A Walk in the Clouds (Without the bad acting by Keanu Reeves)

By Bryant Duhon posted 01-12-2014 19:47


Monica Crocker will talk about how embracing cloud computing isn't a bad thing and has actually HELPED governance issues at Land O'Lakes. Monica's AIIM 2014 sneak peek provides a glimpse into how Land O'Lakes embraced the cloud.

Monica currently serves as Corporate Records Manager for Land O'Lakes. She’s a proponent of information governance and an advocate for animal welfare. Recent publications include the chapter “SharePoint Governance” in Managing Electronic Records: Methods, Best Practices, and Technologies, and the feature article in this year’s AIIM Records Management ECM Toolkit. She is a CRM, PMP, and CIP. Follow her on Twitter: @Rec_Rocker.

I’ve noticed something about people that do jobs (formerly known as “end users”). They have infinite creativity. If you put an obstacle in the way of them getting their job done, they 

will figure out a way around it. You can put strict rule in place, but they will do their work - even if it means disregarding the rule completely. I’ve found the easiest way to obtain compliance is to make the rules simple, and make following the rules easier than not following them.

Here’s an example of a Land O’Lakes Records Management Policy: All employees are responsible for managing the corporate information within their scope of influence in a manner that complies with the corporate records retention schedule. Oh, wait, that’s our entire policy. Well, almost. We do have an exception statement for information subject to a legal hold, in which case, the retention schedule is superseded by the legal hold notice. We also have an Information Governance policy that states: No Land O'Lakes information may be stored on a non-Land O’Lakes managed device or other storage location, except as permitted by a Land O’Lakes contract.

To make policy compliance “the path of least resistance” we have an enterprise-wide, cloud-based file sharing service. This solution can be leveraged for individuals and business units. It also gives business units the ability to grant file-specific access to external business partners. And, we apply the “convenience copy” retention period to those documents, based on our understanding of the use case for documents stored there.

Simple rules…simple solutions. At least from the perspective of the people trying to do their jobs. Behind the scenes, significant research and planning is required to deploy these solutions. Each simple policy is supported with multiple standards and procedures. But not everyone needs to know the standards (like how to configure the default retention on the Exchange email server) so we don’t muddy the policies with unnecessary detail.

We didn’t do this because we’re super smart. We did it because we were desperate. One division wanted to use iPads to access sales materials; another needed to exchange large files with an advertising agency; and an independent records management survey revealed widespread use of thumb drives to make documents portable. We needed a solution enabling access to content from any device and any location. We didn’t embrace the cloud so much as grasp it in a panic.

Concerns about the security of information stored in the cloud are valid. But how much more secure is your current solution that involves storage of your organization’s content on the following:

·       Unencrypted thumb drives;

·       Personal email accounts;

·       Free file sharing services;

·       Computing devices owned by employees; or

·       iCloud?

Any credible cloud storage solution provider is going to be better than that mess. Whenever I hear someone say “if you build it, they will come,” I think to myself, “no, if you don’t build it, they will staple together a tar paper shack without adequate sanitary facilities and invite their friends to live there, too.”

When I present at AIIM 2014, I’ll cover more about the logistics of leveraging cloud computing to support business requirements. My goal will be to give other information management professionals enough background on the different cloud solutions to optimize any organization’s cloud strategy.

Come see my presentation! I promise to avoid any weak Disney references (just because we’ll be in Orlando doesn’t make it OK). But all other cheesy metaphors are on the table.

Join Monica at 5 on April 1 in Orlando for:

You Can't Hug a Cloud, But you can Embrace Cloud Computing

Records in the Cloud? My mother always said, “every problem is a people problem.” The Cloud is no different. It is not a technology issue; it is a challenge that can only be addressed with processes that are implemented by people. Cloud computing solutions bring new risks and challenges. Those can be managed. If you have a real business need that can be solved with a Cloud solution, addressing those challenges makes the effort worthwhile.

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