The Need for Information Governance Has Never Been Greater

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Editor’s Note: Now more than ever, information governance and data management are at the forefront of the legal industry. Last week, at Legaltech 2017, early information assessment and governance were one of the most talked about hot issues facing our industry. Corporate clients are interested in how to protect their data, how to bring technology behind the firewall, and how to bring their personnel up to speed. Our team spent their time offering technology demos to clients and prospects – software like MindsEye and MatterSpace ELM – in order to help them make more informed decisions for their departments. Our people understand the importance of information governance at its core – and that it is best tied to the technology that will best serve our clients. The real importance is that our clients have a real understanding of their data and where it lies, not only for compliance reasons but also, more generally, for risk mitigation. The following piece by eTERA’s Vice President of Marketing, Joe Kanka, transitions perfectly into this topic.  Emily Burdeshaw, Campaign and Content Manager

Since November, I have reviewed articles, studies, surveys and reports concerning the management of data, technology, eDiscovery, security, privacy, compliance, risk and outside counsel inside corporations – primarily the corporate legal departments. One thing that stands out in my mind is the need for effective information governance programs. In fact, according to the recent BDO Consulting’s Inside eDiscovery and Beyond survey, 62 percent of corporate counsel reported that information governance spending would increase in the next year.

Corporations need information governance programs in order to minimize compliance risk and reduce costs associated with eDiscovery and litigation response. Corporations must establish consistent and logical frameworks for how employees handle data. They can do this through information governance policies and procedures that help guide organizations and their employees in handling electronically stored information.

The risks of not complying with information governance programs are enormous.

Information governance is a “set of multi-disciplinary structures, policies, procedures, processes and controls implemented to manage information at an enterprise level, supporting an organization’s immediate and future regulatory, legal, risk, environmental and operational requirements.”

With that definition in mind, let me take one step back in history. At the divestiture of the Bell System, I joined the newly created ‘Baby Bell’ named Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) in 1983. My job was to help create a new legal and regulatory department focusing on how we would manage critical information and data within this newly created company. I did not realize it at the time but we were in effect establishing an information governance program.

Later in my career, I found myself consulting with a number of Washington, D.C. corporate offices regarding the management of their information and data concerning legal, regulatory, investigatory and international issues and risks. My clients always asked – “where is the information located? I cannot find it and I need it now.”

This collective experience helped me devise an Early Information Assessment (EIA) planning methodology. EIA is, in effect, information governance that addresses not just policies, processes and procedures, but also people and technology. EIA serves as a foundation upon which corporations can build proactive information governance programs. And there are two ways to look at EIA:

  • What are the corporate requirements around information and data management?
  • What are the benefits that can be achieved by implementing EIA?

In my next blog post, I will walk you through how the EIA planning methodology helped build, staff and operate a litigation support center for a Fortune 500 insurance company while achieving several key business and legal objectives.


Posted by Joe Kanka, Vice President, Marketing, eTERA Consulting. Joe can be reached at



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