“Information today is spiraling out of control,” observed Alyssa Blackburn, VP of Records and Information Strategy at AvePoint during a recent presentation in partnership with Access. She explained that “Not only is there too much of it to manage, but oftentimes, organizations don’t have the information and metadata they need to deal with it properly.”
Many organizations struggle to understand exactly what information is contained in the massive amount of unstructured data they own. What needs to be kept and what’s needed to conduct business can be difficult to determine.
There isn’t a single, one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to managing, securing, and governing your organization’s enterprise content. However, these are the three common challenges you’re likely to face when dealing with enterprise content.
Lack of Forethought When Adopting New Systems
Organizations have had to take quick and decisive action during the sudden shift to remote work. Decisions made two years ago have made for a complex and changing landscape as the situation continued to evolve, and many organizations didn’t plan for how that information might be governed.
For instance, the use of communication and collaboration platforms like Microsoft 365 continues to grow at an exponential rate. As of April this year, Microsoft’s quarterly earnings report states that the number of simultaneous users breached 345 million total and has seen a 17% YOY growth. The ability to manage, retain, and disposition the records created in workspaces like Microsoft 365 requires a lot more than a plucky information management professional.
Approximately 15% of policies change each year. Couple this with the vast number of systems and records, and it quickly begins to feel like there isn’t enough time in a day to properly manage and govern the information at hand. Information management professionals need a way to centralize all of those updates, compare them to the latest privacy and retention regulations they are subject to, and automatically distribute them to their systems, including Microsoft 365.
Digital Transformation from Physical to Electronic Information
There’s a clear ‘iceberg effect’ when it comes to enterprise records. There’s the information that employees need to complete their work on a day-to-day basis, and the information that’s required to be retained to achieve compliance.
Below the water, the bulk of records and information that’s retained is made up of ‘dark data’ that is unknown, unstructured, and lacking the metadata necessary to understand how to manage, secure, and govern it. Gartner estimates that this chunk keeps growing and comprises as much as 90% of all new data created.
Having an exorbitant amount of information where it’s not clear how sensitive the information is, or how long it should be retained, can be a huge risk for your organization. Just like the iceberg that sunk the Titanic, the ‘iceberg of enterprise records’ has the potential to cause harm to your organization if not managed, secured, and governed properly.
To steer the ship away from the threat of dark data, there are several important initiatives that need to be undertaken:
- Ingest and automate the application of metadata using an AI- or ML-powered platform that can understand what sort of document it is, how it’s being handled, and any other applicable metadata
- Update or create a record retention schedule that is compliant with all applicable legislation
- Streamline your digitization process and make it as easy as possible for employees to use digital files as opposed to the physical format
- Shift to a digital-first mindset so that new documents are created according to information governance best practices (metadata applied, version control, etc.)
Rescuing Stranded Records
According to a Lead2Market survey of highly regulated organizations, 60% are facing increasing complexity and require new technology to manage records policies and corporate records across many legacy systems.
The reason behind this is nearly every organization in the survey was dealing with at least one platform that wasn’t in use for its original business purposes any longer. Yet, these legacy systems must be kept active to serve as an ad hoc repository for the records they contain.
As one of our healthcare clients described it they’re dealing with a 15-year retention rule and they “find it extremely difficult to shut down aging applications because they contain records we must maintain.” In most cases, it would be a time and resource-intensive process to extract those records, and the technology, due to its age, likely isn’t integrated with the more modern, business-critical functions in the larger technological infrastructure.
Those records are, in effect, stranded. The solution to rescuing stranded records is, ironically, to add an additional piece of technology as an extraction layer that sits between both systems. Solutions like Access Unify™ | Secure Compliance can help extract and centralize those files in hours or days, not weeks or months.
By taking a proactive approach to the three common challenges organizations face when managing, securing, and governing enterprise content, you’ll be able to ensure your organization remains in compliance.
Looking to learn more about how to effectively address enterprise content at scale? Check out the full presentation of Managing, Securing, and Governing Your Content.