Streamlined, comprehensive information governance is one of the most critical tools for businesses to master. In today’s era of Big Data, managing everything from old records to last month’s data transactions to the most recent social media posts is not only possible but even expected. Yet, while companies are starting to move more toward recognizing the need for organized data governance, many are still forgetting an important detail: ensuring that their methods are conducive to potential electronic discovery efforts down the road.
An information governance assessment is critical to taking the current pulse of any data organization efforts that are already in place, as well as planning ahead strategically for data storage and management needs that are flexible and adaptable for your future evolution. Here are 10 tips to help complete your assessment with the greatest accuracy and efficiency.
1. Start as soon as possible. The earlier you can begin gathering evidence and data for your assessment, the less stressful it will be. It’s better to recognize that this is a time-consuming process and give yourself the needed leeway for a thorough assessment rather than get rushed and end up cutting corners that leave you with a patched-together IG strategy that doesn’t truly meet the needs of your business.
2. Inform your staff. Letting your employees in on your plans as soon as possible will ensure that things go more smoothly. They can also offer valuable insight into daily operations or ways to improve efficiency that can contribute to the development of your IG strategy.
3. Concentrate your efforts. Although this may seem like such a large project that it needs to be spread out in small bits across several days (or weeks), the results are usually more consistent and comprehensive if you set aside time for a more methodical “fell swoop” approach.
4. Don’t fly solo. No matter how much you may like handling things all on your own, this is one time where you want to call on the help of some extra eyes and ears. Recruit some talent to help you with your assessment according to the old adage that many hands make light work.
5. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Not everyone has a head for this kind of thing. If you’re not the organizing kind, don’t be afraid to delegate out the most vital tasks to team members who really shine this capacity. You can even set up a dedicated team or committee to take care of your IG assessment from start to finish.
6. Check your efforts against necessary guidelines. Industry-specific guidelines, like HIPAA compliance, will have a different set of standards. Double-check your processes and goals against these guidelines to ensure that all of the necessary metrics are being met.
7. Make use of existing resources. You’re not the only one conducting information governance assessments, which means there are plenty of resources out there like templates and other handy tools. You should also check with industry peers to get a feel for methods that have worked for setups that may be quite similar to yours.
8. Document everything. Keep notes on all your processes in case they need to be referred back to later on. Be sure that notations are standardized across all other team members who are assisting you with the assessment process.
9. Schedule review dates right now. The assessment isn’t a static, stand-alone process; committed action plans are required. Scheduling review dates as part of the assessment ensures that there are hard follow-ups for verifying that everything is right on track.
10. Ask for help if needed. It’s just information governance; there’s no need to be a hero. If you’re confused or struggling, ask for help, either from an internal source whose skillset is better suited for the project or from an outside organization with a higher level of expertise.
TERIS offers adaptable support at varying levels according to client needs, from extensive data storage to complex case review and analysis and computer forensics. If you would like more information about how TERIS can assist you, please contact us!
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