What is Information Lifecycle Management (ILM)?

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Written By Haisam Abdel Malak
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Information lifecycle management (ILM) is the process of managing information from its creation to its final disposition. A company’s ILM strategy can be a key factor in determining how well it manages risk.

Information lifecycle management refers to the stages that information must go through and be managed during its lifespan. It consists of five major phases: creation, storage, processing, distribution, and disposition. Each phase plays a critical role for effective information management.

Effective information lifecycle management will help organizations in reducing security, compliance, and legal risks while also lowering operational and storage costs, increasing employee productivity, and making better business decisions.

Information management lifecycle
Information lifecycle management stages

It is important that companies have an information lifecycle management strategy that includes a plan for managing what it does with information after it has been collected and used. This can help to reduce the risk of theft, misuse, or inappropriate disclosure.

In order to create an effective ILM strategy, companies should first identify the challenges associated with their information and then develop policies and procedures for handling them.

What are the 5 stages of information life cycle?

The five stages of information life cycle include creation, storage, processing, disposition, and archival. Effectively managing these phases will help organizations get the most out of their most important asset. This cycle describes the process of how information is created, shared, and stored throughout its lifecycle.

1- Acquisition and creation

The first phase of managing information in an organization is creation. This is the stage at which information is created and produced by a company or individuals. As an organization, you must identify all of the information sources from which you will receive or generate information.

This will allow you to identify all the examples of information to process as well as provide insight into how the information will flow throughout the lifecycle.

Organizations must ensure that the collected information is of high quality in order for it to be processed and analyzed for better decision making.

2- Storage and maintenance

The second stage of the information life cycle is storage and maintenance. It is critical for organizations to clearly define where their information will be stored, define backup schedules, maintain the information, and secure it in appropriate ways.

In this digital age, most businesses use the cloud to store their information, ensuring that it is secure and accessible when needed. Some organizations, on the other hand, prefer to host their information centrally on their premises in order to control and secure the information as needed.

The benefit of using the cloud is that you can outsource backup plans, server maintenance, and information availability to a provider, lowering costs and allowing your employees to focus on more important tasks.

3- Processing and use

The third stage in the information life cycle is Usage, during this stage the information is received, organized, and evaluated. For example, if you are a business that will be processing CRM in order to make decisions on how to grow your business, you need to understand how your CRM information will be received and what type of processing will occur.

Organizations must also understand how information is shared among employees/departments and with external entities in order to provide the best possible service while ensuring information safety and protection.

Always remember information is only valuable if it can reach the right audience at the right time.

4- Disposition

The fourth stage of an organization’s information life cycle involves the disposal or retention of information. When does the organization want to either maintain or discard the information?

Depending on the types of information, a retention schedule will be established in order to comply with various rules and regulations imposed by governments or industries.

This is one of the most important steps in information life cycle management because failing to dispose of sensitive information on time will almost certainly result in fines and penalties for noncompliance with various rules and regulations.

Check below some of the 25 biggest GDPR fines in Europe

25 Biggest GDPR Fines To-Date | Latest GDPR Fines | Updated 2022 | Tessian

5- Archival

Archival is the final stage of the information lifecycle. In this step, organizations must clearly define how information will be archived and what hardware will be used.

This is a critical step that takes more time than organizations anticipate. Because of technological advancements, businesses must carefully consider the format of information and the technologies to be used in order to preserve the information for as long as it is necessary for business operations.

What is the purpose of information lifecycle management (ILM)?

The goal of information life cycle management is to optimize the value of information, minimize costs and risks, and ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. It is an essential part of any information management strategy that organizations should adapt across their departments.

ILM is an essential part of digital transformation. It can be used in various scenarios, such as information governance, compliance management, risk mitigation, and information protection.

The Challenges of an Effective Information Lifecycle

The information lifecycle, or the process of managing information in a business, is a complicated process. It can be challenging to keep track of the different steps involved in the lifecycle but with the help of best practices for IM, organizations can overcome them.

The key to an effective information lifecycle is a holistic approach that manages all aspects of it.

The challenges are:

  • How to deal with outdated information?
  • What needs to be deleted?
  • How can we reduce risk and exposure?
  • What needs to be shared and what about sensitive information?
  • Following up with the latest trends in the information management industry.

Why is information life cycle important?

Information lifecycle management is important to organizations because it helps ensure that information is managed effectively throughout its entire lifecycle, from creation to disposal. ILM can help organizations improve efficiency, reduce costs, and improve security.

In a report, Deloitte claims that implementing Information lifecycle management within an organization can save costs by $3M.

Information lifecycle management benefits include:

1- Reduced risks

Reducing information risks is considered among the top information lifecycle management benefits.

When information is properly managed, your organization should be able to comply with various rules and regulations, lowering the risk of fines and penalties that could cost your company a fortune.

Furthermore, by preserving and serving only high-quality information to employees and managers, you improve the decision-making process, lowering the risks of making uninformed business decisions.

2- Cost savings

Quick information retrieval, backups, and storage are among the top information lifecycle management benefits as it can help your organization save money that it can use to improve services or introduce new products.

Did you know that 30 percent of employees’ time is spent looking for information? Employees will be able to use saved searching for more important tasks if the proper information management strategy is implemented.

IM can help you reduce storage costs by moving information to less expensive storage options as it ages..

3- Improved security

By understanding where your information resides and how it is being used, you can better protect it from unauthorized access and misuse.

4- More effective governance

ILM may add managerial consistency and controls that benefit the organization. ILM can provide the extra benefit of enhanced information management for the entire organization.

ILM can help you better comply with regulations by ensuring that information is properly managed throughout its lifecycle.

5- Improved performance

ILM can help you improve IM system performance by moving information to faster storage options as it becomes more active.

6- Increased agility

Increasing agility is considered one of the top information lifecycle management benefits as it can help you respond more quickly to changing business needs by making it easier to access and use the right information at the right time.

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