When it comes to managing your company’s electronically stored information (ESI), who is in charge?

Is it the employees who create, edit and delete data? Is it the CEO because, well, he or she is at the top of the organization? Or is it the IT Director who typically deals with technology?

Making the case for proper ESI management

In the future, an ESI Director or Risk Director would be the person who oversees ESI, though the name of the position may differ among organizations. The important thing is to have someone that understands the multidisciplinary approach needed effectively to manage ESI. This person cannot just manage how information is categorized, stored and destroyed—today’s companies need more.

Having an IT Director is no longer good enough because that person although great at IT direction usually doesn’t have a voice in the company’s overall direction. Sure, an IT Director is great at fixing issues and managing complex data, but unless that individual is privy to critical information, he or she cannot communicate legal risks and protect the company.

The growing number of rules governing ESI—along with more legal risks and cases being brought to the table—has created the need for large companies to designate a representative.

What will the ESI Director or Risk Director do?

A Risk or ESI Director has to possess an in-depth understanding of your company’s legal, business and IT structure, processes and policies in order to handle ESI across various mediums—and protect the organization in the event of a legal situation. This person needs to be able to represent all of those interests and voice them to the organization as a whole in order to identify risks and reduce liability. He or she also needs to be able to take complex ESI information and make it relatable for professionals in all departments—not just the IT team.

Who would make a good ESI Director or Risk Director for your company? Perhaps it is time to start thinking about adding this type of professional. Companies need to invest in this kind of expertise in order to best represent their ESI and their organizations as a whole.

Does your company have a dedicated person in charge of ESI or just use an IT professional to handle it?

A Field Guide to Enterprise Records Management