As promised, in this column, I am going to start to sketch out the case for IG. This is critical, because success in IG requires fundamental changes to the way that companies think about information and how they should manage it. This means that IG, more than anything, is a change management exercise. And change management requires powerful simple messages to drive it. Thats what I hope to provide here and in my next few columns.
Information workers, who comprise about 63% of the U.S. work force, are each bombarded with 1.6 gigabytes of information on average every day through emails, reports, blogs, text messages, calls and more. - Dont You Dare Email This Story, Wall Street Journal
IG makes sense because it enables organizations to get rid of unnecessary information in a defensible manner. Organizations need a sensible way to dispose of information in order to reduce the cost and complexity of IT environment. Having unnecessary information around only makes it more difficult and expensive to harness information that has value.
Most statistics on the volume of digital information organizations create contain numbers so large that they are hard to comprehend (for example, the digital universe is estimated by IDC at 281 exabytes in size or 1 EB = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1018 bytes) = 1 million terabytes = 1 billion gigabytes). Organizations experience 30, 50, or even 100 percent annual growth in the volume of information they store. And the trend doesnt seem to be slowing down.
Although the cost of storage hardware continues to drop, storage hardware costs are just the beginning. According to IDC, the total cost of storage ownership far outweighs the initial purchase price of the hardware, and includes factors such as migration, outage, performance, information governance, environmental, data protection, maintenance, and staff costs.
Organizations often claim that they are just keeping a piece of information for now. Without a firm plan in place, this really means keeping it forever. After all, unless you plan on keeping a piece of information forever, you will need to make a destruction decision about it at some point.
Will that destruction decision be easier or more difficult in the future? After all, in three, five, or ten years will:
IG, with its legal and compliance foundations, provides a defensible approach to disposing of unnecessary information. The combination of good policies around retention of information during normal business operations and preservation of information during legal holds and litigation or regulatory investigation protects your organization.
It's important to note that the law doesnt require us to keep everything forever, but only IG provides a defensible framework to help us get rid of the information we dont want and arent required to keep.
Ensuring the right information is available to users when needed is regarded as the highest business priority for large companies . . . and the vast majority of decision-makers believe that an effective information strategy has a very significant impact on this top business goal. - Managing Information: Research Study on Customer Priorities and Challenges, RONIN Corporation
IG makes sense because organizations cant keep everything forever, nor can they throw everything away. We need the right information, in the right place, at the right time. Only IG provides the framework to make good decisions about what information to keep.
If we could throw away every piece of information created and received in our institutions whenever we wanted to, there would be little need for IG. The reality, of course, is much different. Information is how we do business and, to a greater degree each year, business success is influenced by how well we manage that information. Although most information is created by individuals, enterprises are responsible for the security, privacy, reliability, and compliance of most of the information these individuals create. This is the role of IG.
Some information we keep because of its business value. Some we keep because of legal requirements. By some calculations, there are thousands of laws and regulations in the U.S. alone that speak to the way organizations must manage their information. The role of IG is to parse those laws and regulations into practical policies and retention schedules that guide the organization on its proper management.