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Download Our Newest Comprehensive Case Study on Les Schwab

As part of the IGI’s ongoing work to help professionalize and promote information governance (IG) we have the opportunity to see how hundreds of different organizations approach IG. Although every organization’s IG challenge is unique there are actually more similarities than differences in IG problems and their solutions.

By looking at one organization’s experience with IG in detail, we can learn valuable lessons and gain practical insights that will help all IG professionals mature their IG programs.

This case study reveals a typical but complex IG problem: managing the relationships among key IG players, including:

  1.  Outside law firms that play a central role in approving, blocking, and/or advising on key IG decisions (like information retention and preservation).
  2. IG technology vendors that supply the necessary capabilities to understand and take action on your information.
  3. IT departments that actually have their hands on the dials and levers of the systems that house and control your information.
  4. Business stakeholders like department heads who will be directly affected by the policy and technology choices you make.
  5. Risk-focused departments like legal and audit that own key IG decisions.

IG projects require tight alignment and coordination amongst these groups. However, given that these groups often have differing levels of interest, expertise, and even competing goals, this dynamic often derails otherwise well-designed and executed initiatives.

The key to navigating this dynamic is establishing clarity about the role of each stakeholder – especially about each player's mandate and level of authority. Again and again we see nobody taking IG decision-making authority unless it is clearly given to him or her – often simply out of a desire to avoid conflict and to get along with colleagues. Given the relative immaturity of IG, the owner of this authority is often unclear.

As we will see in this case study, Les Schwab found a way to work closely with these stakeholders, and in particular establish a close and fruitful relationship with an outside law firm that not only accelerated its project, but also helped to increase its positive impact on the organization.

Click here to access the case study in the IGI Community.

 

Download Our Newest Deep Dive Case Study on Pandora Media

How Pandora Tuned In to Information Governance
To Take Control of Its Most Sensitive and Valuable Information Assets

An IGI Case Study

Usually when we think "Information Governance," we think traditional, large, litigated and regulated organizations. But as more and more organizations come to understand the value of IG, this image is rapidly changing. Recently, Pandora Media — a juggernaut in the streaming music business — partnered with IGI Supporter Active Navigation and its experts in governance and file analysis on a major IG project. We were fortunate enough to be able to do a deep dive on this project and bring the details to you.

Download the latest entry in our IG At Work series to learn:

  • How Pandora got rid of 60 percent of its unstructured data.
  • What it took for the company to identify and protect its most valuable and sensitive data. 
  • How Pandora developed policies for governing unstructured information.
  • How Pandora built executive support for IG. 
  • How Pandora used file analysis software to reach its IG goals.
  • How Pandora was able to sell the merits of IG to its employees.

The company that emerged on the other side of this critical IG project was more efficient, more versatile and more competitive. And their IG program only continues to grow in its sophistication and impact.

Click here to access the case study in the IGI Community.

 

How the General Counsel Can Shape Information Governance

Jake Frazier – Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting & Sonia Cheng – Senior Director, FTI Consulting
As seen on ethicalboardroom.com

 

Information governance is often thought about in the context of IT efficiency, data security and regulatory compliance. While it is true that these are the most critical drivers for executing data governance programmes, there is an equally important factor that deeply resonates with a corporation’s board and C-suite: reputational risk.

Just as trust is a key and fragile pillar for relationships in our personal lives, it is essential – among shareholders, clients, customers and employees – for a business to thrive. Ultimately, top company leadership is responsible for managing reputational risk and ensuring that the overall direction of the company will uphold trust in the brand.

As we’ve seen countless times, failure to handle data properly often results in damaging data breaches, which beyond legal and compliance violations, break trust and allow doubt to become part of a company’s image. Thus, it is critical that the board views information governance (IG) as being about compliance and legal risk, as it must be, but also as an effort to instil a high standard for ethics and privacy into the company’s culture. By embracing this mindset, a corporation’s leadership can set the correct tone from the top down, building advocacy for actionable programmes that ensure safe and responsible handling of sensitive data, as well as strong compliance and efficiency.

