How Could an Information Governance Program Impact You?
So you are interested in Information Governance. Maybe you’ve even started wondering how an information governance program could impact you in your worklife. IG programs usually start small but end up touching every facet of an organization. This post lists some of the ways an Information Governance Program could impact key departments in your organization.
Changes you might notice when an Information Governance Program is implemented:
Avoiding HR catastrophes becomes easier. Since one of the most important aspects of information governance is knowing what’s in an organization’s data, an Information Governance program should introduce regular internal audits (Check out our Data Audit Guide). For HR, it means being able to monitor email communication amongst colleagues and verify that the email usage guidelines are followed. Undesirable situations could be stopped before there are real consequences. Enforcing policies with a data leak prevention tool could also stop out-of-policy email messages from being sent altogether, and alert HR, who could deal with the situation before any damage is done.
When information is retained for the appropriate amount of time and then defensibly deleted, there is a lot less of it to search during litigations. Defensibly deleted data also can’t be a liability for a case. What seemed like an ocean of data to swim through becomes a river, and you’re on a boat, going to all the right places. As evidence is gathered swiftly, early case assessment is fast-tracked. The decision to go to trial or to settle is no longer such a gamble, because information with metadata paints a clearer picture of the case. Having an efficient way to perform legal holds means the information needed can’t be tampered with, so there is less risk of losing a case because of data spoliation.
For someone working in compliance, an Information Governance Program means finally being empowered with the right tools and support to do your job. Data loss prevention policies can be properly enforced. Data can be audited to ensure everything is safe where it is and treated how it should be. All necessary steps are taken to protect sensitive data and improvement is continual. Email is archived in WORM format for the required period of time. Data can also be retrieved easily in case of external audits or information requests - critical requirements to a lot of regulations out there.
For the IT department, new software to manage and procedural changes to implement may seem like just another item to add to an already long job list. However, as the program progresses, if you play your cards right, information governance can free up IT resources and allow the team to concentrate on different projects (and maybe not work on the weekends). Another benefit is that with Legal performing eDiscovery, IT doesn’t have to do it anymore. And compliance officers can audit the system, another job that IT won’t need to do. Also, proper information management reduces the time needed to control damage in case of system failure. Finally, better security reduces the number, severity, and associated stress of cyber attacks.
If your job is to ensure that goals are reached, information governance will help. Deleting all the ROT (redundant, obsolete and trivial) data on your systems will cut storage costs, freeing up budget for more strategic expenses. Better information availability will make your staff more productive, making deadlines easier to meet. IG can also streamline remote work, which could improve your team’s satisfaction. Strengthened security brought by better information management will reduce the human factor risk and overall risks of cyber attacks. As a result, the unnecessary overhead of recovering from them, which can include fines, reputation damage control, IT overtime, operations downtime, and customer churn, is also minimized.
What information governance can definitely ease for finance staff is forecasting. Easier access to better information facilitates the job and improves the accuracy of financial forecasts. Good information governance practices are also a big help for businesses that want to be acquired. Facilitating the merger and acquisition means less financial risk.
What can change in the day-to-day of all members of an organization?
On an organizational level, the most apparent shift after an Information Governance Program is implemented is data culture. Information sharing and availability is improved and barriers come down when data is stored in an appropriate way.
Improvements you might notice:
Content creation is streamlined (reduced duplication of effort).
People are empowered by information. Not having to wait for an email reply to get a tiny detail about a project will empower many to take decisions more confidently and quickly. This could reduce frustration and make people happier to do their job.
Everyone will become accountable for their data. Less junk will be created and records should be richer and more accurate. This drives better customer service, marketing, decision making and so on.