Are you looking to run a successful business in the modern era? If so, you need to think about your most valuable resources and how you use them. Some of your most valuable resources include your equipment, employees, and information. Even though you cannot physically hold electronic information in your hands, it is still essential.
If you do not manage your information well, you might have a difficult time meeting your clients’ needs. Furthermore, you run the risk of driving your customers right into the arms of your competitors. You might also place your company at risk because a cybercriminal may try to hack into your company and steal your confidential information. That is where information management is helpful.
What is information management, and how can you get the most out of this process? Make sure you rely on the right software programs to help you protect your valuable information.
An Overview of Information Management
First, it is essential to cover an information management definition. Information management refers to the maintenance, storage, and dissemination of data, files, and other types of information. You need to gather, protect, archive, and destroy data in a way that is beneficial to your company, your employees, and your clients. Information management refers to all types of information. You must have firm procedures and guidelines in place that allow your organization to adapt quickly to a changing environment, making sure that different departments, individuals, and stakeholders have their best interests protected.
What are a few examples of information management, and how can you make sure you manage your information effectively?
What Role Does Information Management Play in Your Workplace?
If you want your company to achieve its goals, you need to have a robust information management process in place. You can protect vital business information, make it easier for your employees to gather the required information, and shield your organization from regulatory harm.
There are several important roles that information management plays in your business. They include:
Reduce the Risk of Your Company
One of the most important roles of information management is reducing the risk your company takes on. Today, the vast majority of companies use electronic file storage mechanisms. You probably use an electronic file storage mechanism as well. Unfortunately, anyone who has access to your network could theoretically access your files. This means that your company could be placed at risk.
A strong information management strategy should help you reduce this risk by protecting your information from being damaged, corrupted, or stolen. You need to think about hackers, cybercriminals, and natural disasters that could threaten the overall integrity of your information.
Improve Consumer Confidence by Protecting Your Information
As alluded to above, one of the most important parts of information management is protecting, storing, and guarding your information against a variety of threats. This includes natural disasters and potential hackers. If you have a strong strategy in place, you can improve the level of confidence consumers have in your company.
Today, customers are more educated than ever in the past. They want to know that if they give you their confidential information, you will do everything in your power to protect it. Suppose you showcase the strong information management strategies that you have in place. In that case, your customers should feel more comfortable doing business with you because they know their information is safe in your hands.
Create a More Efficient Workplace
Furthermore, a robust information management strategy should also create a more efficient workplace. Have you ever worked in a business that has paper records? Imagine the amount of time you spend going through filing cabinets, trying to find the files you require. If you have a good information management strategy in place, your employees should access the information they need more quickly.
Of course, it is still possible to have a dysfunctional information management strategy if you use electronic equipment. You need to think carefully about how you organize and store your files. Then, you need to train your employees to follow these procedures. That way, when they need to access something to do their jobs, they will have an easier time doing so. If you think carefully about your information management strategy, you should make your company more efficient.
Cut Operating Costs and Overhead Expenses
Information management can also help you reduce your operating costs and overhead expenses. There are a lot of tools that go along with data files and storage. You need to collect your information, analyze it accordingly, and invest in the proper hardware and software to store your files. Then, when you no longer need those files, you need to destroy them properly so that nobody else can access your information. This can take a lot of money, and it could take a major bite out of your operating budget.
If you focus on a solid information management strategy, you should prioritize your most important records. Then, you can streamline your other processes, making it easier for you to manage the information life cycle. Ultimately, this means that you should not have to spend as much money on information management, freeing up resources that you can spend elsewhere.
Shield Your Company Against Fines and Sanctions
No matter what industry you operate in, you need to make sure you focus on regulatory requirements. For example, if you work in the healthcare industry, you need to make sure that you adequately shield all protected health information from harm. Usually shortened to PHI, this is covered by HIPAA. If there is a data breach, regulatory officials will look at your information management strategies to make sure you are using the right protective tools. If you do not protect your information accordingly, you could open your company up to a wide array of fines and sanctions. Information management can reduce the chances of this happening because you will have the proper security measures to protect your confidential information.
