Information Governance

4 Common Mistakes in Information Governance and How To Avoid Them

Large organizations handle a tremendous amount of information. Good management of that information impacts your ...

Large organizations handle a tremendous amount of information. Good management of that information impacts your business in multiple ways, from the customer’s experience to regulatory compliance to organizational efficiency.

However, digitizing information access, storage, and transfer makes maintaining control much more challenging, with potentially devastating consequences, particularly if your organization handles sensitive data and information. These are the four most common mistakes in information governance.

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Table of Contents

1. Lacking a Clear Information Governance Strategy

A governance strategy for information flow provides a formal approach and framework for handling your business’s information, improving efficiency and security across the organization. If your company utilizes on-premises servers, your strategy should incorporate policies and procedures for information creation, storage, access, and flow within your organization, on the server, and on every computer. It also has to include measures for the physical property to prevent unauthorized access to the systems that handle your company’s information.

If you have or are migrating your technology system to the cloud, you must ensure cloud security to reduce internal and external risks. Evaluate your approach to information governance to determine whether you are implementing a clear, holistic plan.

No Clear Plan

One of the most common mistakes businesses make is not developing a clear plan. You might know you need to manage the vast amounts of information you deal with. However, a haphazard and informal approach does little to facilitate this.

The first step is to assess your information landscape to determine:

  • What types of information your company handles
  • Which types are sensitive
  • What information still has value
  • Which data are simply taking up space and should be disposed

Once you have a clear picture of your information landscape, you can create a governance framework, providing the scope and structure for managing the information life cycle, organizational roles and access, policies, procedures, and metrics for measuring success.

Siloed Approach

Siloing is another of the most common mistakes in information governance. A strong organizational strategy and framework can help you break down the information siloes within your company. A siloed approach leads to inconsistencies and inefficiencies in information management, increasing risks and potentially impacting your bottom line.

Cross-organizational collaboration protects information integrity and reduces vulnerabilities. Establishing a formal set of policies, procedures, and roles across your company improves security whether your employees work on site or remotely. Regulatory compliance and risk mitigation are also more effective when everyone is on the same page.

Evaluate how your organization approaches information governance to ensure you're implementing a clear, simple, holistic plan.

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2. Failing To Align Information Governance With Business Objectives

How your company handles information has implications for your business. While the free flow of information throughout the organization might initially seem the most efficient for staff, it often introduces inefficiencies, such as increased costs and poorer customer experience. Failing to align IG with business objectives is another one of the most common mistakes.

No Business Context

When developing a framework for managing your organization’s business, you want to create it within the context of your business operations. You need a big-picture view of your business’s information requirements, necessitating an examination of how you utilize information within each aspect of your business, including:

  • Communications (emails, messaging, phone, and in person)
  • Transactions (financial, document sharing, and data transmissions)
  • Technology applications
  • Artificial intelligence applications
  • Customer interactions and experiences

Your approach to information governance should consider information within the context of your organization to streamline operations while implementing the necessary protective measures.

You must also consider your business’s objectives to optimize informational value while mitigating the risks. When you understand the information you handle within the context of your organization and its objectives, you can develop an approach that meets your business’s needs and goals without leaving you unnecessarily vulnerable to inefficiencies and risks.

Insufficient Executive Support

Often, gaining executive buy-in is a challenge for companies. Developing a formal and effective information management system requires an investment of personnel, time, and financial resources. This can be difficult if the C-suite does not fully comprehend the necessity and value of implementing an information governance strategy and framework.

Getting support from your organization's executives is critical for success. Without buy-in from the top, you have little hope of timely or consistent implementation. You will also lack the necessary resources to develop an effective information management system.

One of the best ways to get executive support is to see information from their perspective. Find ways to link governance to the business factors your C-suite cares about most.

3. Neglecting Information Security

information-security-2Information security is an increasing concern across industries and an essential consideration in information governance. Globally, the number of cyberattacks increased by 38% between 2021 and 2022, including attacks from email phishing, ransomware, and internal or external data breaches.

According to IBM, compromised and stolen staff credentials are the most expensive, with a single phishing attack or compromised email credentials costing companies an average of $4.9 million each. Cyberattacks can damage your company’s reputation, leading to consumer mistrust and lawsuits. It can also have serious regulatory compliance consequences.

Data Breaches

Protecting sensitive information is critical to preventing data breaches. A data breach exposes sensitive information — such as credit card, banking, and personal health information — to an unauthorized individual, intentionally or accidentally.

Measures that help protect sensitive information include:

  • Requiring users to create strong passwords
  • Implementing 2-factor authentication
  • Utilizing secure URLs
  • Training staff
  • Maintaining and updating security software

Your organization should also develop and implement a data breach response plan.

Insider Threats

One of the most common mistakes in information governance companies is not giving insider threats sufficient attention. An insider threat is one in which authorized individuals use their access to your organization’s information in a manner that harms your business or its customers, whether intentionally or accidentally.

Minimizing insider threats requires controlling access, identifying individual users, and monitoring use. Monitoring makes threat and breach detection easier and faster, allowing you to implement your response plan quickly.

4. Lacking Ongoing Maintenance and Oversight

Implementing an information management system and strategy isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it endeavor. To ensure success, you need ongoing maintenance and oversight.

Outdated Policies and Procedures

Letting policies and procedures fall behind current best practices is another one of the most common mistakes in information governance. Technology, regulations, customer and business needs, and cybercriminal tactics constantly evolve. Your policies and procedures need to keep up.

Assigning a team and allocating sufficient time for those involved to perform information management and governance duties helps your company stay on top of the ever-changing landscape. The team should schedule regular policy reviews and update procedures to meet changing requirements.

Creating an information governance plan is not just a one-time task. Ensure it is regularly reviewed and revised as the needs of your business evolves.

Inadequate Training and Communication

Without sufficient staff training and communication, your policies and procedures won’t achieve the desired outcomes. Too often, businesses overlook these elements when implementing a strategy.

Staff training should extend beyond onboarding new personnel. Consider establishing a regular training schedule offering refreshers for existing protocol and training any time policies and procedures change.

Communicating with employees about handling information must be timely, effective, and relevant to your staff, highlighting their role in protecting customer and organization information. You may also need to consider which forms of communication work best for staff in your organization based on your business’s structure and employee roles.

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Let Cloudficient Help You Maintain Information Governance During Your Cloud Migration

If your company plans to migrate to Microsoft 365, Cloudficient can help you maintain your information governance strategy during and following the switch. Our next-generation migration technology protects organizational and customer information, including sensitive information. We offer scalable solutions that will get you up and running quickly without breaking your budget. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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