You probably know how important it is for critical records to be securely managed and preserved. However, when developing an information taxonomy and architecture, many organizations are remiss in addressing the lifecycle of the content through information governance and records management. Information Governance and Records Programs are complementary, but not “one and done” projects. They work well together and continually evolve as the business, technology and regulations mature and change. A fully established program relies on people, process, and technology to support it.
How Does Records Retention fit in?
Together, a defensible Information Governance and Records Program should not only advise an organization how to define content and identify what records are important enough to be retained, but it should also indicate the level of confidentiality and privacy that need to be addressed. A retention policy promotes usability of content while at the same time, mitigates risks of over-retaining content which can result in costly litigation and audits. Retention policies are based on a combination of corporate policy, business risk tolerance, legal advice, industry best practices, contractual obligations, and regulatory requirements that help define the lifecycle of content. The Retention Schedule is the source of truth guiding an organization’s legal obligation on retaining, preserving, securing, and destroying content.
The Importance of an Established Information Governance and Records Program
The volume of information continues to grow year after year, and so do the risk factors, such as security breaches, lawsuits, and costly audits. The more information an organization generates and retains, the greater the responsibility for the organization to identify and minimize legal exposure caused by mishandling content. Without an established Information Governance and Records Program, it is hard for organizations to manage and eventually defensibly purge content. Controls need to be in place for proper management of the entire content lifecycle to happen.
A defensible Information Lifecycle program enables:
- Better management and control for the growth of content
- Compliance with regulatory, industry, privacy, and other laws and requirements
- Enforced consistency in how content is created and identified
- Improved search and usability of content
- Compliance with retention requirements in legal statutes and regulations so that organizations avoid costly fines
- Improved productivity and efficiency for users
- Reduced risks and burdens in discovery processes, investigations, and audits
- Minimized storage requirements (office, equipment, supplies, lease expenses, software, labor, and monitoring)
- Reduced time and effort to reconstruct mission-critical information in the event of disaster, theft, or other loss
These are all great reasons to value the yin and yang of a strong IG and Records Management program for businesses. While organizations continue their digital transformation journey, the marriage of Information Governance and Records Management becomes even more critical in protecting your organization’s key business assets.
To learn more about building a defensible records management program, check out this helpful resource: Whitepaper – How to Build a Modern Records and Information Management Program