Information Governance 101: What Is It and Why It Matters

  • Will Pfeifer
  • May 3, 2021

Suffice it to say that there has been a huge uptick in business data in recent years. 

In fact, according to one study, 94% of business professionals claim data analytics is important to their business growth and transformation. This is bound to accelerate moving forward.

At the same time, many organizations and legal departments are struggling to manage data. Believe it or not, most big data that’s collected today goes unused due to poor transportation, storage, and management policies. 

This adds up to create a harsh reality: For many companies, data is more of a liability than an asset. 

At the end of the day, maximizing data analytics requires strong information governance. Keep reading to learn about what information governance is, how it works, and why it matters more than ever. 

What Is Information Governance?

Information governance is the process of collecting, transporting, processing, storing, securing, sharing, and managing data. 

There is no single, end-to-end solution for information governance. Instead, companies need to take a multifaceted approach to information governance. This requires setting firm policies, educating end users, and deploying various technologies to control and protect information. 

Who Uses Information Governance?

Organizations commonly set information governance policies to establish guardrails and control how different departments manage and access data. 

For example, an enterprise IT department might enforce a set of company-wide information governance policies that all teams and employees need to adhere to. This may involve centralizing access control to determine who can access information. It also may include using real-time monitoring to protect sensitive data. 

Beyond that, individual groups like legal departments, marketing departments, and sales teams often have specific technologies to streamline information governance.

For example, legal departments may use eDiscovery software to centralize, secure, and share legal data during court cases.

Why Information Governance Is Important

Due to the abundance of data, companies can no longer choose whether to use information governance. It’s now a core requirement, and companies that avoid this stand little chance of competing.

With this in mind, here are some of the top reasons why information governance is critical for success. 

Gaining Competitive Advantage 

Companies have been hoarding data for years. That said, there’s a big difference between collecting and using information effectively. 

For data to be effective, it needs to go through a multi-step transformation process. 

By deploying an information governance strategy, companies can turn raw analytics into actionable insights—giving them a major leg up on competitors.

This is especially important for legal departments, where data can make or break a court case. Legal teams need total visibility into data to make informed and accurate decisions. 

For example, imagine a court case involving large volumes of customer records. In this case, a legal team must quickly sort through vast amounts of information and visualize it to make a compelling case in court. Without a sound information governance strategy in place, this is very difficult, time-consuming, and risky.

On the other hand, a robust information governance approach can save organizations considerably. For example, a defensible deletion policy where certain kinds of information are routinely deleted after a period of time can help reduce eDiscovery costs. With fewer records in storage, there are fewer documents to sift through.  

Vetting Clients 

Attorneys often take on clients only to drop them for various reasons. 

In some cases, it could be due to a client’s location. In other cases, an attorney may obtain conflicting data during a court case—like billing or medical records—that could change their position or impact the case’s outcome.

By having an information governance system in place, law firms can easily vet potential clients and provide consultations. This can further reduce risk and save money at the same time. 

Maintaining Security 

Corporations and legal departments are top targets for cybercrime. 

As such, organizations need to protect sensitive data from bad actors to prevent information from leaking to the public.

By setting a firm information governance policy, it’s much easier to limit the spread of data and prevent unauthorized end users from accessing it.  

Maximizing Efficiency 

Unfortunately, companies and legal teams don’t have endless amounts of time to sort through data. Legal teams in particular have hard deadlines for discovery. Failure to meet certain deadlines can result in court sanctions, as well as losses in court.

By using a robust information governance system, data can get processed and analyzed as soon as it comes in—making it easier for legal teams and attorneys to prepare assessments and respond to data requests promptly.

Maintaining Compliance 

Large enterprises face the difficult task of ensuring compliance across all of their various departments and branches. 

This is particularly difficult in highly regulated industries like finance and healthcare, where compliance breaches can result in hefty penalties, class-action lawsuits, and government shutdowns. 

IT administrators can use information governance to maintain enterprise-wide compliance and prevent costly errors from happening.

Common Information Governance Technologies

There are many different technologies that companies can use for information governance. Here are a few options to consider. 

Security and Information Event Monitoring (SIEM)

SIEM is for real-time data monitoring and tracking. A SIEM system can enable IT administrators to set clear rules governing who can access certain information, and where it can be accessed. 

For example, suppose an enterprise doesn’t have any end users in Eastern Europe. A SIEM system will detect if a suspicious login is made from an end user in that part of the world. The SIEM system can trigger specific events to alert security teams and prevent unauthorized users from breaking in and accessing databases. 

Multi-factor Authentication

Companies need to go beyond using basic passwords to protect sensitive accounts from cybercriminals. 

Multi-factor authentication enables companies to use technologies like PINs and security questions to fortify end-user accounts. 

Data Management Platforms

As more and more 5G technologies come to market, organizations will face increasing pressure to respond to information faster and more efficiently.

As such, companies and legal departments need to have cutting-edge data management systems in place to rapidly ingest information and make decisions in real time.

For example, a nationwide law firm can use a real-time data decisioning engine to help agents provide phone consultations and provide quick consultations. In turn, this could lower costs and prevent customers from moving on to competitors.

eDiscovery Software 

Legal teams should be using eDiscovery platforms for end-to-end data management. 

An eDiscovery platform can power every step of eDiscovery—including early case assessment (ECA), analysis, data culling, review, and production. 

Using a dedicated eDiscovery solution makes it much easier to manage and sort through data and prepare it for use in court. This type of platform can reduce risk while giving legal teams the information they need to meet tight deadlines and win cases. 

Venio’s Approach to eDiscovery 

If you’re looking to improve your organization’s eDiscovery stance, VenioOne is one of the most complete and reliable solutions on the market. 

This unified eDiscovery platform offers lightning-fast document processing and automation. And it also ships with secure built-in data sharing and collaboration tools for risk-free review and production. 

VenioOne can also help reduce data sets safely and cost-effectively, making it easy for legal teams to analyze them. In addition, VenioOne empowers paralegals, investigative teams, and lawyers with powerful self-service features throughout the eDiscovery process.

Using VenioOne can help lower costs, streamline backend data management, and put legal teams in a better position to win. 

To get started with Venio, request a demo today.

This post was written by Justin Reynolds. Justin is a freelance writer who enjoys telling stories about how technology, science, and creativity can help workers be more productive. In his spare time, he likes seeing or playing live music, hiking, and traveling.