What Can You Do With Archived Data?

Archiving as a defensive tool is well-trod ground: it’s an important best practice for eDiscovery, litigation hold, regulatory compliance, storage management, and end-user access to content. Every organization should archive their employees’ data to ensure they can meet these defensive uses of archiving – what we call Archiving 1.0.

But what about Archiving 2.0, or a more proactive use of archived data? Here are some things you can do with your archives:

  • Investigations: The ability to extract intelligence from the content within email archives can significantly reduce the amount of time spent on investigations, such as early case assessments in advance of an anticipated legal action, an investigation about inappropriate employee activity, or an investigation about why a key customer account was lost.
  • Sales support: Communications with customers independent of a CRM system can be used to determine how sales, support and other staff members’ emails correlate with customer retention and follow-on sales. Similarly, the speed and quality of responses to customer inquiries can be correlated to sales in order to determine how best to respond to inquiries in the future.
  • Risk mitigation: Archived data can be used to mitigate risks from data breaches, employee fraud and related types of threats. Senior managers can look for employees who are more likely to commit fraud by looking for managers who are treating their employees badly, they can find employees who are communicating with an organization’s competitors, transferring sensitive files to a personal email address, or running a personal business on company time.
  • Customer service: Archived data can be useful in determining who in an organization is talking with specific customers, to whom in the customer organization they are speaking, the content of their conversations, and other relevant information.
  • Supply chain management: Another application is analyzing messaging and relationship intelligence to visualize employee communication with unauthorized parties.
  • Litigation management: Legal can use messaging and relationship intelligence to zero in on individuals or domains to understand communication trends and which individual(s) or domain(s) needs to be investigated further, enabling useful pre-trial or pre-litigation discovery information.
  • IT support: Help desks can become more proactive by conducting ongoing investigations into what employees are saying about particular applications, the goal of which is to address problems as early as possible.
  • Human capital management: An archive can be used to determine when employees are going to leave an organization and thereby minimize the impact of an employee departure.

We have written a white paper that focuses on Archiving 2.0 – please feel free to download it here.

Are You Governing Your Information Properly?

What is “information governance”? Here are some definitions:

  • TechTarget: “A holistic approach to managing corporate information by implementing processes, roles, controls and metrics that treat information as a valuable business asset.”
  • Wikipedia: “The set of multi-disciplinary structures, policies, procedures, processes and controls implemented to manage information at an enterprise level, supporting an organization’s immediate and future regulatory, legal, risk, environmental and operational requirements.”
  • The IG Initiative: “The activities and technologies that organizations employ to maximize the value of their information while minimizing associated risks and costs.”

In short, information governance is about getting value out of information and minimizing the risks associated with managing it.

We are just about to publish a white paper focused on the return-on-investment associated with information governance. As part of that effort, we have conducted a survey with mid-sized and large organizations to determine the state of information governance today. Here are some highlights:

  • Only 52% of the organizations surveyed have an information governance program today, but another 20% plan to do so within the next 12 months.
  • The top three drivers used to justify an information governance program are risk avoidance, the risks associated with meeting regulatory obligations, and, somewhat surprisingly, maintaining or improving employee productivity.
  • Despite the fact that most organizations have or will have an information governance program in place within the next 12 months, most organizations do not regulatory dispose of digital information from file share, SharePoint or related systems.
  • Moreover, most organizations do not have in place a defensible disposition program.
  • More than one-third of the organizations surveyed have had sensitive or confidential content stolen from them. This most often occurs from outside parties, but also a sizeable proportion of insider theft has occurred.

Our focus in the white paper will be on a) why information governance is an essential best practice for any organization, but particularly those with large amounts of sensitive, confidential or otherwise valuable information; and b) how to demonstrate the return-on-investment that can be realized by implementing an appropriate information governance program.

If you’d like an advanced copy of the white paper, please let us know.