Information Governance

How to Create an Effective Information Governance Strategy

Nicole Miller Marketing

Information Governance in 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly made a huge impact in the way businesses operate. Suddenly working from home became a global norm, causing IT teams to scramble to secure access for remote workers. While IT may have been on top of enterprise security and compliance, those in records and information management (RIM) roles know all too well that users do not always operate according to policies. With newly dispersed workforces comes new challenges for information governance programs. Users who lean towards the path of least resistance may be less concerned with compliance and more concerned with completing tasks, leading to risks with substantial consequences.

As organizations roll into the new year, it’s important to recognize common challenges brought on by this new way of working and implement information governance strategies to mitigate potential risk.

Common risk factors may include:

  • Content sprawl due to saving critical business information in “quick reference” locations like file shares or desktops instead of designated corporate repositories
  • Lost or missing records stored in unstructured sources
  • Non-compliance with corporate policies because users no longer have access to on-premises systems

What is Information Governance?

Before implementing an information governance program, it is important to fully understand the different components that go into information governance.

Information Governance is the overarching and coordination strategy for all organizational information. Information governance enables efficient location and retrieval of records while ensuring all personal information is handled legally and securely. Simply put, it makes information a valuable asset while reducing its liability.

When there is a vast amount of data storage software, how can you successfully perform consistent Information Governance?

Where do I start?

Discover and Analyze

You don’t know what you don’t know. The first step to creating a successful information governance program is to gain visibility into the data you have, including discovering the unknown data in unstructured sources. When finding your data, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many SharePoint sites or content repositories do you have?
  • Do you have multiple OneDrive locations?
  • How old is your data? Are you at risk for keeping old data that has remained untouched for years?
  • Are you putting you and your company at risk by keeping sensitive data exposed?

By asking these questions and consistently running file analytics, you will better understand your data so you can locate and manage critical business information that may have been lost or hidden.

Migrate Content

With the rising cost of renewals, upgrades, and essential software maintenance, many companies are choosing to migrate systems to save money and increase access. However, migrating data is more complicated than a simple copy and delete process. It requires analysis, planning, and change management to be successful.

With an analysis of data, you can determine if your current system is able to handle migrated data in an organized and effective way. You are also able to decide which files need to be migrated and which can be disposed of. By adding the right metadata to your files, you will be able to migrate data without losing the data infrastructure’s integrity previously created.

The entire migration process takes time. It can take days to weeks to complete. It is essential to communicate with your user community to minimize disruption and drive adoption of the new system.

Manage Information 

The issue of unorganized data does not have to be a reoccurring one. Take control of your information by implementing an effective records management program. In-place records management may just be the secret ingredient to keeping sprawling data at bay without burdening your users. Once you gain visibility into the type of information your organization has and determine the systems you want to use moving forward, in-place records management can put policy on records where they exist. This way, organizations can implement a records retention strategy on all content, regardless of location, from a centralized location. Users can easily manage disposition processes to ensure compliance while also keeping content sprawl under control.

For more information of implementing your Information Governance goals, check out our webinar:

New Year, New Information Governance Goals