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Are you in the cloud? Are you going to the cloud? Moving electronic content and its management to the cloud drives great benefits in terms of reducing information technology (IT) storage costs and support requirements while providing substantial flexibility and scalability to end users and IT departments. However, these tangible savings and productivity benefits often introduce risks in terms of compliance, data privacy, and information security.

You don’t want to ignore these types of organizational risks!
Regardless of whether your organization is considering software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), or outsourcing your entire IT ecosystem to infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) to the cloud, these risks are real, and the cloud services industry as a whole is doing a stellar job of not only mitigating the risks of data privacy and security, they are also participating in professional organizations, like the Cloud Security Alliance, to assure they meet baseline requirements.

In fact, today, there are several standards and certifications available for companies planning cloud implementations; nevertheless, all of the technology and expert consultation in the world won’t fully protect your data without an information governance impact assessment and a roadmap for mitigating the realized gaps, risks, and issues present when considering your own organization’s information management policies.

Wait, why the cloud at all if I need to re-assess and make changes?
  • Experienced business leaders are constantly looking for ways to improve and make the most of their resources, and a movement to the cloud provides a scalable infrastructure and access to the latest software and application updates.
  • Whether driven by a need to cut costs or in pursuit of a competitive advantage, cloud adoption supports many organizational goals while allowing a business to develop new strategies and invest in its digital transformation, particularly, enabling the first key steps in enterprise mobility.
  • The cloud is a key tactical step organizations are taking in their digital transformation journey, and business that fail to take this step or don’t take it with a risk mitigation plan in place may find themselves several paces behind.
Assess the journey
The journey to the cloud is more strategic when there is a proper information governance assessment performed.

Information governance assessments are short-term projects that enable an objective third party to partner with an organization to establish realistic success criteria for determining current state position and communicating future state needs in an easy-to-follow roadmap and implementation plan.

Among other benefits, these assessments provide the organization an implementation plan, including clear risk identification and mitigation activities to address gaps in circumstances where parts of an organization has already employed cloud solutions. With an assessment in place, cloud deployment goalposts and objectives can be identified and established early and directly align with a company’s established information governance and records management programs and strategies—resulting in an actionable plan.

By understanding the analysis that is generated by an information governance assessment, an organization can identify risks that may impact consumers, producers, stakeholders, context, organizational goals, and governance requirements in their program. Additionally, by analyzing information that is collected using internal and external tools, gaps can be identified between current and future states—resulting in a move to the cloud that is in conjunction and alignment with supporting and protecting records and data management requirements and standards.

With preventative measures and a structured approach, an information governance assessment can help organizations to realize the flexibility, security, and value of strategically placing cloud into their framework—mitigating risk along the journey.

Brett Claffee is the Information Governance Business Lead from Paragon Solutions' Information Management Practice and has 15 years of records management and over 20 years of Life Sciences industry experience. For more information, visit www.consultparagon.com or follow @consultparagon.