The need to control the hemorrhaging that results from poor information governance and records management is only increasing for today's digital enterprises - as even a modest review of current news of the day will demonstrate.
With the realities of litigation and fines for non-compliance, organizations are forced to be more proactive and cautionary of the business risks associated with poor information management and records keeping.
Information is an important business asset across all functions of an organization. Information Governance (IG) works on the enterprise level in order to support the current and future business, legal, and regulatory requirements of information.
IG will provide an enterprise with four critical values.
Communications, documents, information, and records needed as evidence of events and transactions must be captured in order to attain compliance with regulations and laws such as GxP, HIPPA, SOX, and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP). Enterprises often take a “keep everything” mentality for compliance. However, this thinking leads to business storing information that they don’t know much about or who should have access to it.
Information is kept that should’ve been destroyed or secured leading to data breaches, stolen intellectual property and Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and other threats to information security which make the news every day. Mitigating risk is often a balancing act between keeping what you need for compliance and getting rid what you don’t need legally or business use. Staying compliant with current and emerging technologies is not easy as you must have policies and procedures for electronic records preservation and disposition, the cloud, social media, the internet of things (IoT) .
Information Governance doesn’t generate revenue which means that soft metrics such as cost savings are important to demonstrate the ROI of IG. A sizeable amount of IT budgets are spent on storage while at the same time ROT (Redundant, Obsolete, and Trivial content) can often make up half or more of corporate data. An IG program can cut into this spending by shining a light on dark data and dumping the trash which will decrease the amount spent on storage and backups.
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This in turn allows for more efficient eDiscovery as there is less ROT to search for to locate relevant evidence. Legacy applications can be retired with information needed from them for long term retention extracted then archived into a single repository for information and records. Data not needed to fulfil a business, legal, or regulatory requirement can then be disposed. This enables cost savings as less time, money, and effort are spent on administrating and maintaining old systems that just have information sitting in them, many times information that should have already been destroyed.
Attaining Benefits from Information Assets
Information Governance ROI goes beyond risk mitigation and cutting costs. There is untapped potential to be gained from information which can be unlocked through analytics. Data can sometimes be re-used for different purposes than originally intended. First, you must know what content you have through classification and sifting through dark data. Then you can secure sensitive records and information to protect it and cut down on the chance of a data leak.
After critical information is identified and preserved, you can get rid of the ROT and distill value from the good/relevant information with a big data and analytics initiative. Work classification, retention, and disposition controls into the systems that contain information and data to prevent further proliferation of dark data, ensure compliance, and prepare at the beginning of the information lifecycle for the use of analytics down the line.
Employees work more efficiently and get more done when they have quick access and retrieval to information needed to do their jobs. This is important for knowledge sharing such as time sensitive information needed for an urgent meeting. Having an enterprise wide data classification means that less time is spent on searching for critical information assets and cuts down on being provided wrong or irrelevant information.
The time saved allows workers more time to do their jobs and therefore generate more revenue for the company. When your organization knows what information and records it has and where they stored it can protect PII and sensitive information. Shadow IT and silos of information can be eradicated which is especially important when dealing with mergers and acquisitions as often companies take in information and systems without doing assessments.
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More automation of information governance principles means more time workers have to do their jobs. Reducing paper and pushing the use of electronic records, digital signatures, BYOD, mobile, cloud, etc. makes work simpler for employees. It also enables increased collaboration among workers who may not be in the same building or even country. Just be sure to keep in mind the privacy and information security risks inherent to digital transformation.