Information Governance vs. Data Governance: What’s the Difference?

Jeremy Dunn

While they’re two of the most commonly used terms in the records and information management (RIM) industry, the definitions and differences of information governance vs. data governance are widely misunderstood. Both information governance and data governance are subfields under the broader umbrella of RIM, but they’re often used interchangeably or confused as one and the same. Though they do complement one another, they have significant differences.

Information governance tends to be associated with the business- and compliance-driven approach to managing the use, retention and disposition of business records. The Information Governance Initiative defines information governance as “the activities and technologies that organizations employ to maximize the value of their information while minimizing associated risks and costs.”

Information governance includes both structured and unstructured data. Its strategies include categorization, information lifecycle, definition of use, information access, secure disposition and eDiscovery.

On the other hand, data governance is usually an IT responsibility. Data governance accounts for all data, both structured and unstructured, as it correlates to data storage and transfer. Aspects involved in data governance include data security, data lineage, data service levels, master data management and data loss prevention.

To understand information governance vs. data governance, you must also understand the skills each entails. Information governance requires specialists with a background in RIM, privacy, technology, collaboration, disposition and discovery, whereas data governance specialists should be adept in data architecture, data modeling, data privacy, data integration and master data management.

Despite the various key differences, there are specific aspects of both information governance and data governance that overlap, creating a strong potential for fruitful collaboration and integration. Identifying the capacity of all business information involved in your organization is an initial step toward a universal approach to a general consensus and collective comprehension of roles and responsibilities.

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