Technologists: Information Governance Enablers & Stakeholders

Technologists: Information Governance Enablers & Stakeholders

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I had the opportunity to catch up on some research and came across an article discussing the best strategy for archiving data in place. It was published fairly recently at SearchStorage (11/24/2014) and authored by John Toigo, a veteran analyst in the storage space. He discusses several topics of interest to the CGOC community, which I will get to shortly, but I wanted to highlight an important concept that wasn’t specifically articulated. It is the fact that technologists in IT are not just one of the stakeholders in information governance, but are critical enablers as well. This isn’t a revelation to the CGOC audience necessarily, however, the discussion of emerging/innovative technology for archiving digital assets provided a level of emphasis.

Below are a few of the key points made to an audience that is predominantly made up of IT storage professionals. The challenge for IG program teams is that very rarely will RIM or legal stakeholders find themselves on such a site reading about storage technology.

  • The difference between data protection and data preservation is an important distinction to make early on. From a storage perspective, it is important for creating smaller, more manageable data sets and potentially for deletion to reclaim capacity. This is also something that is impactful for information governance and highlighted by Adele Carboni, CGOC faculty member, at our recent conference in London. Effectively, by calling data protected on tape as “disaster recovery” rather than backup it eliminated tape media from being included in e-discovery requests.
  • Archives require a richer set of metadata to provide greater context for individual data assets allowing more granular governance policies to be applied. The importance of metadata is well understood by records and information management professionals, but at a much more robust level than a traditional storage administrator. This is a concept I have been discussing with storage leaders since the late 90’s and their understanding hadn’t progressed significantly in conversations I had as recently as 2013. This is where IT needs a RIM person to help enlighten them on the benefits of richer metadata tagging in the infrastructure.
  • Innovative, object storage technology has been in the market for several years and adoption is beginning to grow at an accelerating pace. The value of object storage as part of the information infrastructure is that it delivers unique capabilities beyond traditional technologies. It is designed for long-term preservation, provides robust data protection schemes and enables a rich set of metadata to be tagged to data objects. Another, fairly significant value is that object storage is also part of the foundation of cloud services such as Google, Amazon S3, Facebook, etc. This is where IT needs to see itself as an enabler of information governance, engage the RIM and legal stakeholders and educate them on new technologies in the market.

Given new initiatives emerging in organizations today like cloud and BYOD getting all the stakeholders together as part of the technology, evaluation is critical. IT has the opportunity and the responsibility to ensure this happens to improve its technical architecture enabling the whole organization to benefit. Just think about how an object storage infrastructure can satisfy archive, protection, compliance and privacy requirements based on metadata enabled policies. It can serve the dual purpose of an internal cloud (private) providing authorized and secure access to data from employee mobile devices (BYOD). I wrote about an example in another blog post, Cloud and Governance are Not Mutually Exclusive.