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All for Governance, and Governance for All!

I may not be a Musketeer, but I know a declaration of unity when I hear one! And though the title of this piece does not refer to an oath of mutual defense, it does have to do with collaborative protection – specifically that of your organization’s information.

The term “governance” has been around for a long time, of course, but it is now spreading beyond its historical borders in the records, legal, and IT departments. Back then, it was a specialty responsibility held by only a relative few – but in today’s interconnected world, it’s coming to be everybody’s job in one way or another.

One of the big challenges is that too few of these “everybodys” have had any exposure to governance as a critical business practice. Sure, they’ve seen the e-mails warning them not to say anti-corporate things on social media, or to send sensitive attachments to people in other companies, or to change their passwords every 30 days. But when it comes to actually understanding what governance is and why it is important, too many only have a vague sense, and some not even that.

Compounding this is the fact that there is no unified set of instructions covering how governance is to be approached by different groups of people. Records managers tend to look at it in terms of document retention and disposal. Lawyers typically view it as part of legal discovery. And IT managers generally consider it to be part of their application integration, access control, and security landscapes.

As our systems of record and systems of engagement continue to fuse, it’s time we take a more global approach toward the care and feeding of our information assets. As a first step, we have to make the knowledge necessary to do so more accessible to more people than traditionally has been the case. This is why I meet with so many teams of people when working with my clients, and spend so much time weaving the various threads together when teaching my certification students. It’s also why I’ve gotten involved with Information Governance Conference in September, for this is the very precept on which the event is based.

So now I ask you: are you for governance, as governance is for you? Let me know what you think.

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