Information Technology Navigator

Tips, Advice & Insights from Technology Pros

Banking, Finance & IT: The BCBS 239 Deadline Approaches—Where Do You Stand?

Given the great highs and lows experienced by financial institutions over the past 10 years, there’s no doubt that today’s industry is highly resilient.

The same is also true for the industry’s IT teams. In the past, IT has been routinely asked to navigate everything from mergers & acquisitions to sophisticated security threats and emergent application demands from a fast growing segment of mobile consumers.

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Thu, Nov 19, 2015

Legally Defensible Data Remediation

A document retention policy is in reality a document destruction policy. Therefore, a key reason for an organization to adopt a document retention policy is to establish a program for the deletion/destruction of information that is not required for business, regulatory and other needs. This reality is made necessary by the fact that digital information is growing at an unprecedented rate and that much of it is contained in “unstructured” storage such as email, SharePoint and shared network drives. Data hoarding not only increases direct information technology costs but it presents other substantial risks and costs to an organization ranging from discovery of “smoking gun” documents during investigation, litigation or audit; to reputational damage from information security breaches (hacking).

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Thu, Nov 05, 2015

Information & Data Governance: Why Boards and C-Level Executives Are Sailing in Dangerous Waters

In 2005 the ABA Business Law Section published a short book titled, Sailing in Dangerous Waters: A Director’s Guide to Data Governance. It warned in stark terms:

Those Directors who defer or delegate to specialized personnel their understanding and command of data governance will be at increasing risk of incurring personal liability for failing to fulfill their fiduciary duty of care to ensure that their companies comply with rapidly emerging legal requirements concerning deficiencies in data governance.[i]

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Fri, Oct 30, 2015

Information Governance: A Principled Framework

Gartner defines Information Governance as an accountability framework that includes the processes, roles, standards, and metrics to ensure the effective and efficient use of information in enabling an organization to reach its goals. One of the core requirements of a legally defensible Information Governance program is a reasonable and consistently applied Records & Information Management system (“RIM”). Accountability and defensibility hinge on the ability of an organization to govern its information in all formats and on all media, and to ensure or prove that it is compliant with all legal requirements.

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Thu, Oct 22, 2015

Legal Hold 101: Data Retention and Destruction

Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away
And knowin' what to keep
'Cause every hand's a winner
And every hand's a loser
And the best that you can hope for is to die
In your sleep

- The Gambler lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Some of the more frequent questions asked of eDiscovery attorneys when teaming with IT professionals on archiving and other retention policy projects, relate to the timing, scope and especially the release of legal holds. Misconceptions about “Legal Hold” abound, many of them (unfortunately) coming from litigation attorneys stuck in the paper document past or those who do not understand data systems architecture. One common source of overbroad Legal Hold retention is the misapprehension of the risk of severe judicial sanctions for the destruction (aka spoliation) of evidence.

Too many attorneys take what they consider to be the safe route and continue to advise enterprises to keep too much for too long. As Kenny Rogers’ Grammy award-winning song reminds us, risk can cut both ways. Not only does an overbroad legal hold increase the cost of data storage and maintenance, it increases the cost of legal review of held documents, and may result in retaining “smoking gun” documents that could have been legitimately deleted before or between legal holds. You’ve gotta know when to fold ‘em too!

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Wed, Oct 14, 2015

Is a Data Center Assessment in Your Future?

“Do more with less” has become the mantra folks in IT have come to live by. It is the reality we live with every day. We must be as efficient and effective as possible to be able to compete in today’s market. We must find a way to be viewed as an innovation center, and not a cost center to the business.

How we go about enabling the enterprise to innovate is what sets us apart. It all starts with a good plan and to have a good plan, you must understand the strengths and more importantly, the weaknesses in your IT environment.

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Thu, Oct 08, 2015

Data Governance: 5 Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Many companies are making significant investments in information governance because they understand the critical importance of a sound information governance policy. For some in highly regulated industries like Life Sciences and Finance, however, the concept of data governance (and IT’s role in implementing it) carries even greater importance.

How successful is your organization when it comes to implementing your data governance strategy? If you’re like most companies – not so good:

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Fri, Oct 02, 2015

Archiving Email and SharePoint? How to Take Control of Your Dark Data

When employees first began using corporate email and content management systems to communicate and share their ideas, little did IT teams know what they had in store. In “store” being the operative word.

Such systems like Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SharePoint would soon take exponentially larger and larger bites out of the storage available on a whole range of corporate servers, file shares and, even, enterprise storage networks.

IT teams soon had a real mess on their hands. Frequent requisition requests for new storage capacity weren’t usually greeted well by budget owners. Then, there was the on-going time required from IT to help “discover” key content of older emails or files--in keeping with various compliance, legal or audit requirements.

“Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SharePoint would soon take
exponentially larger and larger bites out of the storage available…IT teams soon had a real mess on their hands”

For highly regulated industries, like those in Life Science or Financial Services, the need to effectively track, preserve and discover data became even more critical.

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Mon, Sep 14, 2015

Take Control of Data Governance Regulations: 4 Steps for IT Life Science Teams

IT teams in most Life Science organizations have an unending To-Do list of projects to tackle. Their hands are full with various initiatives to support growth mandates while adjusting and keeping up with constant change in this highly competitive, fast-paced industry. While maintaining an eye on industry trends is necessary, fundamental IT work remains. This is the keep-the-lights-on type of work that falls under the not so sexy, but very important category of “data governance.”

Keeping IT’s Head Above Governance Waters. . .

For IT teams struggling with growth initiatives, mounting and ever-changing regulations cannot be ignored. Data privacy, security and compliance must still be assured. Protection from potential data breach is critical and efforts to ensure proper data audit trails, unquestioning data integrity, and effective data lifecycle management are ongoing. 

“Efforts to ensure proper data audit trails, unquestioning data integrity, and effective data lifecycle management are ongoing.”

This includes the sorting and classification of all your dark data with proper controls, where needed. This includes unstructured or semi-structured data still lurking about in your company’s file shares, SharePoint servers and email system.

How can IT achieve the right balance between its long list of growth and data governance projects? And, how far is far enough when it comes to governance?

We don’t presume to have all the answers. But, our experience with Life Science organizations gives us some perspective as well as a few, proven governance rules-of-thumb to help keep your IT team sane.

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Mon, Aug 31, 2015

Data Governance and Life Science IT: A Mission Impossible?

Fans of the latest Mission:Impossible film might question how close any IT team could get to the high stakes, world-in-the-balance job of Impossible Missions Force (IMF) Agent Ethan Hunt and his team.

Granted, IT folks might not see themselves clinging gamely to the side of an ascending airplane anytime soon. But, based on some of the missions you’re tasked 

with—especially for those in regulated industries like Life Sciences—the idea of being part of your own IMF might have some appeal.

Chief among these seemingly “impossible” IT missions? For IT teams in Life Science organizations, it might involve the often vague mission to ensure “proper data governance.”

Data Governance: Your Mission, If You Choose to Accept It . . .

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Fri, Aug 21, 2015

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