Automating Information Governance

Information governance and regulatory compliance are pressing challenges for every organization. No matter their size or market segment, organizations of all kinds must be able to preserve and present information when relevant for litigation and audit. Meanwhile, data privacy and compliance requirements are growing ever-more strict. And data breaches and cyber-theft are at an all-time high, with new and evolving technologies being used to instigate as well as prevent attacks.

Increasing Need for Good Governance

Improved approaches to information governance are more important than ever as companies continue to redefine their workflow and policies in the face of the impacts of coronavirus. According to research conducted by AIIM International, 73% of organizations surveyed said information governance was “important” or “critical” to their business prior to the pandemic. Now that number is close to 100%. But organizations also feel that they are not investing sufficiently in information governance; 43% say they are spending too little. This puts organizations at increased risk, especially now.

Post-COVID Governance Implications

You don’t get a “pass” on information governance just because of a little thing like a global pandemic. Records and information management professionals must stay on top of developing information governance techniques and technology, and then apply them accordingly to retention and disposition schedules. It is important to be consistent even in the face of uncertain working conditions. And don’t forget benchmark laws like HIPAA in the United States and Canada’s PIPEDA. The expectations of GDPR-like regulations will not go away and will likely take on an even more critical nature as organizations across the globe deal with the fluctuating business impacts of COVID.

Adopting Information Governance Automation

We are being compelled to take both defensive and offensive measures to protect the privacy and integrity of our data. Adopting information governance automation helps form more comprehensive strategies, since before any automation can be applied every organization must conduct a comprehensive assessment of information assets and grapple with retention and disposition policies and practice. How can you take charge? Consider these best practices and applications.

Electronic Discovery

Automating records management and disposition for eDiscovery is a policy that many organizations have adopted, and the trend is toward further automation. With automated eDiscovery, data is automatically copied, processed, filtered and loaded into review systems with limited human interaction. The scope of data collection is quantified and systems automatically build and track a full chain of custody. Default templates help to reduce inconsistencies that can present a risk in court.

Automated Data Monitoring for Security and Privacy

Automated network security monitoring tools offer new hope for catching data security threats that fly under the radar. This is important to reduce financial risk to the organization. Analysts estimate the cost to search through files using a basic search engine runs about $30 per gigabyte. So, if your business has 1TB of information to sort through, the estimated costs could start at $30,000 just for search.

Analytics to Identify Duplicate  Information

Data is duplicative by nature, but the way your operation stores and manages data is likely to be exposing it to unnecessary and costly redundancy. Most organizations today could very well have a cumulative data set that is anywhere from five to 10 times bigger than necessary. As a result, organizations are looking for ways to shed light on this dark content by first understanding where it exists, then eliminating the duplicate and out-of-date information and then putting proper information governance policies in place to manage the retention and disposition of the data.

AI and Machine Learning for Process Automation

According to the AIIM study, most enterprise organizations view process automation as important to their ongoing success. However, many (67%) report having less than half of their processes automated. As a result, a more expansive definition of information governance is emerging that has broader implications and benefits. When asked which core business processes are the most likely candidates for process automation a number of key areas of information governance and records management surfaced as high priorities. Production processes that are repetitive and standard are natural targets, but ad-hoc processes — those that are less frequent and standardized — are also being targeted by 40% of the organizations surveyed.

Looking to the Future

The amount of information that organizations must manage and protect continues to grow by leaps and bounds. IDC predicts that by 2025, worldwide data will grow 61% to 175 zettabytes. As volume continues to increase, companies will have less and less transparency into their actual data itself. This lack of visibility and the inability to manage and act on data effectively can result in inefficient, costly and high-risk situations when dealing with information governance challenges. Making things more difficult are the ever-changing and complex regulatory requirements that dictate how organizations need to manage their data.

Information governance automation may sound futuristic and mysterious, but the truth is that data automation technologies are already at work fueling important changes in the way information is managed every day. By automating complex and repetitive processes, organizations can dramatically streamline workflows, including those supporting information governance. But most of all, by taking the robot out of the human, employees are free to perform in more valuable people-like activities like working to bring about better decisions, better compliance, and better ways of working overall.

Effective information governance demands a complete ecosystem of modern technology with humans at the center. But in the near future, AI and process automation will significantly change the way humans interact with information, with the automation of data identification, classification, retrieval, archiving and disposal all within reach.

Moving Forward

Information governance and compliance are pressing concerns for C-suite leaders in all industries. With evolving compliance demands, quickly changing technologies, and ever-more pressing threats in cybersecurity, it’s easy to lose sleep at night. One way to rest better is to automate information governance and compliance. The technologies and approaches work to solidify your information governance strategy, while ensuring that policies and procedures are performed and adhered to automatically, every day.

Website | + posts

Kevin Craine is the managing director of Craine Communications Group. He is writer, podcaster and technology analyst, as well as the author of the book Designing a Document Strategy and a respected authority on document management and process improvement. He was named the No. 1 ECM Influencer to follow on Twitter.