e-Records 2017: “Data Protection and Information Governance across Data Silos”

This is the fifth post of a multi-part recap of the 2017 e-Records Conference. Presentation materials from the conference are available on the e-Records 2017 website.

  1. Information Governance: Take Control and Succeed
  2. The Public Information Act and Updates from the 85th Legislative Session
  3. TSLAC Wants Your Electronic Records
  4. Establishing Information Governance for Local Governments in Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365
  5. Data Protection and Information Governance across Data Silos

Due to rapid changes in technology, data protection and information governance are becoming a major challenge to the private sector as well as government entities. Because of these challenges, the following common issues arise:

  • Information is expensive to manage
  • Most information is dark/inaccessible, based on medium, volume, or steward
  • Understanding of information is constrained
  • Information managed, governed and stored centrally
  • Decisions are influenced by information from within the organization

The focus of records and information management professional is to reduce the volume of information stored while keeping it manageable and accessible. Based on this focus, Patrick McGrath, Director of Solutions Marketing – Archive, Search, Analytics, the following question to the audience, “Why do we store data?”

According to Mr. McGrath, there are many competing forces within private sectors and local government offices that determine the flow and content of information. Depending on the need, everyone looks at information differently. For instance, a real estate office is not going to view information the same as a housing office. Based on this argument, Mr. McGrath posed the following question, “What happens to the data after its stored?”. At this point, Mr. McGrath introduced the term “data sprawl” to the discussion. Data Sprawl is the various forms of information dispersed across various devices, systems, etc. For instance, a hospital or clinic which houses sensitive patient information disperses the information in various forms. Who receives the information and how it is received is based on privileges of the receiver as well as how the information is going to be used.

At this point, the presentation transitions to data storage challenges. According to Mr. McGrath, citizens, companies, work force, security and compliance concerns drive data usage and storage. When storing data, the user of the data must be able to:

  • Ingest the contents of the data
  • Understand the data
  • Govern the usage of the data
  • Recover the data
  • Use the data

Two key takeaways from this portion of the presentation is to know your critical/sensitive data and get rid of the data if you don’t need it.

To summarize, when developing an electronic records management policy within your organization, you must take the following into consideration:

  • Develop Information Governance as a core capability
  • Align data protection to the needs of the data and the business
  • Increase data intelligence
  • Drive data visibility across silos (storage areas)
  • Automate data policy

As changes in information technology continue to challenge both the private sector and state/local government entities, we must remember the overarching question posed by Mr. McGrath at the beginning of the presentation, “Why do we store data?”.


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