Reports regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account use raise a number of important questions for any organization seeking to manage its business information.  Computerworld recently quoted John Martin, partner and practice leader for Nelson Mullins Encompass, sharing perspectives on the need for a team effort to develop effective communications policies.  “They are not simply IT issues, they are culture issues, they are business issues,” said Martin.

Rules and Risks

What are the organization’s business rules for managing and communicating business information?  What about the risks associated with cyber attacks, malware, malicious viruses, and data breaches on devices, systems, and accounts that are outside of the organization’s control?  Is the workforce aware that commingling personal and business information may have privacy implications?

 As part of the business rules review, consider:

  • Electronic communications policies- does the organization have an electronic communications policy and how does it address authorized communications channels and associated rules for communicating business information?  More on practical tips to consider regarding electronic communications policies and practices can be found here.
  • Mobile devices and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)- if the organization permits BYOD, what types of user guidelines, security measures, and associated practices are in place?  Insights on some strategic issues to consider can be found here.
  • Social media- does the organization have business rules regarding use of social media for business purposes?  Find some practical considerations here.
  • Board-level issues- often Board members are not employees of the organization.  How is information communicated to and exchanged by the Board and what rules apply?  More on Board-level considerations can be found here.
  • Integration with Information Governance- how does the organization integrate rules for personal emails and devices with broader efforts, including records retention, preservation, legal holds and defensible disposal?  Find insights on      strategic issues to consider here.

Team, Culture and Future

Ultimately, successful implementation is rooted in people practices- including measures that communicate, educate, train, and refresh on the organization’s business rules for corporate information and that bake business information considerations into broader enterprise strategies.  So, the next time your organization seeks to outsource or in-source, acquire or divest, transition to a new technology, or implement practices to help improve efficiency, consider whether and which information-related business rules come into play and how best to communicate, adjust, and integrate those rules into broader organizational processes.