The New Year’s resolution of many general counsel is to resolve the information governance (IG) quandary that remote working has visited on their companies. The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought fundamental changes in the way that we all work and manage information. Companies whose workforces went remote in 2020 are faced not only with increased volumes and types of data generated and accessed by their decentralized teams, but also with reduced visibility and control over data residing on the myriad of corporate and individual devices and repositories. Simultaneously, new data protection laws are imposing heightened requirements on the capture, use, disclosure, storage and destruction of information. This has resulted in a perfect storm of IG risks—including security, privacy, legal and regulatory, business continuity, efficiency, productivity and cost.
With remote work likely to be the new normal, at least in part, companies are increasingly turning their attention to these risks and their implications to the business. Good data stewardship is good for productivity, security and customer confidence, not to mention regulatory peace; conversely, failures can be catastrophic (check your newsfeed any day for the latest data breach). We have seen a marked uptick in inquiries from clients looking to invest in process and technology to understand and cabin in these risks, and to turn this new normal to their advantage. Below we provide a more in-depth discussion of the changes and IG implications of remote work, and suggestions for getting ahead of the resulting data tsunami.