Enterprises Stumble On Information Governance: Report

by CXOtoday News Desk    May 19, 2016

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Veritas Technologies has released new research findings that illuminate the most effective information governance practices that empower organizations to extract as much value as possible out of their information while reducing related risks and costs. The study found that 94 percent of organizations have a formal information governance program currently in place or are in the planning stages. However, only 40 percent of organizations are high performers when it comes to information governance.

In partnership with research firm Ipsos, Veritas surveyed a global cross section of IT, security, and legal professionals from 481 organizations to define what tools and tactics are currently in use and how successfully those practices deliver information governance returns. This latest study by Veritas follows the Global Databerg Report and the Data Genomics Index, which revealed the worsening situation organizations face regarding the information explosion. Findings from these efforts highlight that 85 percent of all information stored and processed by organizations is considered ‘dark’ data or ROT (Redundant, Obsolete, Trivial), and that 41 percent of all stored data is stale.

“As organizations have embraced a ’store-everything’ mentality, and low-value data has cluttered up terabytes — if not petabytes — of storage, they have found it increasingly difficult to find information when they need it and to effectively protect their sensitive information,” remarked Ben Gibson, Veritas Chief Marketing Officer. “For these reasons, and in the face of a rapidly changing and incredibly complex regulatory environment, managing risk is the number-one reason why organizations are investing in information governance programs.”

The study reveals that once organizations decide to invest in information governance, they have a wide variety of different approaches at their disposal. Out of 18 surveyed tools (ranging from archiving to eDiscovery, file analysis, and more) and 14 tactics (including policy creation, chargebacks, and training), all received above a 60 percent adoption rate.

Of all these tools and tactics, several consistently demonstrated high levels of adoption across all organizations. In terms of tools, 87 percent of surveyed participants adopted file archiving and 86 percent adopted email archiving, technologies originally developed to help organizations optimize storage for growing data volumes. From a tactics standpoint, 88 percent of the organizations issue formal data-use policies, and 84 percent train employees on information governance practices, yet both of these tactics require end-user compliance and effort instead of automation, making adherence more challenging in a world where data is growing 39 percent year-over-year.

Considering the widespread adoption of information governance tools and tactics, the survey population was divided into two segments based on the overall effectiveness of each organization’s Information Governance program and evaluated further.  Interestingly, the analysis revealed considerable differences between the tools and tactics adopted by Low Performers and High Performers.

High Performers demonstrate a keen focus on understanding the types of data they store and the relative importance of that data. The study shows that 72 percent of high performers conduct file-type assessments to prevent the build-up of non-mission critical files, whereas only 29 percent of Low Performers use this technique. Similarly, 66 percent of High Performers measure what percentage of their data is ROT (Redundant, Obsolete, and Trivial), while only 23 percent of Low Performers measure their ROT. Additionally, 62 percent of High Performers assign risk scores to the data they store, but only 29 percent of Low Performers follow this practice.

Considering the types of tools and tactics that are more highly adopted by High Performers, it came as no surprise that these organizations were 39 percent better at deleting no-value data and 38 percent better at determining the value of an individual piece of data than Low Performers. Overall, High Performers are 36 percent better than Low Performers at controlling data growth.

Both High Performers and Low Performers identified risk mitigation as the number one priority for investing in an Information Governance program. That said, High Performers are 22 percent better at mitigating risk than Low Performers and are significantly better at protecting their organization from potential productivity and financial losses directly attributable to information growth.

Ultimately, it appears that the more visibility organizations have into the value of their data, the more proactive they can be when it comes to remediation, and the more effective they are at stemming risk that is introduced by the information explosion.

“Information governance is a fast-growing priority for most organizations around the globe,” commented Sean Pike, program director, Next-Generation Data Security and eDiscovery & Information Governance, IDC. “The information explosion has created an untenable risk environment. Veritas is assisting organizations around the world in defining best practices for cleaning up their data footprint. By developing a data valuation framework, establishing and enforcing data policies, and ensuring that the broader organization is aligned to mitigate information risk, any organization can replicate the tactics that have made the high-performing organizations in this new Veritas study so effective.”