Information lifecycle governance is an increasingly important consideration in a world where complying with data lifecycle rules, regulations and requirements is becoming a more complex undertaking for organizations in virtually every industry. The concepts surrounding information lifecycle governance, or ILG, are centered on managing information flow as effectively as possible. When organizations effectively approach the flow of data and metadata in their information systems, from the moment the data is produced and stored to the moment it becomes redundant and is deleted, they can have more control over their data and get more out of it. Compared to past approaches to maintaining information lifecycle compliance, ILG offers a more comprehensive approach in an increasingly compliance-heavy business environment. The following information should help shed some light on what ILG is and how it helps organizations stay compliant in an overly compliant world.
The ILG Approach to the Information Lifecycle
The main difference with the ILG approach is its comprehensive nature. Instead of relying on automated data storage systems that consider only the simplest of data information, such as age and last access date, an ILG approach considers the much more complex facets and features inherent in data. There are a variety of products available that automate many of the processes involved in governing the information lifecycle, though, which can sort data into different tiers based on specific policies and more complex criteria, while still performing the basic task of placing data into faster or slower media depending on its age and last access point. The most complex criteria for sorting and governing information can also factor in such specific considerations as how the data maintains or loses its value throughout its lifecycle and whether it is being used in a compliant way. With legislation including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and HIPAA making it increasingly difficult to comply with federal regulations regarding data management, on top of all the inherent difficulties with managing large sets of data to begin with, effectively governing the information lifecycle across every practice and procedure within an organization is no longer just a lofty goal. It’s an absolute priority that must be maintained.
How Information Gains Value in a Tech-Reliant World
Individuals and organizations of all types and sizes rely on information technology in all facets of life today. This fact alone should make the importance of governing the information lifecycle within an organization crystal clear. Whether it’s stored on the desktop computer of an employee or a cloud-based application or a data center, data must be viewed as a critical asset and valuable resource. Like other assets, data must be protected and governed with prescribed policies, procedures and strategies that are designed to minimize regulatory risk and gain an advantage over the competition. Traditional records retention methodologies are not sufficient for creating, storing, using, archiving, managing and ultimately deleting critical data in an efficient and seamlessly compliant manner. Previous methods did not always consider the most effective metrics, processes, roles, strategies and standards for governing information, but the ILG approach supports a strategic and comprehensive system of using and distributing information within and outside of an organization for the most compliant results. These are just a few of the ways that information lifecycle governance can gain value in a world that is increasingly reliant on technology, where organizations face increasingly complex regulations on their use of data:
- Records Retention – Recordkeeping is about more than just maintaining an accurate set of records. With the growing size and complexity of digital data, and the increasing rigidity of the regulations and policies affecting corporate records in this environment, optimizing record retention requires a comprehensive and compliant approach.
- Archiving – Effective data archiving can help organizations reduce the risk of non-compliance while increasing efficiency and cutting costs. Information including documents, emails, images and other types of content needs to be archived in such a way that complies with all companywide, industrywide and federal regulations without affecting convenience, security and ease of access.
- eDiscovery – Electronic discovery, also known simply as eDiscovery, was once an inefficient and expensive undertaking that placed an unavoidable burden of decreased stock prices and negative reputation on the organization facing a discovery request. While no one wants to be in this situation, being able to maintain a defensible and compliant strategy can make all the difference in the world. An ILG approach can help achieve this kind of infrastructure.