“BECAUSE THE GENERAL COUNSEL HAS HISTORICALLY BEEN THE GO-TO STAKEHOLDER FOR DEALING WITH HIGHLY SENSITIVE ISSUES… THE CORPORATE LEGAL TEAM IS UNIQUELY POSITIONED TO LEAD THE CHARGE TOWARDS PROACTIVE DATA GOVERNANCE”

Because the general counsel (GC) has historically been the go-to stakeholder for dealing with highly sensitive issues – primarily for litigation and investigations – the corporate legal team is uniquely positioned to lead the charge towards proactive data governance. Given this fact, the issue of ethical obligation comes into play. In the US, federal and state laws require companies to implement reasonable security protections to safeguard personal data. There is a wide range of similar requirements around the world.

Beyond the duty to disclose, legal teams also have an ethical obligation to maintain a level of technical knowledge. In Day v. LSI Corp., in-house counsel was sanctioned for failing to document and supervise the discovery collection process and for allowing the company’s document retention policy to be ignored. In the context of IG, this is important, as legal teams must have a clear understanding about data sources and retention practices, the impact of how they choose to handle electronically stored information, and accuracy of how facts are represented to regulators, opposing parties and the courts. Ultimately, these points illustrate the fact that ethical obligations cannot be overlooked when considering the GC’s role in IG efforts.

Click here to continue reading about the top issues for 2017...

 

Getting Past Some of the Top Barriers to IG Success

Recently, the IGI caught up with Scott Burt, President and CEO of Integro, one of IGI’s newest supporters to discuss some of the IG challenges they see in the market and how organizations are overcoming them. Integro, a Gartner “Cool Vendor” and recipient of IBM’s Worldwide Business Partner Governance Excellence Award, joined the Information Governance Initiative (IGI) this year. IGI Supporters, like Integro, provide an annual financial contribution that enables the activities of the IGI, and by doing so demonstrate their commitment to the advancement of information governance (IG).

Executive Support Is Key

We asked Scott what he thought were the biggest challenges organizations face today in terms of their ability to implement successful IG programs and projects.

“I believe the biggest challenge is having the consensus and the broad executive support to affect the culture and to effect change on the company to mature to the next level. Often IG initiatives don’t become a big enough priority or the cultural challenges seem too difficult. It’s hard to imagine IG having less of a priority when I see all the risk and exposure that I do, but not all companies recognize IG’s potential, not only in reducing risk, but also greatly improving business decision-making,” says Scott.

The good news is, challenges like this can be overcome and successful change management is possible, explains Scott. He’s witnessed and helped foster success across a variety of IG projects. Scott sees high level support and goal-setting as key elements to success.

“Support from the executive level makes a huge difference in a successful project. I recommend forming an executive level, cross-functional committee that has support from the Board or CEO. When chartered with goals and metrics that are effective for the company, this cross-functional leadership group can lead and direct and delegate to an executive who runs the program.

Likewise, it’s important to have goals and objectives that matter for the company. If the initiative and its goals don’t hold value for executives, they aren’t going to give it the time of day. With a cross functional executive team and goals that matter, the benefits can be huge,” he added.

Scott’s observations are consistent with IGI’s research results as reported in the 2015-16 IGI Annual Report. Change management was the third most commonly reported barrier to successful IG; 60% of IG practitioners identified it as a barrier to IG progress at their organizations. Additionally, more than one third of practitioners identified lack of executive support as a barrier.

IG Results Are Achievable: A Customer Success Story

One of Integro’s specialties is email governance, an area in which change management can be very tricky. All too often, Scott shares, he hears organizations and stakeholders within them making all types of excuses as to why they can’t effectively govern their emails.

“The thought of trying to change users’ email habits scares a lot of company executives. But it doesn’t need to be complicated or controversial. I’ve seen companies of all sizes, from small firms to large, multinational corporations, have success. explains Scott.

Scott points to a large email governance initiative as an example of a customer who achieved IG success by effectively garnering executive support and developing strong goals, as he recommends.

