Generally Accepted Privacy Principles, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, and Generally Accepted the Association for Records Managers, Administrators, CPAs, and chartered accountants in the United States and Canada established Recordkeeping Principles. There are no universally accepted principles established for Information Governance Structure. After some synthesis, analysis, and distillation of vast amounts of web information architecture, these ten principles rise to the top:
1: Executive Sponsorship
No Information Governance structure will survive and be successful if the is no responsible, accountable executive sponsor. The sponsor drives the effort, clears obstacles for the Information Governance committee, communicates the business objectives and goals that the Information Governance process addresses, and keeps upper management informed of the progress.
2: Consulting Stakeholders
Those who work closely with information know why Information Governance arrangements are necessary and how they should be managed. Corporate governance business units need to be consulted on Information Governance policy development. The capabilities and technology plans of the IT department make it the best source to speak to those points. Legal issues are always deferred to the legal team or in-house council. Business unit analysts and management departments know their operations, and the records management department has the records.
For Information Governance to be effective, cross-functional areas must collaborate. The result is more secure and better information for decision-making regarding adherence to legal and regulatory demands.
3: Policy Development and Communication of Information
Clearly defined policies need to be established for information accessibility and use. Those policies need to be communicated to employees regularly and concisely. Guidelines for using the following must be developed by consulting with stakeholders and establishing clearly defined roles.
- Internet web sites
- Posting to blogs
- Mobile computing
- Cloud computing
- Social media
- Instant messaging
Convey the consequences of violating Information Governance policies to employees.
4: The integrity of Information Architecture
Integrity considers consistency in the methods used in creating, retaining, preserving, distributing, and tracking information. Adhering to good Information Governance practices includes technology and techniques that ensure quality data protection. Information Governance strategy to improve information integrity and management includes removing redundant data and maintaining unique data to reduce IT labor costs, storage costs, and risk while providing accurate information for decision-making.
Enforce policies that preserve information integrity and meet legal admissibility standards to prevent claims that information was deleted, tampered with, or altered. Keep audit trails and monitor to ensure compliance with Information Governance policies that ensure data integrity.
5: Organizational Structure and Classification of Information Technology Tools
Semantically linking to related information, categorizing all information, and standardizing formats are components of information classification and organizational silos. Create a disposition and retention schedule that tells how long information should be retained and how it should be disposed of or put into the archives.
Documents, in particular, should be classified by corporate governance strategy or global taxonomy that considers the information’s owner and business function. Information needs to be standardized in format.
Tools like documenting labeling assist in classifying and identifying e-documents and data governance. Records and documents with associated metadata should be kept up-to-date and standardized. Good Information Governance means utilizing meta standards and management appropriate for the organization.
6: Security and Privacy Technology Tools
The information must be secure in its three states – in use, motion, and rest. Measures that protect from alteration, theft, or damage by malicious insiders, outsiders, and accidental actions that might compromise data governance need to be implemented.
For example, if an employee loses a laptop containing confidential information, proper Information Governance will enforce policies to use security-related data governance technologies to secure the information. The following types of measures accomplish this.
- Implementing enhanced audit procedures
- Using remote digital shedding
- Deploying software for information rights management
- Document or data encryption
- Accessing control methods.
Data governance privacy and security are closely related and critical to dealing with identifiable information, such as protected health information or other sensitive or confidential information.
7: Information Accessibility
Web Accessibility is critical in the short term and over time. Long-term digital preservation techniques, such as information needed for more than five years, are used when appropriate. Information accessibility should make the information easy to locate and access. It involves the user interface, enterprise tools, technologies, and search principles. Other primary access controls include delivering information to various hardware devices, identity and access management, and password management.
8: Controlled and Orderly Way to Present Information
Report management, data management, and document management software must be used to control accessibility to creating, updating, and printing reports, documents, and data. Business records need to be assigned to the proper disposition and retention periods. Information may be requested or required in legal proceedings and must be safeguarded and protected through a legal hold process.
9: Monitoring and Auditing Information
Information accessibility and use must be monitored to ensure that policies and guidelines are followed and to measure employee compliance levels. To guard against spoliation claims, report generation, cloud computing, social media, and email must be logged in real-time, and an audit record maintained. Technology tools like document analytics track the number of reports or documents users access and print and the time they spend doing so.
10: Continuous Improvement
Information Governance programs are not one-time project management activities. Ongoing programs need to be reviewed and adjusted periodically for accountability concerning shortcomings and gaps and changes in business growth strategy, technology usage, or business growth environment. Suppose you are implementing or planning an Information Governance program. In that case, the ten principles above are an excellent means of communication with stakeholders and the Information Governance steering committee about what Information Governance is, how to do it, and how to fashion successful Information Governance programs.
