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A how-to guide on creating an Information Governance Policy

If you’re an Information Management professional, you’ll know that an effective IGP not only ensures compliance with regulatory requirements but also prevents data breaches, minimizes risk, and enhances overall operational efficiency. In this article, we will discuss the importance of IGP, offer examples of data breaches that could have been averted through proper IGP, provide a five-step plan to formulate and implement your own IGP, and highlight the need to consult professionals in Information Management for the most robust IGP.

What is an Information Governance Policy?

An Information Governance Policy is a framework that enables organizations to effectively manage their data throughout its lifecycle. It covers aspects like data quality, data privacy, data security, and regulatory compliance. The policy ensures that organizations follow best practices in handling data, reducing the risk of data breaches and legal penalties.

Why is an Information Governance Policy Important?

An IGP is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Compliance: A well-defined IGP helps organizations comply with various data protection regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, and CCPA, which require companies to maintain strict control over their data handling processes.
  2. Data Security: Proper data governance reduces the likelihood of data breaches, protecting sensitive information and maintaining customer trust.
  3. Operational Efficiency: An IGP promotes the efficient use of data resources, reducing redundancy, and enabling data-driven decision-making.
  4. Risk Management: By implementing a comprehensive IGP, organizations can identify and address potential data-related risks, minimizing the likelihood of costly data breaches and legal penalties.

Data Breaches and the need for a robust IGP

  1. Equifax Data Breach (2017): The Equifax breach exposed the personal information of 147 million people. A combination of inadequate security measures and lack of timely patching for known vulnerabilities contributed to the breach, which ended up costing Equifax a cool $425 million as part of a settlement reached with various regulatory institutions. A robust IGP, with clearly defined security protocols and a proactive approach to patch management, could have helped prevent the breach.
  2. Marriott Data Breach (2018): The Marriott breach impacted the data of approximately 500 million customers. Poor access controls and inadequate monitoring of third-party vendors were among the reasons for the breach. An effective IGP with strict access control policies and third-party vendor management could have minimized the risk of such a breach.

A Five-Step Plan to Formulate and Implement an Information Governance Policy

Step 1: Assess Your Current Data Landscape Conduct an audit to identify the types of data you collect, store, and process. Understand the regulatory requirements and industry standards that apply to your organization.

Step 2: Establish Clear Objectives and Principles Define the objectives and guiding principles of your IGP, which should align with your organization’s overall goals, values, and risk tolerance.

Step 3: Develop the Policy Draft your IGP, including specific rules, guidelines, and procedures that cover data collection, storage, protection, and utilization.

Step 4: Assign Roles and Responsibilities Designate the personnel responsible for overseeing and enforcing your IGP, including data owners, data stewards, and a chief data officer or information governance committee.

Step 5: Monitor and Review Regularly monitor the effectiveness of your IGP and review it periodically to ensure it stays up-to-date with evolving regulations, industry standards, and business needs.

How can consulting with Information Management experts help make your organization more secure?

While organizations can develop an IGP internally, engaging Information Management professionals can help ensure that the policy is comprehensive, up-to-date, and tailored to the specific needs of the organization. Information Management professionals have the expertise to:

  1. Identify gaps in your current data management practices and suggest improvements to align them with industry standards and regulatory requirements.
  2. Provide guidance on the best practices for data handling, storage, and security, ensuring that your IGP is as robust and effective as possible.
  3. Offer insights into the latest trends, tools, and technologies in data management, helping your organization stay ahead of the curve and adapt to the evolving data landscape.
  4. Train and educate employees on the importance of information governance and their roles in ensuring compliance with the IGP.
  5. Assist in the monitoring and evaluation of your IGP’s effectiveness, providing recommendations for improvements and adjustments as needed.

By working with Information Management professionals, organizations can significantly enhance the quality and effectiveness of their Information Governance Policy, reducing the risk of data breaches, ensuring compliance, and promoting a strong data-driven culture.

Developing and implementing a robust Information Governance Policy is crucial for organizations to protect sensitive data, comply with regulations, and manage data-related risks effectively. By following the five-step plan outlined in this article and consulting Information Management professionals, organizations can create a comprehensive and tailored IGP that supports their business goals and promotes a culture of data responsibility.

Crown are a market-leader in making it simpler to manage information. If you’d like to get in touch with one of our experts to discuss how we can help get you started, contact us today.

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