“We have a global, fortune 500 client with tens of thousands of users in dozens of countries. They have had tremendous success with an enterprise-wide email management solution Integro helped the company implement. The solution, which leverages Integro’s product, Integro Email Manager and Microsoft Exchange, enables the company to organize and manage email by its value. They retain a small percentage of corporate email that has value, while at the same time regularly, defensibly and soundly disposing of the transient content. The end result for the client has been millions saved on eDiscovery and storage costs. They are achieving the goal that so many think is too big of a challenge,” Scott says.

“This customer, like others who have been successful, did a great job of change management and communication. They had strong executive support up to the highest levels, and they followed a thorough change management plan that involved internal marketing and communications about the program and its importance,” he notes.

The customer’s specific approach to change management was so successful that Integro has used best practices from the project to help other companies undertaking similar endeavors.

“With the right amount of planning, forethought, and executive support, IG projects are very doable and can result in tremendous benefit for any company,” comments Scott.

 

About Integro

Integro is an award winning, industry recognized products and services firm specializing in Information Governance, Enterprise Content Management, and Content Security solutions. Since 1995, Integro has been delighting clients with technology solutions that support defensible disposal, minimize risk, reduce eDiscovery and storage costs, ensure compliance, govern email records, and enable auto-classification. Integro is proud to be named a Top ECM Consultant by research firm, Clutch, a “Cool Vendor” by analyst firm, Gartner, and a Worldwide Governance award-winner by IBM. Learn more at www.Integro.com.

 

Information Governance Oversight: Questions for Board Members To Ask

Jason R. Baron, Of Counsel at Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP and Co-chair of the Information Governance Initiative, has published an article in Ethical Boardroom titled, “Information Governance Oversight: Questions for Board Members To Ask.” The article provides insight into the emergence of a variety of calls for boards of directors to be asking questions of their CEOs, CISOs and CIOs about how companies are preparing for breaches and how they will deal with their aftermath through agreed protocols.

While factoring in cyber risk as an increasingly real part of the corporate world, arguably there is an even more fundamental material weakness across the enterprise that boards of directors should be addressing: the company’s lack of a clear information governance strategy or framework for decision-making.

Information governance has been defined as “the activities and technologies that organizations employ to maximize the value of their information while minimizing risks and costs”. Of course, a part of the overall risk posed by data is the possibility of cyber breach. But there is much more to information governance than simply addressing one’s security concerns. At bottom, there are the questions of why and how data has been left to accumulate in the first place and what policies are in place to manage and control its continued growth.

There are a host of overlapping issues surrounding not only security and preservation of data but also touching on data sensitivities and privacy, access to data in litigation and investigations, regulatory compliance and, increasingly, performing analytics for the purpose of monetizing corporate data assets. Board focus on cyber breach issues alone is a start, but, high-level attention should be paid to a much broader range of technical and policy issues touching on all aspects of the overall corporate data environment.

Read Jason’s full comments in “Information Governance Oversight: Questions for Board Members To Ask.

 

Hidden Bias in the Black Box: Info Gov as a Key Check to Algorithmic Bias

by Jason R. Baron, Drinker Biddle & Reath, as seen on Legaltech News

With each passing day, we are 
 increasingly living in an algorithmic universe, due to the easy accumulation of big data. In our personal lives, we experience being in a 24/7 world of "filter bubbles," where Facebook has the ability to customize how liberal or conservative one's newsfeed is based on prior postings; Google personalizes ads popping up on Gmail based on the content of our conversations; and merchants like Amazon and Pandora feed us personalized recommendations based on our prior purchases and everything we click on.

While (at least in theory) we remain free in our personal lives to make choices in continuing to use these applications or not, increasingly often what we see is the result of hidden bias in the software. Similarly, in the workplace, the use of black box algorithms holds the potential of introducing certain types of bias without an employee's or prospective employee's knowledge. The question we wish to address here: From an information governance perspective, how can management provide some kind of check on the sometimes naïve, sometimes sophisticated use of algorithms in the corporate environment?

Algorithms in the Wild

An early, well-known example of the surprising power of algorithms was Target's use of software that, based on purchasing data (e.g., who was buying unscented lotions, cotton balls, etc.), was spookily able to predict whether a customer was likely pregnant. Target sent coupons for baby products to a Minnesota teenager's home before the teenager's father knew about the pregnancy, leading to a bad public relations episode. A different example is Massachusetts' use of a mobile app called Street Bump, where smartphones riding over potholes and the like would automatically report their location for local government to fix. The problem: the resulting map of potholes corresponded closely with the demographically more well-off areas of the city, as those were the areas where individuals knew to download the mobile app and could afford smartphones in the first place.

