I met this grumpy fellow in Sabi Sands, South Africa, and took this picture with my phone (nope, no zoom… wish he’d been further away). The experience reminded me of the fable about the Blind Men and the Elephant, a classic allegory for how we often do not perceive the big picture, but instead only the part we directly encounter. This fable has become a useful metaphor for Information Governance. In so many organizations, individual departments and functions have their own, limited perspectives on information, seeing only the issues and objectives with which they are directly familiar. Limited perspective yields limited perception – not a good thing for identifying, understanding, and controlling organizational risk. Information Governance is the means through which organizations can bridge across such silos and perceive the big picture of information compliance, risk, and value.

Actually, I prefer a different version, restyled as the Blind Elephants and the Man.
Continue Reading Information governance in perspective

Once upon a time—back when paper ruled—junk mail was clearly junk.  We easily separated the bills from the ads, and it never crossed our minds to save the ads “just in case.”  Fast forward to today’s digital world, and we find that not only are we doubling the volume of data every two years, we are outpacing our storage and, arguably, our ability to manage it. We’re keeping the “ads” and a whole lot more.
Continue Reading Zero-based information governance

While governing my information (yep, cleaning up old email and files), I came across one of my early white papers on Information Governance, from 2010:  The Information Governance C Change. It can be cringe-inducing to revisit old material, but this piece seems as valid today as five years ago:

“Companies are awash in an ocean of data. E-mail servers are overflowing, troves of legacy data and documents are accumulating, rogue IT is proliferating, and social media and other Web 2.0 usage is seeping into the workplace. These same companies are also experiencing a sea change in their information compliance environment. E-discovery costs and exposures continue to mount, while courts’ expectations are escalating for compliant preservation, collection, and production of ESI. And new laws and regulations are expanding the reach of information privacy and security requirements to a broader range of entities and business operations.
Continue Reading Reclaiming information governance from the vendors

Some old problems never seem to go away. Email retention remains an obstinate dilemma for far too many organizations. Volumes continue to mount, with business email totaling 109 billion messages every day, and forecasted growth of 7 percent each year. Email archives and cloud email solutions address the symptom of overburdened servers, but these strategies do nothing to tackle the core problem, which is too much email, kept too long. And the cost of email retention outstrips the cost of email storage, in large part due to e-discovery expense in future litigation.

The cold, hard truth is that the persistent problem of email volume will not be solved with technology alone. What’s needed, and frankly overdue, is a bit more organizational discipline and direction on email retention. 
Continue Reading How long must we keep our email?