Information Governance

Common Information Governance Challenges and Solutions

IT governance establishes the policies, processes, and controls used to manage and utilize an organization's ...

IT governance establishes the policies, processes, and controls used to manage and utilize an organization's information optimally. However, no solution is perfect. Information governance challenges can impede efficiency, data quality, and compliance. Some could even create security issues. Through understanding these IT challenges, businesses can strategize and implement effective solutions to overcome them.

information governance challenges

Table of Contents

Common Information Governance Challenges

As organizations navigate the digital landscape, several common IT governance problems emerge that can directly impact operations. Understanding these complexities is the first crucial step towards managing them effectively and maintaining the integrity and security of critical data.

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Lack of Resources

A lack of resources, both human and technological, often poses significant challenges to information governance. Insufficient staff expertise or poorly equipped IT infrastructure causes businesses to struggle to manage and secure their data effectively. This resource deficiency can lead to unaddressed vulnerabilities, making it more difficult to identify and fix potential issues.

These information governance challenges can lead to significant operational disruptions and financial losses if not promptly addressed. Therefore, efficient and secure information governance requires the appropriate level of investment to ensure IT teams do not cut corners.

Difficulty With Data Classification

Data classification is the process of moving data into categories for efficient use and secure protection. The rapid expansion of data volumes and the varied nature of data types make it difficult to identify, categorize, and handle data. This can lead to mismanagement, misuse, or even loss of vital business information.

The implications of improperly classified data can be far-reaching, including significant financial penalties, reputational damage, and potential legal action. An effective data classification system is a cornerstone of strong information governance, so companies should address this challenge as quickly as possible.

Legacy Systems

Legacy systems refer to any outdated software, hardware, or technologies a business still uses. These systems often pose a significant information governance challenge. No longer supported or updated by their vendors, these systems are typically incompatible with newer technologies. This can limit the efficient integration of modern data management tools.

Additionally, these systems often lack the robust security features of their modern counterparts and no longer get security patches or updates. These information governance challenges expose the organization to an increased risk of data breaches.

Legacy systems can become a proverbial Achilles' heel in the IT infrastructure. In an era where data breaches can result in substantial financial penalties and reputational damage, modernizing these systems and software is crucial in mitigating information governance issues.

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Regulatory Compliance

Data privacy regulations are constantly changing, with governments worldwide strengthening their controls on data usage. This makes it increasingly challenging for organizations to adhere to local and international rules when dealing with customer data and other sensitive information.

Companies must comply with all applicable laws related to handling personal data and its storage within or outside a particular jurisdiction. Non-compliance with relevant standards and regulations can lead to potentially severe financial penalties. Here are some of the most important regulations:

  • GDPR
  • CCPA

The need for compliance means businesses must stay informed about the latest developments in data privacy regulations. Doing this ensures their information governance practices are continually updated to maintain compliance.

Managing Unstructured Data

Unstructured data refers to information that is not organized or easily searchable, such as emails, videos, recordings, and some scanned documents. When data does not have a pre-defined structure or schema, it can become difficult to find even with advanced searches.

As organizations increasingly move towards digital solutions for managing their data and communicating with stakeholders, the amount of unstructured data has skyrocketed. This can create significant information governance challenges.

The sheer volume and diversity of unstructured data can make it challenging to identify, control, and manage. This increases the risk of security issues and non-compliance with regulations.

If your business hasn’t implemented an effective email archiving solution, you should! Take a look at our blog on the importance of email archiving and how it relates to compliance.

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The Critical Role of Information Governance in Organizations

Managers often believe strict information governance is only for highly regulated industries. It is true that healthcare facilities, law firms, financial institutions, and government agencies face the biggest risks and IT governance challenges. This stems from their attractiveness to hackers for their treasure troves of data. However, virtually all organizations have some valuable data, especially if they accept online payments or store sensitive data.

Consequently, all organizations face information governance issues and should implement strategies to overcome this. Here are additional reasons IT governance should rank at the top of your strategizing list this year onward.

Established Policies Mitigate Risks

Establishing clear policies shows the organization's commitment to proactively mitigating risks and reducing information governance challenges. These policies serve as the roadmap for employees, dictating data management's dos and don'ts. Established procedures ensure consistency in practice. With these policies, companies can enforce stringent security measures, safeguarding their data assets against potential breaches.

Well-established policies foster transparency and trust with stakeholders by demonstrating the organization's commitment to data security and regulatory compliance. These policies also educate the employees about their responsibilities towards data management, empowering them to exercise more vigilance.

With policies in place, it becomes easier to identify and address non-compliant behavior promptly. An established and effective policy can also help an organization prove compliance.

Efficient Data Management Reduces Storage Costs

Data storage prices are on the rise. As more companies move to the cloud, new cloud service providers have moved into the space to offer solutions. The top contenders are Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

When storing bad data alone can add up to $15 million to Fortune 500 budgets, companies must keep only the data they need and purge what they don't. Familiarity with laws affecting payroll records, financial records, and personal data for consumers should be at the forefront of the plan to tackle information governance challenges like this.

Organizations can use automation to periodically purge the documents that reach the end of their life cycles. For example, companies should hold employment records for one year after the date of an involuntary termination. A company could use the minimum requirement or set its system to purge records like these after two years.

Daily Data Backups Protect the Organization's Security Posture

Companies may need to rely on backups to restore systems for several reasons. For example, employees may accidentally delete data, or an organization could suffer a ransomware attack. In 2021, a Colorado company allegedly faced a ransomware breach. The IT director reported that systems failed across the board, which caused alarm.

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The team ran to the server room and started to unplug machines to stop the ransomware from spreading further. Shortly afterward, the ransomware hackers sent a note demanding $3.6 million in Bitcoin. If the company paid, it would receive the decryption key. Otherwise, it could not gain access to its own system.

Instead of cooperating, the company contacted the FBI and restored the network from backups. Eight days later, the IT team completed full system restoration without paying the ransom. Other organizations can achieve results like this by including regular backups in their IT governance plans.

Strong Security Postures Inspire Public Trust

Microsoft is the undisputed champion of workplace systems. However, Google has become a strong contender and its commitment to security has bolstered its image. For example, ChromeOS encrypts hard drives and completely wipes the system if you cannot remember the password. ChromeOS also has no known ransomware incidents at the organization or the consumer level.

In its Hacking Google series, the tech giant explains how its recognition of information governance challenges led to it becoming a force against malicious threats. The incidents it handles include hacks from government agencies. These experiences and its commitment culminated in the creation of GCAT, which allows Google to lend its cybersecurity assistance to other organizations.

Admittedly, Google is an extreme example. Few companies can match its resources to bolster their security positions. Nevertheless, it shows how a strong commitment to safety can boost public image and consumer trust, even as an underdog in the operating system market.

How Cloud Migration Services Affect Information Governance Challenges

Migration to cloud services can significantly impact information governance. Organizations must review their roles in the shared responsibility model used for cloud protection and adjust accordingly. The cloud itself can offer protection through cloud-hosted SEIM, SOAR, and other security tools.

Companies should also consider the safety of their data and networks during the migration process. Our teams follow the strictest security protocols to protect data and eliminate vulnerabilities during the process. We also assist with data retention and expiration.

By leveraging secure cloud services, organizations can focus on their core operations and feel assured that their information governance challenges are under control. Choose Cloudficient today for a seamless and secure transition to the cloud.

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