What is Information Lifecycle? Everything You Should Know

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Image showing the information lifecycle stages

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

Information lifecycle refers to the stages that information must go through and be managed during its lifespan. The lifecycle of information consists of five major stages: creation, storage, processing, distribution, and disposition. Different policies and procedures exist at each phase.

An effective information lifecycle will help your organization in reducing security, compliance, and legal risks while also lowering operational and storage costs, increasing employee productivity, and making better business decisions.

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

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

The Five Stages of the Information Lifecycle

There are generally five stages in the information lifecycle: 1. Acquisition and creation 2. Storage and maintenance 3. Processing and use 4. Dissemination and output 5. Archival and preservation

1- Acquisition and creation

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

In this digital age, most businesses use the cloud to store their data, 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 lifecycle is Usage, during this stage the information is being received, organized and evaluated. For example, if you are a business who will be processing CRM data in order to make decisions on how to grow your business, you need to understand how your CRM data 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 disposal or retention of information. When does the organization want to either maintain or discard the information?

Depending on the type 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 lifecycle 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.

I strongly recommend reading the below article for more information

What is Archiving: Why is it Important? (theecmconsultant.com)

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.

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 data?
  • What about data that needs to be deleted?
  • How can we reduce risk and exposure?
  • What about data that needs to be shared and what about sensitive data?

Why IML is 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 organization can save cost by $3M

Some of the benefits of information lifecycle include:

1- Reduced risks

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 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.

3- Improved service

When employees don’t have to worry about routine and repetitive tasks like location information, you can use the time saved to improve the services you provide to your clients.

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.

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