Achmad Chadran, Archiving & Risk Management Portfolio Marketing Manager, interviewed Michael Osterman, Principal Analyst at Osterman Research, to get his updated assessment of the state of information governance. In Part Three of this four-part blog series, Achmad asks Michael to define the new risk landscape.
Michael Osterman: Today, as you noted, most organizations will archive email, and that's sort of the table stakes. It's a standard thing that you archive, but when all of these other tools start popping up, they replace a lot of email communication – for file transfer, sharing messages back and forth – and all of that bypasses the corporate information system, the information governance system.
But these are still business records that are supposed to be retained. So if it's on Skype or Slack or Teams, all of that information still has to be retained. Most regulations don't say, “archive your email,” they say, “archive your business records.” It doesn't matter where they originated.
Achmad Chadran: Plus, with these platforms – a lot of them, anyway – you miss out on a lot of other insights as well. Like groups…when groups are formed in Slack or in Teams, who are these groups composed of? And how does that relate to the content and the attachments that are being shared in that channel? So there are all kinds of tricky scenarios that pose information governance challenges, right?
Osterman: Oh, very much so, because if you look at corporate communication, it's not just email. There are lots of channels that might be used. You might initiate a Zoom call with an email, but then you get into Zoom and you share files within Zoom. A couple of participants might be sharing text messages back and forth about the content that they're viewing, maybe, then some of that ends up in a Slack channel.
We find that even within the same organization, there are a lot of tools used. There may be a corporate standard – an organization may have settled on Microsoft Teams – but that doesn't mean Zoom isn't being used, or Slack, or other tools. So you have to capture all of the relevant communication and be able to coordinate it because there might be a single conversation that uses three or four or five different platforms.
Chadran: Well, our Archiving & Risk Management team here at Micro Focus, a lot of them have been in this business for years, so they know it's essential to ask a lot of questions when they perform data connector implementations. It's really the only way to approach it in order to meet customer-specific requirements. What are the corporate cultural and behavioral components that need to factor into the solution?
Osterman: We're seeing a lot of use of social media for work purposes. And what complicates it is that the people are using these tools – Twitter, for example – for a variety of purposes. It can be for work purposes, for information-gathering; it can be for sharing press releases; it can be for sharing other information about the company. What I see in a lot of Twitter ads are not even ads, but Twitter posts for things like “we have a job opening here,” “we're looking for this kind of developer, or this kind of customer service agent,” what have you. So all of that information has to be captured. In financial services, if you're putting out any kind of advertising, you have to retain that. That means you have to start retaining social media properly.
But all organizations should. If there's any work-related information that's being sent through social media, all that has to be captured. You should be able to archive it, so that you can produce those business records on demand. And we've seen a lot of court cases where social media content has been demanded by the court, either to prove something or to disprove something. Or to demonstrate where an employee was at a particular time. This pops up in a variety of lawsuit types, including wrongful termination suits. So this increased use of social media has some real business benefit, but it also creates risk if you're not capturing this information properly.
Chadran: The pivot to work-from-home has triggered surges in collaboration platform use and social media use. Are these momentary spikes or the beginning of a larger trend?
Osterman: I think it's much more the latter. I think we’re just seeing more and more data types that are being used in the organization. We talked about digital transformation being accelerated during the pandemic. Information acceleration, if you will, is taking place as well. We're using more data types, and particularly when you start adding in the whole Internet of Things that is creating business content that you have to capture, this became a very complicated area for information governance, because there are just more things and more data types that you have to retain for long periods because they contain business records. And when you look at these regulations, they talk about retaining your business records, anything that's relevant to your business. It doesn't matter if it's an email or any other platform; if it's a business record, it has to be retained. So as we get more data sources generating new data types, all of that has to be captured.
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The Micro Focus IM&G team
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