Our journey on the topic of different information principles continues with a discussion of an emerging field that has slowly been gaining prominence over the last few years. But what is that field? Information management.
In our previous article on information architecture, we spoke about the issues that data oversaturation brings and we touched upon some of the challenges that need to be addressed when it comes to protecting user privacy and data security. Because of this, in today’s article we are going to be focusing on information management and why it has the potential to solve some of these issues.
What is information management?
In simple words, information management, which is sometimes abbreviated as IM, focuses on the infrastructure that has to be put into place in order for the lifecycle of information to be efficient and its security - guaranteed. IM is starting to be implemented by many different businesses, companies and organizations worldwide due to its fundamental principles and the benefits that it can provide. But what exactly are these management principles?
The 5 pillars of information management
Generally speaking, there are 5 main pillars that a successful IM implementation consists of:
- Collection and gathering of data
- Storage medium(s)
- Distribution and access
- Archival and preservation
If any company or project wants to utilize IM, it needs to address all 5 of the aforementioned principles. Let’s have a closer look at all of them.
Data gathering & collection
This first step includes the methods by which the specific project or business required data is obtained. This could be through a registration form or through any other data collecting way such as books, magazines, online content, websites, social media, brochures or anything else that contains information that you will find to be useful.
Choosing an appropriate storage medium
Once collected, the information then needs to be stored appropriately. This is a very important stage to consider as a substantial level of security should be utilized in order to guarantee that the data will be securely contained. Databases, storage drives and any other devices like external SSDs or flash memory are all a good example of container mediums.
However, it is important to consider the type of information that your project or business deals with prior to making a final choice of a storage medium. Websites and other digital platforms that collect data in a digital format will almost always benefit the most from databases and cloud storage . On the other hand, cultural heritage institutions like museums and galleries would for example take greater caution in creating specific storage locations and conditions for their physical objects which can then be digitized and stored in a virtual space, environment or medium.
Distribution and limiting access
This third step is probably the most important one in the grand scheme of IM. It involves providing access to the right information to the correct user when requested. This step also ensures that unauthorized access will be prevented, which will in turn increase the level of overall security. It is vital to consider who has access to any given piece of information, while also ensuring that no leaks or breaches (and in the case of physical device storage - theft) occur.
However, you also need to keep in mind that individuals have the capability to access their data if it is being collected or used by a business or organization. This is why cookies and privacy policies are important not only for just making websites entirely functional, but also for protecting the digital rights of any user. Make sure that people have access to their own information and prevent them from having the ability to view or extract others’ data.
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Preservation and archiving
The archival and information preservation step has been overlooked for quite some time. However, as of recently many companies and businesses have started to employ archivists to store and manage digital and physical records containing not only company information but also user data, its analysis and the patterns and conclusions that have been drawn from them. This allows said businesses and organizations to make comparisons further down the line about their progress, development and future decisions based on the aforementioned archived information.
However, there are many privacy rights that digital users and physical individuals can evoke to request the removal of their data, which brings us onto the last pillar of IM.
Destroying user data and information
Information destruction is the final pillar of a good IM implementation. It is absolutely crucial to have an efficient and guaranteed method for destroying user information. With Web 3 principles being adopted faster worldwide, resulting in them becoming more widespread now than ever before, it is obvious that digital user rights are also simultaneously becoming a focal point in relation to online privacy and copyright. Due to this, any company and business should be capable of removing user data when requested to do so by the user in question to protect their privacy.
Also, there are digital user privileges such as the ‘right to be forgotten’, which can also be enacted to remove digital footprints for certain individuals, further enhancing the point that having a sufficient and elaborate way to dispose of user information is the ultimate core and fundamental principle that management process consists of.
Information management in hosting
As with all other data principles, IM also applies to our field of cloud hosting. Managing multiple virtual machine instances is no easy task! Knowing which servers are deployed on which machine and setting up the correct routes to monitor all of the servers’ performance and status is something that we have invested much time and effort into, to ensure that our servers have substantially low downtime periods and that nothing gets in the way of the best possible server performance.
We have crafted multiple dashboards that keep track of our servers’ vital signs and we are ready to take appropriate actions when necessary, which is one of the ways in which we implement information management with our machines.
Every error is logged and stored securely to be analyzed, which in turn helps us make our services better. In terms of our customers’ data, we avoid using any third party cookies anywhere on our website and we also utilize our own crypto payment processing implementation to further protect any data and store it safely while also encrypting it, without exposing it to any third-parties. Archiving and preservation happens on multiple encryption levels to securely store all data.
Overall, information management is a set of principles that are becoming increasingly more widespread and utilized by companies and businesses online. It is important to consider implementing all of the aforementioned IM pillars in order to establish an efficient system.