Compliance is a much-needed but often overlooked requirement in Australian businesses. Your company must adhere to laws, regulations, standards, and ethical practices to protect organisational and customer data. The necessary regulations will depend on your industry, but nonetheless, compliance is critical for maintaining your integrity, avoiding legal penalties, and upholding your reputation in the market.
Good governance is one contributor to achieving compliance. For many of us, SharePoint has become a staple in our work lives, and as such, it is another element of the business that must meet compliance standards.
SharePoint governance tools simplify the management of your site, apps, content and data. While tools like Microsoft Syntex can streamline data and content management in SharePoint, your company still requires a robust governance strategy to support these activities. What is the value of using SharePoint governance tools in your organisation?
Minimise data and content sprawl
BCG has estimated that the volume of data companies generate will rise at a compound annual growth rate of 21% between 2021 and 2024. If your organisation houses so much data that you cannot properly manage it, it could increase the chances of a compliance problem.
Data sprawl in SharePoint occurs when too many users have permission to upload content, create SharePoint sites or build folder structures. These factors can quickly turn into a situation where the organisation cannot understand the data and content they have.
SharePoint governance tools minimise sprawl by enforcing policies on document retention and version control. Such guidelines help maintain an organised SharePoint environment by regulating how people store and create content.
An organisation that never archives or deletes content will also begin experiencing data sprawl. There is little point in holding information indefinitely. Governance establishes archiving and content deletion routines to ensure that your organisation only retains relevant, up-to-date information.
In addition to enforcing such policies, effectively managing data sprawl requires user training to be part of your governance plan. Educate users on properly creating and managing content within SharePoint to promote a culture of compliance and responsibility.
Secure collaboration for a hybrid workplace
In a study by Adobe, 72% of knowledge workers agreed they cannot work without digital documents, followed by technology that supports collaboration (shown below). For this reason, your organisation needs governance to protect these elements of your business.
Collaboration issues in organisations often stem from unclear roles and document creation rights. SharePoint governance mitigates this by establishing clear roles and responsibilities and ensuring uniformity across departments and projects, which has the knock-on effect of improving processes and teamwork.
Again, training is essential in this governance framework. Users must understand effective and secure SharePoint usage, including content creation and management. Integrating this training into the governance plan ensures all users can proficiently use SharePoint in line with organisational policies.
Monitor and limit access to sensitive data
Managing the document lifecycle in SharePoint involves deleting documents no longer needed by the organisation. This approach ensures that your organisation does not store outdated or irrelevant data. For example, you likely no longer need to keep the driver’s licence information of people who have not done business with your company for five years.
Access control policies are another governance element that enhances data security. They limit access to sensitive documents, allowing only authorised users to view or modify them.
Monitoring user activity within SharePoint helps identify how people use data and can detect potential security threats. It is important to track access and how people edit data; this information can also alert you to unauthorised access and potential breaches. A backup and disaster recovery plan also supports data protection by preventing data loss in case of system failures, ensuring the organisation can restore data quickly and maintain business continuity.
Maintain compliance with legislation and regulations
Australian organisations must adhere to data protection laws such as the Privacy Act 1988. These legal frameworks mandate the handling and protection of personal data, imposing specific obligations on how an organisation manages, stores, and shares sensitive information.
Many Australian companies subject to these regulatory requirements also use SharePoint to store and manage data. SharePoint's role in this context is not just cloud storage but a tool that must align with the legal standards set by these laws and regulations.
SharePoint governance tools help businesses adhere to regulations by applying a governance roadmap designed to meet the company’s specific needs. These tools also track updates to regulations to improve compliance with industry requirements. Regular monitoring helps maintain ongoing compliance, and governance efforts ensure that SharePoint configurations meet the specific demands of relevant laws and regulations.
Implementing these governance strategies in SharePoint is not just about optimising tools; it's about reinforcing the business’ operational integrity and resilience. Proper governance and compliance in SharePoint minimises data sprawl, enhances collaboration and supports data security.
With the right governance policies and tools, your organisation creates a controlled environment that aligns with goals and legal obligations, protecting the company’s assets and ensuring a compliant, efficient operational framework.
Why choose Total Calibration’s SharePoint governance solutions?
We specialise in advanced Information Management and Governance solutions for Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint. Our experts can support new and experienced SharePoint users with comprehensive services, from migrations and troubleshooting to assessments of your current SharePoint setup.
We offer a customised program to automate, secure, and optimise your SharePoint transition. For current users, we craft tailored information and governance plans, ensuring error correction and industry compliance. Visit our website for more information on our Information Management & Governance solutions.