Arkansas Records Management: explains information governance

If you have not yet heard the term "Information Governance," make a mental sticky note to become more familiar with the term and the issues it addresses. Few will argue the point that new sources of information and methods of disseminating that information are growing exponentially. The need to manage that burgeoning information flow grows on a parallel track whether we like it or not: Enter "Information Governance," the means by which we get a handle on managing that information growth.

• An organized direction.

Information governance is a set of structures, policies, procedures, processes and controls created to manage information at an organizational level. Information governance properly implemented enables organizations to address present and future regulatory, legal, risk, environmental and operational requirements

• Information governance is risk management.

What does this mean? In a nutshell, the risks and costs of electronic discovery and compliance are so massive that litigation readiness has escalated to new heights in the corporate hierarchy of urgency. Information governance takes the concepts of records management and uses those concepts to circle the wagons and manage all information within an organization.

IBM defines information governance as a holistic approach to managing and leveraging information for business benefits and encompasses information quality, information protection and information life cycle management.

• Why do businesses and organizations care?

Here are the benefits: manage risk; cut costs; gain visibility; simplify e-discovery

• Defining records and records relationships is the key.

In records management, a crucial facet is defining and classifying which documents are "records" and which are not. Records are to be retained and managed differently than other documents. Think "record relationships." For instance, if a firm has a policy that all contracts and supporting documentation is to be kept for 10 years, any email messages that contain a contract or supporting documentation must be retained for 10 years.

With information governance, these practices are expanded even more. Even the metadata that describes information content and electronic information location has to be managed as well. Otherwise, the cost to produce electronic information for litigation support or regulatory compliance becomes unmanageable and cost-prohibitive.

• Information equipment is included

When management implements an information governance program, not only are the documents and information managed, but the physical equipment that houses information, such as servers and laptops, and smartphones, as well. IG encompasses a much broader spectrum than records and information, with the focus on risk management.

David Reagler is president of Arkansas Records Management.

Contact him with any questions about information governance or other records management solutions at 501-525-5752.

Business on 05/04/2015

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