These are just a few of the many roles that information management plays in your workplace. If you want to set up the right strategy, what are a few important factors you need to think about?
Creating a Strong Information Management Strategy
You need to follow several important steps if you want to get the most out of your information management strategy. A few of these steps include:
What are your regulatory requirements?
First, you need to think about any and all regulatory requirements you need to follow. For example, do you need to have an extra firewall in place? Do you need to have certain antivirus software? Do you need to have a certain number of backup copies?
Depending on the industry in which you operate, these regulatory requirements can vary significantly. No matter what information management strategies you use, you need to abide by those requirements. Then, you also need to have a strategy in place to review these requirements periodically. That way, if the requirements change, you can update your strategy accordingly.
Where is your information coming from?
After this, you need to think about where your information is coming from. As a business, you will be getting information from all over the place. For example, you might have internal departments that need to store their files. Then, as you hire and remove certain employees, you will have other information you need to track. You might also research competitors and your industry that you need to keep track of. You also need to stay up-to-date on any files that you need to report to regulatory authorities.
You need to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. How are you going to collect this information efficiently? Then, you need to think about what you will do next with this information once you have it.
How do you want to organize and classify your information?
Collecting the information is great, but you also need to make sure you organize and classify it in a way that is easy to track. You need to outline the type of information you’re getting, its format, how frequently you are collecting it, where you are collecting it from, and how long you need to store it.
You also need to categorize the information accordingly. You might have financial, demographic, and legal information you need to store. Some of it might be quantitative, while other information might be qualitative. Every company adopts a different strategy, and you need to think about what strategy will work best for your business.
How are you going to control access to your information?
Now that you have all the information stored and classified, you need to ensure the right people have access to it. For example, if you have marketing research, you need to protect that information, but you also need to make sure your marketing team can access it to do their jobs. On the other hand, you also need to hedge your risk by ensuring the people who do not require access to the information do not have it. Putting too many security measures in place may be too hard for the right departments to access the information. There is a balance between encumbering your employees and making your information vulnerable. You need to find the right balance for your company.
What hardware and software programs are you going to use?
Furthermore, you need to make sure you perform a detailed cost-benefit analysis. Of course, you want to use the best hardware and software available, but this will be expensive. You need to purchase the infrastructure, train staff to use the equipment, and maintain it after it is all set up. If you have a strong information management strategy, you should be able to maximize the benefits of your plan while also limiting your overhead expenses.
How are you going to destroy your information?
Finally, you need to take a look at the information life cycle and figure out what you are going to do with the information once you no longer need it. How are you going to destroy the information? It isn’t as easy as shredding a paper copy. Before you get rid of a piece of hardware, you need to make sure you wipe it completely. Remember that it is possible to retrieve a deleted file, so you may want to overwrite the information to make it impossible for someone to read. You may want to talk to a professional who can help you figure out the best way to dispose of this information. Even though you no longer need the information, it still has a lot of confidential files, and you need to prevent others from getting their hands on it.
Clearly, there are a lot of questions you need to answer if you want to set up a strong information management strategy for your business. For this reason, you need to rely on the right file storage solutions.
Count on SmartFile To Help You Manage Your Information Appropriately
Information management is one of the most important parts of running a business in the current environment. If you are looking for the best program available, you should rely on SmartFile. SmartFile is a comprehensive file sharing and storage solution that gives you access to the customizable features you require. No matter what industry you operate in, SmartFile can help you keep track of your information while also protecting it from harm.
Even though you may think you can handle all of this on your own, it is always better to rely on a professional who can help you. Take a look at some of the features provided by SmartFile today, and reach out to a professional who can help you adequately protect, manage, and apply your information.