Hello from Turkey! This is my first trip here and I am probably spoiled forever. I presented at an EMC Banking Summit, held at the Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul. This is a five-star hotel that was once the home of Ottoman sultans. It is situated on the shores of the Bosphorus, which is a major waterway that connects the Black Sea ultimately to the Mediterranean. It also separates two continents – Asian Turkey from European Turkey. In my research, I learned that this is a strategic waterway used for international shipping, including oil coming from Russian and western Asia. If you want to learn more and see a map of this area, check out this link: http://www.worldatlas.com/aatlas/infopage/bosporus.htm
There are two suspension bridges to cross the Bosphorus. From the hotel, I could see the Bosphorus Bridge. Istanbul sits on both sides of the Bosphorus . The hotel preserves its history both outside and in.
With this historical and beautiful backdrop, about 60 senior executives from financial institutions from across the Middle East met to learn about EMC’s strategy, explore different IT challenges, and network with other attendees. I had the opportunity to present on Information Governance to the group.
It’s not hard to understand why Information Governance makes sense for financial services. The two year anniversary of Lehman Brothers, the recent sentencing of the French trade from Societe Generale… there are numerous global examples that are driving increased scrutiny into financial services firms. Information is both a liability and an asset for this industry, necessitating good information management policies.
But while I’m living Information Governance every day, these executives had lots of things that keep them up at night. For example, security is a top concern to protect themselves and their customers from fraudulent activities. For others, the infrastructure is paramount to eliminate latency and ensure zero downtime. This is an incredibly competitive environment where the CIO has a lot of priorities to balance costs, risk and productivity.
My objective in all of presentations is to talk about how and why Information Governance is a must have, and not a nice to have. Sure it is important to make sure that you have an infrastructure that can scale to meet the business needs. It is equally as important to have a rock-solid security strategy to protect from all of the maliciousness of today’s world. But at the heart of the business is information. What information is retained for what period of time is critical in a regulated industry. Other factors, such as where the information is stored and how information is accessed are also important considerations. And hitting the delete button at the end of the lifecycle needs to happen according to defined policies.
So in practical terms, I shared the following story with the executives during the event. I was talking to an IT director recently and she was talking about a leaked spreadsheet and the damage it caused. The “leak” was internal to this particular organization. And the leaked information wasn’t anything that gave away intellectual property. Rather, this spreadsheet had employee salaries. The spreadsheet was stored on an unsecured file share. How did IT find out? IT found out because everyone was grumbling about how much so-and-so got paid. I use this story because it transcends industries, size of organization and geography. Improper management of your information –of your unstructured content that can be stored in unsecured file shares – can do damage to your business. In this case, there wasn’t necessarily any direct outcome other than some very unhappy employees.
So long for now! I’ll write again soon.