Records Management Systems at several life sciences companies with a specialization FDA compliance. Doug holds a BS in Environmental Science from Slippery Rock University, PA.