Archiving, Release, and Destruction of Information – The Importance of Information Governance as Preparation for Successful E-Discovery Series, Part 4

The Importance of Information Governance as Preparation for Successful E-Discovery

The first article of this series offered a basic introduction to information governance and how it differs from information management. Later articles have explored how information governance should influence the creation, ingestion, modifying, storing and the retrieval of information. Now we take a closer look at the destruction (or when appropriate, the archiving or release) of information. We conduct this examination to learn more about how information governance leads to a more successful e-discovery process.

The governance of information addresses all aspects of its life cycle, and no stage is more important than the final phase. Data volumes continue to rise at an increased velocity. Forbes Tech reports that 90 percent of all information has been created in the last two years. While the storage of data appears to be costing less and less, the real issue is whether or not it is safe to hold on to unwanted and unneeded information. If the properly authorized destruction of data significantly reduces the risk associated with keeping data, shouldn’t it then be destroyed?

The catch is in the phrase “properly authorized destruction of data.” How does an organization develop the process that oversees properly authorized destruction that is defensible if and when that process is taken to task?

Here are some additional statistics that should compel every organization to strongly assess, develop, adopt, deploy and manage the properly authorized destruction of data:

Most would agree that every organization has enormous stores of data that are unused and not leveraged for organizational gain. One of the culprits is unbridled growth coupled with no destruction governance. We have truly become information hoarders. We are being literally buried under our data and to the extent that the day may indeed already be upon us when we have no alternative but to grow our data stores and bear the risk of so doing.

A Better Approach

The alternative to simply storing all of this data being created is properly governing the destruction of data. It is an option that will mitigate the risks associated with storing unneeded data and will also result in identifying and then leveraging the data that is meaningful and useful.

It is critical to not lose sight of these key differences between merely managing information and truly governing it:

  • Governance increases focus and the requirement for policy compliance and sets in place the mechanisms to control and monitor adherence.
  • Governance will hand down negative consequences for noncompliance, much in the same way that the courts hand down sanctions for noncompliance.

The continued storage of data has the ever-increasing potential of harmful results. Keeping, archiving, cataloging and leveraging legacy data has been a solid and acceptable practice for hundreds of years. Simply storing data in perpetuity is both unnecessary and fraught with risk.

A solid understanding of information governance will open windows of opportunity even in the context of the destruction of data. Destruction is akin to cleaning out the garage, or the storage room, or the basement, or that extra room in the house where “stuff” has been collecting for years. We create the ability to use what is useful and rid our organizations of that which is unneeded and potentially harmful.


  • Big Data: 20 Mind-Boggling Facts Everyone Must Read


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