In workplace hiring decisions, facially neutral algorithms sometimes reveal a hidden bias based on how features are selected and weighted, or where certain variables used in the algorithm essentially function as "proxies" for real world racial or ethnic differences. For example, a software feature using the variable "commuting distance from work" as a factor in deciding which candidates to hire may, depending on local geography, discriminate based on race. As Gideon Mann and Cathy O'Neill stated in Harvard Business Review (12/9/16), "When humans build algorithmic screening software, they may unintentionally determine which applicants will be selected or rejected based on outdated information—going back to a time when there were fewer women in the workforce, for example—leading to a legally and morally unacceptable result."

Once on the job, employees may experience a very different kind of filter bias through software targeting the risk of internal threats to the company. The more advanced programs coming onto the market use sentiment analysis (e.g., algorithms looking at language used in emails) to predict whether certain individuals are more likely to display anger or other inappropriate behavior in the workplace. This capacity can be combined with matching up external sources of data on individuals obtained online, including credit report updates, crime reports, and certain types of medical information, to essentially triage the employee population into "high-risk" and lower risk categories, so as to target the keystrokes made by a few. If this all sounds like we have truly now entered a pre-crime, Minority Report world, it does.

IG and Its Role with Algorithms

What can or should be done? Mann & O'Neill suggest to avoid making decisions solely by use of an algorithm, but include what they call "algorithm-informed" individuals. They further suggest, "[w]e need to audit and modify algorithms so that they do not perpetuate inequities in businesses and society," with audits to be carried out either by inside experts or by hiring outside professionals. These are both sound suggestions.

Advocates of information governance (IG) argue that corporations with an IG program in place have a built-in mechanism to escalate data-related issues to a standing committee, consisting of either C-suite representatives or their delegates. In a growing number of corporate models, an individual with some kind of IG designation in their title will have been given authority to call together ad hoc groups to resolve specific data policy issues.

One could well imagine a chief information governance officer convening an ad hoc task force of the IG council, including a C-suite representative of the corporate human relations (HR) department, along with the person who approved or manages the data analytics software used by HR and a senior counsel, to perform the kind of "audit" of hiring practices envisioned above. Similarly, an ad hoc task force including the chief information security officer, senior HR office personnel, and other IT representatives and senior counsel could be asked to review how well internal monitoring of employees is working, and how much transparency or notice should be given to staff on such monitoring.

Along these lines, organizations might consider tasking a group of individuals—under the auspices either of the IG structure or as a freestanding committee—to perform a similar function to a present-day institutional review board, but limited to predictive software's effect on human subjects. Such an "algorithm review board" (ARB) would be tasked to provide approval and/or oversight of any use of analytics in the workplace aimed at targeting present employees or prospective hires, so as to serve as a check against possible hidden bias or a lack of notice where appropriate.

Some corporations (Microsoft and Facebook) have taken initial steps to implement, at least on a selected basis, an ethics review board being used in an equivalent way to an ARB. However, the practice remains rare across all industry verticals, notwithstanding the growing power of analytics in all aspects of daily life.

In his book, "The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information," law professor Frank Pasquale states that "authority is increasingly expressed algorithmically," and that "[d]ecisions that used to be based on human reflection are now made automatically." But, as computer scientist Suresh Venkatasubramanian has put it, "The irony is that the more we design artificial intelligence technology that successfully mimics humans, the more that A.I. is learning in a way that we do, with all of our biases and limitations."

This new reality calls for consideration of some kind of human intervention to serve as a quality control check on the black box (even if it means humans employing a second algorithm to check for bias in the first!) In the coming world we live and work in, adoption of some kind of IG framework that includes reviewing the possibility of algorithmic bias in the workplace will be appreciated by an increasingly sophisticated populace.




Jason R. Baron is Of Counsel at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in Washington, D.C.