Curt Gauci, owner and managing director at Kinetix IT Solutions, outlines the importance of data management in light of the General Data Protection Regulation.

The digital transformation has amplified digitisation to unprecedented levels in our personal lives as well as in organisations.

Business environments make use of a variety of digital tools and collect all sorts of data which gives rise to opportunities as well as challenges. Organisations that need to comply to certain industry standards tend to be more disciplined in the way they collect data and in the way collected data is managed. 

Organisations that don’t need to adhere to industry standards tend to simply collect data, which in its majority is unstructured data. The increase in storage media capacities and the lowering of the cost of data storage has contributed in these organisations becoming data hoarders.

GDPR will be a game changer as from this May, since all organisations operating within the EU or providing services within the EU will be assigned responsibilities for any personal data that they store within their systems. Organisations will also have certain obligations that they would need to fulfill within a predetermined time frame if a data subject requests access, modification, porting or deletion of their data.

Organisations need to implement policies covering what data should be kept, for how long and how this data will be managed throughout its lifecycle. Data classification is an important part of any data governance plan. It is vital to adopt a classification scheme that applies throughout your organisation. Across your organisation, you probably have different types of content that require different actions taken to comply with industry regulations and internal policies. 

GDPR will be a game changer

Labels can easily be made available to an entire organisation and its content across Office 365, including Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Office 365 groups. If you need to classify content or manage records anywhere in Office 365, with labels, you can enable people in your organisation to apply a label manually, so they can classify it and have the appropriate retention policy applied.

You can also apply labels to content automatically if it matches specific conditions, such as what the content contains, or apply a default label to a document library in SharePoint and Office 365 group sites, so that all documents in that library get the default label.

Another option is to implement records management across Office 365, including both e-mail and documents. You can use a label to classify content as a record. When this happens, the label can’t be changed or removed, and the content can’t be edited or deleted

Microsoft Office 365 solutions have several features that in conjunction with labels can help you manage your unstructured data throughout its entire lifecycle. Data governance features help you archive and preserve content and import data into your Office 365 organisation. The retention feature can help you manage the lifecycle of email and documents by keeping the content you need and removing content after it’s no longer required.

Advanced Data Governance uses intelligence and machine-assisted insights in order to help you find, classify, set policies on, and take action to manage the lifecycle of the data that is most important to your organisation. 

Information management policies in SharePoint Online enable you to control how long to retain content, to audit what people do with content, and to add barcodes or labels to documents.

Also, journaling in Exchange Online can help you respond to legal, regulatory, and organizational compliance requirements by recording inbound and outbound e-mail communications while eDiscovery search can be used to find text and metadata in content across your Office 365 assets.

So, have you started your journey towards data management, protection as well as compliance?


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