In a recent FTI Advice from Counsel (AFC) study, 76 percent of respondents said that while they do have information governance (IG) programs in place, initiatives ranged across 30 different areas of focus. These included data security, budget transparency, efficient records retention, data analytics, compliance, risk prevention and optimizing data for litigation needs, and underscore the difficulty many legal teams have in focusing their IG efforts.
IG provides benefits for maintaining compliance, reducing e-discovery costs, streamlining large data volumes and bolstering cybersecurity. I regularly work with clients to help them focus their programs and build internal training and processes to bring data challenges under control. In an article in ILTA Peer-To-Peer Magazine’s Winter 2017 Issue I discussed the skills attorneys need to get IG programs off the ground, and how to bolster their abilities to ensure successful projects.
Some of these skills, which ultimately help drive tangible benefits in addressing data challenges, include:
- Initiative to secure collaboration across departments and among key stakeholders: IG initiatives require approval and implementation from stakeholders across the company, and can only be successful when approached by an inclusive team beyond the legal and IT departments.
- Understanding security vulnerabilities and how to address them: Getting to the root of most data breaches is critical to prevention. Employee negligence, a mobile workforce and hacking are the top causes for most breaches. It’s important for counsel to be aware of the range of risks, and work with other IG stakeholders within the organization to manage employees and ensure they understand their dynamic role in maintaining data security.
- Change management abilities: Change is difficult for many people, especially for attorneys that are rooted in traditional methods and resistant to adopting unknown technologies and processes. As with gaining stakeholder buy-in, programs are only successful if the people implementing them are engaged and dedicated.
- Knowing when to call in reinforcements: It’s important to understand when and what constitutes appropriate involvement of and reliance on outside providers. Equally important is knowing how to evaluate providers and what they should be expected to bring to the table.
- Sound budgeting: The AFC study mentioned earlier confirmed an industry-wide ongoing struggle with bringing e-discovery and other data related costs under control. Knowing how to achieve budget predictability is a critical skill that can have a lasting and meaningful impact on the success of any proactive or reactive matter.
- Gaining a grasp on technology capabilities – and limitations: Hand-in-hand with good communication, technology can provide a variety of solutions to assist toward getting data under control.
- Keeping a global perspective: Data breaches unfortunately are a global problem. If your firm has operations in the European Union, it is important to keep up to date on the latest regulations.
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals.