By special guest blogger John Montaña J.D., FAI
The amount of information being produced and consumed every day seems overwhelming. Records are not just signed contracts and other traditional documents, but now email, texts, tweets and much more. All of this information can be an asset to an organization and must be managed consistently across the enterprise. If not, it may well be a liability.
Data is generated and comes into an organization in an increasing number of channels but all information, whether physical or digital, that an entity touches and processes must be managed in a risk-based framework. Information Governance (IG) is a framework for an organization to identify and manage their information/data/records/content at a strategic level, so as to make it an asset.
The rules around IG for traditional records management and physical documents have been well established. Although the landscape evolves rapidly, so too have standards and good practice arisen around electronic data. The problem lies in their application.
For instance, Information Governance assumes that for each data object being governed, you know where it is, what attributes it has and what kind of data it contains. That you know what rules apply to it and you are capable of applying the rules to it.
The reality for most organizations is that data location is unknown, data objects are not flagged with appropriate attributes, and contents are comingled so there is no way to apply the rules to a specific data object. This creates a major challenge.
The main sources of digital problems come from naïve and unrealistic assumptions about the law or technology, poor system configuration, no RIM/IG software or poorly chosen/configured RIM/IG software, and operator error.
Let’s explore these areas a little further:
Poor System Configuration
Naïve assumption: Just having the technology gets you a free pass on compliance.
Reality: The average IT system is cobbled together by accretion over time with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of systems with varying degrees of capability. Think about your IT systems. Do they “speak” to each other and do you have visibility into how they are interacting? The answer most likely is no. Most of the time, IT systems are assembled with no thought of compliance by people who have no knowledge of compliance.
No RIM/IG Technology
Naïve assumption: Records management technology is legally compliant out of the box.
Reality: Your records management technology should manage your information assets for compliance. It only works though if the software actually does what you think you want it to do, and you configure it properly to do so. What you do with your software helps to make you compliant, not the other way around.
Operator Error – Poor / Non-existent User Training
Naïve assumption: Users will know how to be compliant by using the software.
Reality: Another huge factor is the users of the RM software in your organization. Have they been properly trained to use the system properly and are the using it correctly and consistently? It is vital to do your research and find the right system for your needs. Equally important is providing ongoing training for key personnel so that the technology continues to work for you the way you need it to. IT does not perform compliance; it allows you to do it.
The 3 keys to governance success for your digital strategy are planning, planning, and planning. There must be a significant amount of time put into thinking and analyzing before you take any action such as designing an architecture, buying software, employing a cloud service, configuring software or moving data into a system. Every one of these is a step that is hard to walk back from. If you make an error, you will likely have to live with it.
Ready to take the next step? FileBRIDGE Governance is a powerful, cloud-based records management solution that enables organizations to access, protect and defensibly control both physical and digital records. Contact us to find out how FileBRIDGE can help you.
View the related webinar that we hosted with John Montaña to learn more about why a digital strategy requires Information Governance:
John Montaña, Principal of Montaña & Associates, is one of the world’s foremost experts for Information Governance and Records Management. He is highly sought after as a consultant, guest speaker, and industry expert source. Connect with him on Twitter: @johncmontana.