Compliance and Leveraging Information Governance – The Importance of Information Governance as Preparation for Successful eDiscovery Series, Part 2

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

Earlier in the series, we introduced the criticality of information governance for successfully negotiating the oftentimes tricky landscape of the e-discovery process. Ferris Bueller reminds us that “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” That fundamental philosophy has direct application to the governance of information.

Often we become so busy generating information that we do not take the time to examine how that process looks and how we can apply information governance principles from the very beginning. Appropriate preparation is essential. More and more professionals are uniting in the belief that information governance is the single most critical factor in maintaining control of big data.

The current EDRM begins with information governance and IG remains a key consideration throughout the process. In the first article of this series, we offered perspectives on what it means to govern information as opposed to manage it:

  • Governance increases the 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.

It is imperative to understand what IG is and how it differs from information management. IG hinges on compliance and how to successfully enforce compliance while maintaining acceptable workforce productivity.

Creation and Ingestion Compliance

Almost all organizations have policies and procedures to guide users along the most proper, efficient, effective and secure methods for creating and ingesting information. When a new document is created or downloaded, there are normally recommended steps to take. But the reality is that such procedures can be easily circumvented. The organization is then left with the task of managing the result.

The solution for compliance is tightly restrictive templates that rein in users from being creative and working “outside” the recommended procedures. This saves users from becoming noncompliant. Before users are allowed to create or to ingest any type of information into the organization, they are required to complete (comply with) system protocols for organizational compliance.

No doubt, in the beginning, acceptance can be challenging. As the new process matures, acceptance will grow.

Leveraging the Governance of Information

Benjamin Franklin is credited with coining many phrases, one of them being “time is money.” Efficiency and positive effectiveness are the two overarching attributes of information governance.

Dozens, maybe hundreds, of numerical calculations can be run to demonstrate the efficiencies gained from truly governing information by invoking and sustaining compliance. Following are a few considerations that can increase efficiency.

  • Metadata: All too often the use of metadata is “hit and miss” and not leveraged nearly as effectively as it could, or should, be. Profiling and templating data sets as information is created and/or ingested into the organization can provide enormous benefits. When appropriate, organizations should strictly govern the creation and use of metadata. This is easily measurable.
  • Time Stamping: Tracking data based on time is another means of governing and ensuring compliance. This is not just about when data creation or ingestion takes place, but allowing/disallowing the amount of time provided for that to occur. We have all experienced being “kicked out” of a function or a website as a result of a compliance measure or restriction not being met.

Positive effectiveness is another strong attribute of information governance, and while these might not be as numerous as the calculations, the impact is significant. Strengthening the positive and eliminating the negative impact of procedural work is a fundamental organizational goal. IG provides us with a powerful tool for doing so.

Compliance for its own sake is not enough. Organizations must be able to leverage that compliance and demonstrate how compliance is benefiting the organization.

We have now looked more closely at the creation and/or ingestion of information. Whenever possible, the best place to begin is always at the beginning. In an effort to better and more successfully govern information, the best place to start is with its creation, or when it is ingested into an organization.

Our next installment, Using, Modifying, Storing, Retrieving Information, will address the use, modification, storage and retrieval of information – why, how, where (from/to) and what will be next regarding information use are such intricate and deeply cumbersome questions that many organizations don’t even bother to examine them.

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