Feeds

Collaboration, complexity and compliance

It can all be cured by leeches, right?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Workshop The trouble with some terms we use in IT is that they take on a life of their own and suggest an unrealistic simplicity. Take “collaboration” for example. To define it requires a decision: either to focus on a limited set of interactions between specific individuals, or more realistically, to recognise that collaboration refers to just about every aspect of how we work together to do our jobs.

Collaboration is a complex, sprawling mess of activity - from sales guys passing tidbits of leads to each other, to researchers looking to identify whether anyone has tried a similar experiment, or designers exchanging lists of options or, well, you get the idea. It’s no wonder, then, that what we call “collaboration tools” are a similarly mixed bag of capabilities - from email and messaging, to document management and portals.

It is said that our houses reflect the kind of people we are – and this must also apply to the state of our unstructured information, reflecting the complexity and chaotic nature of our interactions. Many organisations face problems when their collaborative environments develop independently and without structure, usually resulting in pockets of information that are difficult to access, system fragmentation, sprawl and duplication. We could accept the situation and move on, hoping for some über-solution in the future that might bind together those pesky records, calls, emails and document exchanges. Meanwhile many organisations are faced with an equally complex - and sometimes contradictory - set of regulatory criteria. In a previous article we cited Sarbanes-Oxley, which as a consequence requires transparency across all such pools of information. And in e-discovery cases such as this one, the defence of “Oh dear, I can’t find it” has been given short shrift.

It would be great to come up with some clear advice at this point, to recommend the technological equivalent of leeches – “Just pop a couple down your codpiece before you go to bed.” In past studies we’ve seen that “classification” can hold the key to better information governance in general, the benefits of which can be seen in the context of collaboration. In the article about identity management and compliance cited above, we also saw the importance of pre-defined provisioning by role and subsequent auditability of access, particularly for specific assets that require locked-down access. These principles are just as appropriate for collaboration technologies such as email and Sharepoint, as for other applications and services.

Whatever measures are considered however, they will need to work in the real world, for example against the background of continued data growth and the “keep-everything” attitude many organisations still have to managing information – which, of course, runs counter to almost every regulation we know. Solutions will need to work for the majority, not just for the few, taking into account the great leveller that is complexity – that is, sooner or later, whatever is put in place will start to creak at the seams.

Is there a final answer, to cut the Gordian knot of complexity and address the problems of managing collaboration, and meeting compliance requirements, without either getting in the way of the job? Should we be looking to draconian measures, such as overnight deletion of information that has not been correctly logged and classified? Or maybe you have discovered tools which really can collate, annotate and index all of our unstructured data assets? If you have, do let us know. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.