The idea of, even the practice of working remotely is certainly not a new concept. But the reality of working remotely has definitely been altered. Its former state was based on the individual; that is, a business approach allowing an individual to occasionally, or almost entirely, or in some cases completely outside the office environment. The greatest challenge to company executives in many cases was to ensure that certain positions were “manned” onsite, that an actual person was available to meet customers or perform certain functions. That requirement usually meant juggling remote time among staff, or some variation of that tactic. But then, as everyone well knows, March 2020 arrived with devastating consequences for our working environment. Now, remote work was no longer an “individual” concept, but a reality for entire workforces. And no business was, or could have been, close to prepared to adjust to the new, pandemic-driven structures. Without dwelling on these obvious happenings, I want to just briefly look at what this means for Information Governance, now and at least the near future.

I’m going to assume that pretty much all Information Governance (IG, as I will refer to this for brevity) professionals have a structure surrounding the IG programs they implement and/or manage. As with most all business disciplines, a sort of uniform structure exists for IG, and IG managers pretty much follow or at least are well aware of these basic structures. Of course, individual managers will revise and re-formulate their approach based on their education, training, and experience to build out their own structure to best fit the needs of their organization. Because of this, I’m not going to spell out any certain structure; instead, let’s talk about impact and adjustment.

IG managers first and foremost are charged with a great responsibility in modern business – to ensure that business information is properly maintained and shared as needed within the organization, and perhaps most importantly, is properly protected and secure. It’s a huge task – breaking down silos and proprietary attitudes regarding information that may have existed for decades; getting individual business units (BU’s) to collaborate, share and trust (!) one another. I’ve highlighted “protected and secure” because the forced move to massive remote working is one of the greatest impacts we face in managing our information. And IG must now adjust to that impact.

So what does that adjustment mean? I’ve looked for positive adjectives or definitions to apply – IG must be “energized”…yes; it must be “hip” or “cool” in its approach…no, give me a break; I know – it must have “synergy“, that sounds pretty modern and cool! It’s also applicable, with a definition being: “Cooperative interaction among groups, especially among the acquired subsidiaries or merged parts of a corporation, that creates an enhanced combined effect.”

So, I believe IG managers must be prepared to address the challenges surrounding information that is now stored in so many remote places, by people who are doing their best to keep track of the information they’re creating and managing, often perhaps with little direction or instruction. IG managers must ensure collaboration in sharing information – lawsuits and other litigation activities aren’t disappearing; regulatory audits, compliance requests, and RFI’s will continue; and internal compliance information audits will become more common and demanding as pressure to protect information becomes more critical. IG must bring Records Management, IT, Legal, Compliance, Risk, and other business units together like never before. It must help BU’s define file plans that adapt to remote user needs; assist Legal in understanding how to adjust legal hold requests to find, collect, and store eDiscovery-related information; help IT and RM revise and update their data maps and information maps; and most of all, help everyone ensure privacy requirements are met, and that cybersecurity and overall business security is heightened.

We are in demanding times, no doubt. All business organizations, departments, and employees must meet new demands. For better or worse, IG professionals must stand at the forefront to help everyone meet those demands, perform well in remote settings, and as we rotate back to a more office-oriented work force. It will happen…perhaps not the same, perhaps a stronger and better combination of remote and office environments. But one thing for sure…Information Governance will lead the change.

The post Information Governance in the Remote World of Business appeared first on greenlight_discovery.