Seven Key Questions Every Information Officer Must Answer

At the most basic level, an information officer is responsible for managing and analyzing information. But the information management process is much more complex than that.

The flow of information throughout an organization should be reliable and productive; it should support internal and external demands, and follow secure business processes. A successful information governance strategy should streamline business practices by logically organizing data.

Here are seven fundamental questions every information officer must answer to ensure their company's information governance program is running efficiently:

1.     What information is rarely used and accessed?

To make systems and technology as efficient as possible across the organization, you must evaluate how data is currently being used, stored and communicated. Is there information that's collecting dust? If it isn't being utilized on a consistent basis, consider moving it to secondary storage. If it hasn't been used for more than six months or a year and doesn't contain sensitive information, why not delete it? Cleaning up is half the battle - and if it isn't done regularly, it becomes the primary reason why many information governance technologies are inefficient.


2.     What information is relevant and should reside in primary storage?

What data and information do you use on a daily basis? Weekly or monthly? What is most relevant and how often does staff need access to it? Decide which information should reside on primary storage and what can be moved to auxiliary storage. Optimizing how you manage data can reduce storage costs up to 80 percent.

3.     How do we transport inactive data away from the primary storage environment?

There are numerous public and private cloud solutions out there so you can keep your IT budget in check. Whether you're using low-cost storage for rarely used data, compliance-proof archives or on-site cloud storage, you need to figure out how you're going to get the data to the right place. Migrating information can be a process, so make sure you understand the timeline and potential disruptions before getting started.

4.     And at the same time, how do we make it and keep it available for users and applications as needs arise?

If an audit or litigation dispute arises, how will the appropriate people on your team access the information they need? With the right information governance system, employees can effectively collaborate with one another when necessary - no matter where the data may reside. Think about how you can enable users and systems to access the right information quickly and securely before moving things over.

5.     How do we do this in a way to optimize storage utilization?

When you analyze what information needs to be where and start moving it off of primary storage, you will start saving space and money. The numbers don't lie: An email archive solution can reduce volume on mail servers up to 70% and data optimization can reduce storage costs up to 80%. When you start migrating information intelligently to other storage systems, you will automatically optimize storage utilization and eliminate poor document management.

6.     How do we reduce the amount of work that we have on an ongoing basis?

Automation, automation, automation. With today's technological tools, enterprise work can be automated from beginning to end. People can connect to the information they need with ease and reliability, driving out paper-based processes and increasing productivity. Whether you need to streamline a five-step process or send documents securely, there is a way to improve workflow and processes between departments through information management.

7.     How do we accomplish these tasks while keeping the data secure and meeting regulatory compliance?

Regulatory compliance should be top of mind when considering your information governance strategy. And because legal requirements are constantly changing, you need to keep up. Luckily, you can reduce compliance risk and keep documents secure while maximizing the value of information. A few tips? Defensibly destroy information that isn't compliant, gain information transparency, and ensure the correct access to sensitive information.