Future-proofing Your Information Governance Program
Today, Information Governance (IG) has become an essential component. A holistic information governance program makes assets available to organizations looking to streamline management, lower storage costs, and reduce risk. Companies are swiftly adopting the IG approach to manage corporate information assets by implementing processes, controls, and metrics.
However, with this new year, information governance professionals (IGPs) face a set of new challenges. With our new work-from-home culture, a myriad of new compliance risks lies on the horizon. How can organizations best manage information security and compliance threats while empowering their remote workforce? And how can business leaders strengthen IG?
How to Build an Information Governance Program for the Future
The future of IG is only going to become more and more complex. With the amount of data coming at us and new types of information being created and shared in different formats, there’s a strong need to prioritize. Part of the governance framework is coming up with a strategy. While many organizations believe adapting is enough, IG requires a much more proactive rather than reactive approach.
Here are a few ways to future-proof your information governance program:
- Don’t expect a quick fix. Given the sheer volume and growth of information, a blended technology and process approach is needed. One will not succeed without the other to confront impending challenges and ensure long-term business continuity.
- Perform a records management audit. Developing the right long-term strategy requires an assessment of where your most valuable and most at-risk information resides. A records management audit enables you to inventory the many information sources across your organization and understand how they flow among its users. Additionally, an audit provides an opportunity to reexamine your policies and procedures to retain records and handle risk management.
- Find the right balance. As more employees work remotely, business information is being and shared on various channels and online platforms. Finding the right balance between enabling innovation and enforcing governance is pivotal. A comprehensive IG program enables your organization to manage rampant data growth over multiple repositories while also complying with burgeoning e-discovery and regulatory requirements.
- Update policies and procedures. Reviewing policies and procedures regularly keeps your organization updated with regulations, technology, and IG best practices. Policy review ensures that your processes are current and effective.
- Establish categories for valuable information. To reduce storage volumes and gain control over information flow, creating categories for important information is paramount. Creating records categories and repositories to transfer valuable information to helps establish a consistent IG taxonomy.
- Develop a communication plan. Legal, Records, and IT departments often work in silos and may be unaware of shared company initiatives. Building those bridges and streamlining communications keeps all parties informed and up-to-date with company-wide rollouts. By forming a communication plan, you will achieve more success getting your program off the ground than those that haven’t.
- Consider an integrated approach. As we continue to shift towards a more digital workplace, having access to important information is a must. Converting paper files into digital formats enables you to find and share information more efficiently. On the flip side, you may have records with unique physical retention requirements to meet compliance obligations. Consider working with a records management vendor that offers physical document storage and scan on demand services for a hybrid information management solution.
- Make IG a collaborative effort. Partnership—with vendors, staff members, key business departments, and executive leaders—goes a long way. A team effort is essential to streamline IG processes, automate workflows, strengthen security, and build momentum toward a well-functioning IG program.
- Leverage privacy awareness. If you’re looking for executive buy-in, explain how data breaches can affect your bottom line. The average cost of a data breach in 2018 was $3.86 million, with figures rising. From the cost of losing access to mission-critical data to the potential liability of being at fault for leaking client information, put a price on everything. You’ll find it’s a lot easier to get the resources you need.
- Centralize document management. As an emerging regulatory compliance landscape continues to shape the future of IG, having a safe and secure document management system is more essential than ever. Document management software or a cloud-based document management system will improve processes, save time, and keep you compliant with the changing times.
- Set KPIs and benchmarks. To develop policies, budgets and make the right decisions about what technology is needed, you need to know what’s working and what isn’t. Setting key performance metrics helps you know where you stand and what errors need to be fixed.
- Perform ongoing employee training. Your IG policy is only effective if it’s complied with. As you embrace new technology and update policies and procedures, train your staff on the best practices for information lifecycle management. Inform your team about the latest policy updates to encourage employee adoption.
Establishing a successful Information Governance program can be challenging. Partnering with an information management provider can help navigate you through your journey. At Vital Records Control, we’re here to work with your team to design a comprehensive solution that aligns with your retention, compliance, and document management requirements.