The importance of the principles is continually reinforced during the Information Governance project management and measured to determine how well an organization fares in the ten critical areas.
What Are the Principles of Web / IT Governance?
Web governance strategy is the procedures and policies for managing and maintaining website governance. All websites have a web governance system in place. The web governance system is a catalyst for business goals when done correctly.
A transparent model must outline how to complete activities and the resources to use for a web governance strategy to work. Clearly defined principles of web governance are of equal importance.
Why Web Governance Is of Importance to Organizations
The world is becoming more digital. An organization’s website is a central data hub for its audience and vital in communicating its brand. Excellent web governance ensures an organization’s brand is protected through well-defined processes that ensure scalability, stability, and consistency.
Web governance establishes accountability for an organization’s digital presence, assigns roles, sets goals, and grants decision-making authority. In a sense, it is an insurance policy with a strategy that ensures maintenance, archival, and update work to a website has a process and precise definition of the responsibilities and roles of those involved with preserving the functional areas and integrity of a website.
Having a set of practices and rules permits digital team management of sites and other digital content management systems to be orderly and controlled. Whether or not a website owner is aware, all sites have some form of web governance.
A web governance policy helps manage a site’s web presence. It provides structured data for projects, such as website expansions and redesigns, or when internal or external works need to be done via an agency, such as ADA Site Compliance.
Governance helps set the process and standards to ensure web content and digital teams grow. Clearly defined responsibilities and roles keep all those involved moving in the same direction.
Central Web Governance Components
There are four categories of activities for all web governance systems. Each is composed of subtasks. The pillars of a successful strategy for web governance are
Development involves building the website and its features. The infrastructure is the upkeep of servers, content management systems, hosting accounts, etc. Leadership develops strategy and organization. It supervises the successful execution of the activities. Maintenance ensures the website runs smoothly. Organizations need the following resources to support the activities.
The budget covers the cost needed to acquire people, services, and products. Employees, freelancers, consultants, and agencies all have roles as part of the web governance team responsible for performing the activities.
Detailed procedures must be abided by to ensure the execution of activities is successful. Tools are the services and products required to carry out activities. Depending on the focus and situation of an organization, not all the resources may be required. Automated tools may be used to optimize a website if bringing in more people causes budget constraints.
The Difference Between Rules and Principles of Web Governance
The word ‘principles’ is often used when talking about rules. Rules are external motivators that compel people to do things for fear of punishment or threat. Principles are internal motivators that drive people to do what is right or suitable for a business or organization. The benefits of a principle-based approach are:
- They guide various circumstances that arise every day.
- They are flexible and can adapt quickly to modern business experience changes.
- They prevent the mechanical development of the ‘box ticking’ decision-making approach.
- The focus encourages responsibility and guidance of professional judgment.
Clear web governance rules apply to specific procedures and tasks. Rules guide principles. Do not set web governance rules without setting underlying principles.
Adopt These Seven Web Governance Strategy Concepts
Implementing the following incorporates the ten fundamental web governance principles organizations need to develop, improve, and manage business strategy.
- Instill confidence in the website governance.
- Have an underlying business strategy.
- Have a system of monitoring and accountability.
- Adhere to the latest legislation and standards.
- Make web governance an ongoing process.
- Web governance training is essential.
- A content management system is not web management.
Competition is intense, and people are online more and more. A website must gain the trust of those who use it by fulfilling its website expectations and needs. If users do not trust the website content, the business will not grow.
For example, users see a slow website with constant downtimes as a sign of poor performance and quality. They have lost faith in what the website can deliver. Users will likely leave the website and choose another alternative to avoid a bad user experience.
A common problem is broken links. Users get a 404 error message instead of something relevant or useful. The effect is not as detrimental as malware but deteriorates user confidence in web management.
A website must have a business plan to be successful. Use the business plan to define success. With business success defined, other areas fail better, such as steps needed to manage the site and measure and assess its efficacy.
A website business plan provides direction for everyone who works on the website – developers, designers, content creators, etc. It only takes a few brief sentences to define business goals in the mission statement.
A mission statement guides the website’s goals by defining the digital audience and what the website aims to achieve. It should provide the following:
- A reason the website content is created.
- Ensuring everyone is involved in creating.
- Maintaining the content has the same goals.
System of Accountability for Web Management
Regardless of how good a writer is, someone needs to review their work and help make it better. Large institutions need central editing managers who establish a strategy for online content and override low-level decisions that counter the organization’s goals. Those who create content are not the only people who need an editor. Anyone working on a website, whether designing, SEO, or blogging, needs someone to oversee their work. The central managers need a central manager.
