Sedona Conference Cautions Against Siloed Approach to Information Governance

By Victoria Hudgins | April 17, 2019 at 12:30 PM via Legal Tech News powered by

Last week, the Sedona Conference released an update to 2014′s “The Sedona Conference Commentary on Information Governance.” The report stressed veering from a siloed approach to information governance to a company-wide collaborative process.

“Knowingly or not, organizations face a fundamental choice: They can control their information, or, by default, they can allow their information to control them,” the report cautioned. It added that inefficiently controlled data can be a “dangerous” source of risk and liability or cause increased costs.

Traditionally, individual departments have governed information in a way that results in decisions being made without sufficient consideration of information value, risk or compliance for the organization, according to the report. Such an approach results in duplicate technology and unneeded expenses and ultimately prevents the efficient sharing of information.

In an effort to break that common occurrence, Sedona updated its information governance commentary and explained how the traditional approach has prevented a more adequate consideration of data.

In its principles for information governance, Sedona outlines various elements of an effective program. Those principles include representing all stakeholders’ views and needs in the program; effectively, timely and consistently disposing of information that’s no longer needed; leveraging technology; and considering data privacy and security as well as risk management and sound business practices.

Cheryl Strom, records information manager of a global company’s workplace information management and office services and drafting team leader of the Sedona Conference report, noted support from the C-suite is also vital for successfully implementing a company-wide information governance program.

“It’s important to have that sponsorship from that level. That way, employees will be more apt to comply and more on board with following an information governance program or information governance policy,” she said.

After everyone has adopted the program, the company would have a framework for defensible disposition, and more reliable and efficient processes for e-discovery, audits and investigations, the report noted. Along with reduced storage costs and less administrative burdens, leaner storage also improves the accessibility and use of valuable information across an organization.

However, there can be hesitancy to adopt new information governance programs. Strom noted resistance to new policies could be stoked by reluctance to change or cost fears.

“I think there’s resistance because of culture and the costs involved and resources required, she said. “But I think if we can emphasize the overall benefits of an information governance program, that can help to minimize the resistance and support of the program in an organization.”

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