Why IT Leaders Should Care About Information Governance
The digital transformation introduced new risks to the organization. Now visionary IT leaders are taking charge of finding the solution.
The world of work has changed dramatically in the past few years. IT departments led that change, enabling an almost overnight transition to remote offices. With the continued popularity of hybrid work, many of the changes made at the onset of the pandemic are likely to become permanent. For IT leaders, that means confronting the complexities of the datasets they created.
What is information governance?
Information governance is the processes, policies and procedures that manage corporate information assets. It encompasses everything from data management and access to regulatory compliance and retention. A robust information governance policy defines the lifecycle of information based on its value to the business.
Typically, information governance is the responsibility of legal departments, not IT. In fact, the requirements of governance stakeholders often contradict the wishes of IT leaders! Nobody wants to create extra work for themselves or restrict the capabilities of the tools they invest in. But collaboration tools changed the way businesses approach the information they hold.
Collaboration tools present new challenges
Collaboration tools like Slack, Workplace, and Teams were crucial to the success of remote work during the pandemic. They provided sanctioned channels where employees could communicate in real time. Even better, employees like using them. For most businesses, collaboration is here to stay.
Part of the reason these tools are so popular is because they accelerate information sharing. That's the opposite of what traditional information governance policies want. Collaboration makes it easier for workers to do their jobs faster, but that also makes it incredibly risky.
Do you know what information lurks in your collaboration messages? How often have employees shared passwords or access codes? How many instances of unprotected PII/PHI/PCI are you storing? Are there restricted files uploaded to unsecure channels or groups?
Regulators are growing wise to the violations that lurk in these datasets. Since December 2021, major banks have paid almost $1 billion in fines for using unregulated collaboration tools. And courts have already ruled that they expect eDiscovery results from collaboration — no matter the cost to the business.
The temptation to remain unaware of the content of collaboration data is immense. But courts and regulators have made it clear that ignorance of infringement is no excuse. Time is running out for businesses to get ahead of these growing risks.
IT leaders are uniquely placed to mitigate this danger and improve the compliance posture of the entire organization.
How visionary IT leaders are reimagining information governance
Although your legal department owns information governance, it falls upon IT to enable those controls. Part of your duty when implementing new tools is to evaluate the risk they present and establish appropriate guardrails.
Instead of waiting for other departments to recognize this risk, proactive IT leaders are addressing information governance in collaboration right now. They are owning the solutions that could mitigate costly fines and penalties in the future by making collaboration data easier to control, search and purge. In so doing, they are unlocking even greater returns on their collaboration tool investments.
In today’s digital workplace, legal and infosec leaders need the support and insight of their IT colleagues. Together, you can deploy strategies that protect the organization and safeguard its data. Download the Aware Information Governance Checklist to understand the requirements of a successful information governance policy in your collaboration ecosystem.