Map out website structure to clearly define roles. Web governance and management are not the same things. When a website governance structure is in place, it ensures a transparent accountability system.
One committee or manager at the top ensures website objectives are met. The central committee or manager ensures objectives are met by generating reports. The information needs to be available and regularly analyzed to make decisions about website improvement. Graphs show the health of a site over time. They make it easy for the team to see how they are doing regarding the maintenance quality of SEO and the website.
Latest Legislation and Standards
This principle of website governance applies to international standards and industry-specific regulations, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. About 15 percent of the population in the world has a form of disability.
Only a small percentage of sites are designed for access by people with disabilities. Many countries have enacted legal requirements for certain website accessibility. There is the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
The European Union has the Web Accessibility Directive, and Canada has the Accessibility for Ontarians Act. Besides legal compliance, there are other reasons for web access improvement, particularly the increase in an organization’s audience and the improvement of the website’s quality.
An Ongoing Process
Web governance requires more than a yearly cleanup or redesign. While policies may not change frequently, website governance should actively continue. If your website has issues, you have to do more than hire someone to address them and forget about them. Careful monitoring is required to see if hiring someone has any effect.
Since website governance is ongoing, it only makes sense to invest in training to improve outcomes. Anyone involved in a site should understand the guiding principles and feel empowered to work on them effectively.
Content Management System
A Content Management System helps carry out website governance. It cannot review the effectiveness, enforce policies, or drive a site in the right direction. This is true of other tools also. A website governance tool helps free up resources that will save valuable time for the staff. It helps improve SEO and site quality, manage users, and evaluate results. The organization is charged with the responsibility of establishing a website governance model. Decision-makers determine how it will be used.
What Is a Good Web Governance Structure?
How organizations define website governance affects how they model their structure and govern it. There are five steps to governing a website successfully. They are:
A governance framework cannot thrive without senior executives’ buy-in. Without senior management support, the best-laid policies and world-class standards will not become the status quo. Managers must be responsible for holding their direct reports to the established governance standards.
It can take longer than a year for the entire organization to adopt a good governance structure. Make a concise, clear summary of the governance framework available to the entire organization.
It is wise to create an internal website containing core standards, policies, and principles. A centralized website location is easy to maintain and edit quickly if necessary. An organization can delve deeper into each standard and provide examples of good governance and bad practices on the site.
There cannot be too much communication. Monthly or quarterly, provide information highlighting new legal updates, design updates, policies, governance standards, etc. Include upcoming items, tips, and reminders stakeholders should know.
In place of or in addition to email, hold a monthly meeting. Has information about everything discussed been posted on the internal documentation website and pointed people back to it? These steps ensure that everyone receives the data and has access to it on demand. Make yourself available to marketing teams.
Hold weekly office hours via Skype or in person or create an e-mail address for governance-related questions. It is an excellent way to monitor concerns and determine if changes should be considered. A transparent auditing process, clearly communicated, becomes a positive reinforcement.
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The ADA prohibits any private businesses that provide goods or services to the public, referred to as “public accommodations,” from discriminating against those with disabilities. Federal courts have ruled that the ADA includes websites in the definition of public accommodation. As such, websites must offer auxiliary aids and services to low-vision, hearing-impaired, and physically disabled persons, in the same way a business facility must offer wheelchair ramps, braille signage, and sign language interpreters, among other forms of assistance.
All websites must be properly coded for use by electronic screen readers that read aloud to sight-impaired users the visual elements of a webpage. Additionally, all live and pre-recorded audio content must have synchronous captioning for hearing-impaired users.
Websites must accommodate hundreds of keyboard combinations, such as Ctrl + P to print, that people with disabilities depend on to navigate the Internet.
Litigation continues to increase substantially. All business and governmental entities are potential targets for lawsuits and demand letters. Recent actions by the Department of Justice targeting businesses with inaccessible websites will likely create a dramatic increase of litigation risk.
Big box retailer Target Corp. was ordered to pay $6 million – plus $3.7 million more in legal costs – to settle a landmark class action suit brought by the National Federation of the Blind. Other recent defendants in these cases have included McDonald’s, Carnival Cruise Lines, Netflix, Harvard University, Foot Locker, and the National Basketball Association (NBA). Along with these large companies, thousands of small businesses have been subject to ADA website litigation.
Defendants in ADA lawsuits typically pay plaintiff's legal fees, their own legal fees for defending the litigation, and potential additional costs. In all, the average cost can range from tens of thousands of dollars, to above six figures. There are also high intangible costs, such as added stress, time and human capital, as well as reputational damage. Furthermore, if the remediation is incomplete, copycat suits and serial filers can follow, meaning double or triple the outlay. It's vital to implement a long-term strategy for ensuring your website is accessible and legally compliant.