Information governance is more than the latest buzzwordit goes well beyond traditional records management. While the term is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout all industries and types of organizations, what does it mean?
At the highest level, information governance is a holistic, all-encompassing discipline that, when effectively implemented and managed, offers multiple and varied benefits to an organization.
Law firms, in particular, are at a critical juncture with managing both firm and client information. Unlike most other organizations, law firms, as custodians of client information, are often subject to unique and complex rules and requirements.
Many firms are expanding traditional record practices to address scrutiny from clients, the pervasiveness of mobile devices and increased matter mobility as partners move from firm to firm. Firms are identifying challenges presented by Big Data, including ethical, legal and regulatory requirements and growing threats of security breaches.
A quickly changing technology landscape, combined with ever-growing quantities of digital content and client demands, creates complex challenges for those tasked with managing information. Effective IG programs require leadership and efforts of every individual within the firm.
Over the last few years, many workers responsible for managing information have started informal networking, exchanging information with the hope of learning, sharing ideas and developing best practices. We often rely on one another for support as we navigate our way through uncharted territory.
In 2012, Iron Mountain (www.ironmountain.com) a vendor that offers records management storage, shredding, backup, and other IG offerings, recognized that the industry could benefit from the creation of a structured, dedicated IG program help respond to these issues. It proposed the establishment of an IG framework that could, among other things, provide a foundation for standardization.
Also inspired by the Sedona Conference, a group of law firm information leaders, the first Law Firm Information Governance Symposium was held in Chicago last May, hosted by Iron Mountain and co-sponsored by ARMA. As a result of the conference, A Proposed Law Firm Information Governance Framework was released in August.
Four key areas were covered:
Defining an Information Governance Framework: What is it, and how does it work in the law firm environment?