It’s true, there’s something to celebrate every day. And today, February 18, is Global Information Governance Day! If you’re wondering what this is, by Wikipedia’s definition, Global Information Governance Day, or GIGD, is observed annually on the third Thursday in February in an effort to raise awareness for information governance (IG). The observance was started by Garth Landers, Tamir Sigal, and Barclay T. Blair in 2012. But why try to fit all that goodness into one day? Perhaps that is why February is information governance month!

What is information governance?

Wikipedia’s definition of information governance refers to the overall strategy for information at an organization, balancing the risk that information presents with the value that information provides. Access defines it as everything having to do with the capture, formation, usage, storage and deletion of information. It spans paper records, electronic documents, and any other kind of content and data governance. In addition to records and information management (RIM), IG draws on legal, risk, and IT expertise to protect, use, and drive value across the organization.

Information governance has familiar roots in RIM

What led to the need for information to be governed in the first place? It all began with records. A record can either be a physical, tangible object, or digital information such as a database, application data, or e-mail. The records lifecycle was historically viewed as the point of creation to the eventual disposal of a record.

As content generation exploded in recent decades, and regulations and compliance issues increased, traditional records management failed to keep pace. A more comprehensive platform for managing records and information became necessary to address all phases of the lifecycle, which led to the advent of information governance programs.

What does a good information governance program look like?

Access has decades of IG expertise and has built its business on providing information governance best practices solutions and guidance to companies that want to improve their IG program. In a nutshell, getting information governance right comes down to building and maintaining strong policies, enforcing those policies and of course, some good old-fashioned due diligence.

However, even with strong foundational data governance policies and procedures, it is often hard to execute an effective information governance program. Executive sponsorship, education of the workforce, facility of using the tools provided, core business processes and changing regulations can either accelerate or impede your program. To implement and manage a great records and information management program, you need to leverage a strong foundation in Information Governance best practices. An implementation program plan starts with data collection and an assessment phase to understand the state and currency of the IG policies and compliance adherence across the organization.

Building a strong information governance program

The information governance assessment phase can include in-depth interviews with key stakeholders, observation and inspection of workflows systems and business processes, and surveys of the workforce to gauge the depth of their understanding and compliance.

Information Governance program factors examined typically include:

  • Logistics of in-house resources available to implement an IG program
  • Level of involvement of executive sponsorship and the authority / leverage to enforce existing policies
  • Presence (or lack thereof) of training, education regarding retention, and defining information governance policies and other regulations
  • Use of audit mechanisms to ensure appropriate change management processes are in place and administered for increased overall program success

Access’ cloud-based retention and privacy compliance software, Virgo, has revolutionized retention schedule development and information management processes. Virgo works by creating a transparent and efficient process for navigating the complex legal requirements impacting operations. It can also help to automate retention schedules – saving time and reducing risk!

In fact, our proven methods have been used for years to customize regulatory reports of customers in complex, highly regulated industries while drastically reducing cost of compliance. Organizations that use Virgo as their information governance retention software are always audit ready.

If you’d like to make your celebration of Global Information Governance Day even more special today, try Virgo for yourself – register for this 90-day free trial of Virgo!