We have been reading with interest the debate currently under way in the Information Governance community about whether IG efforts should continue to focus on the classic “classify and delete” concept or instead take a “save and search” approach.

U.S. e-Discovery lawyer Ralph Losey is of the view that the current IG preoccupation with classification, retention and destruction of data will soon stop being a viable and efficient activity. Instead, Mr. Losey advocates paring IG down to a “save everything and search” approach on the basis that “storage costs are now negligible and search is far more efficient, or soon will be”.  See Mr. Losey’s two-part blog: “Hadoop, Data Lakes, Predictive Analytics and the Ultimate Demise of Information Governance – Parts One and Two” (http://e-discoveryteam.com/2014/10/26/hadoop-data-lakes-predictive-analytics-and-ultimate-demise-of-information-governance-part-one/)  and (http://e-discoveryteam.com/2014/11/02/hadoop-data-lakes-predictive-analytics-and-the-ultimate-demise-of-information-governance-part-two/?relatedposts_hit=1&relatedposts_origin=29661&relatedposts_position=2).

Dean Gonsowski of Recommind recently blogged the counter argument in: “The Death of Information Governance is Greatly Exaggerated” (http://www.recommind.com/blog/2014/11/20/death-information-governance-greatly-exaggerated).  Mr. Gonsowski points out that the “keep everything, find everything” philosophy is based on the flawed presumption that “all data has value (potential or real) and that value outweighs the risks and liabilities associated with ESI”.  The concept of managing risk and optimizing value is core to IG.  Mr. Gonsowski notes that the save and search approach is not “inherently wrong, but it does fail to consider the security, privacy and regulatory risks attendant with those same pieces of information.”

Wortzmans thoughts on this debate:  Improving search capabilities is crucial. Classifying information is challenging. While improving search capabilities and developing ways to classify information are both challenging, that does not mean that they are not worthy goals that organizations should strive to achieve.  There is clear merit in classifying information and disposing of data that has no business value.  Saving everything forever is simply not the best option for many businesses. Our clients tell us that their data storage costs are steadily increasing.  Saving data also increases risk.  Cyber breaches are becoming more prevalent – the more information that is stored, the more that can be stolen.  Data security and protection of privacy are concerns for individuals and businesses.  The benefits to managing risk by classifying valuable information and deleting the rest, outweigh the risk of the “keep everything” approach.