For instance, Serwin says, the U.S. Navy has taken a leading role in rethinking how the U.S. military leverages data in its operations. He notes that the Chief of Naval Operations has elevated information to the Navy's "Main Battery," its primary weapons systems. A key element of that elevation was the removal of sub-optimal information stovepipes in favor of "Warfighting Wholeness" together with an increased concern with cybersecurity issues.
"In order to achieve Information Superiority, to paraphrase the DoD, the private sector must engage in technical and behavioral modification in how information is collected and processed in order to add value," Serwin says. "The first step private companies should take is to create a governance structure, or committee, that includes key senior stakeholders from departments such as IT, privacy, human resources, audit, legal, treasure, security and others with the goal of increasing the horizontal sharing of information and making information the "Main Battery of Business."
Information Governance Structure Should Inventory Information Assets
The first goal of the information governance committee should be a complete information inventory to understand what information the organization has and where it resides, Serwin says.
Once complete, the organization should undertake a data classification exercise. The intelligence community divides information into four categories: unclassified, confidential, secret and top secret. Serwin suggests the private sector adopt a similar scheme, developed by The Lares Institute as the Privacy 3.0 framework for protecting consumer data: non-sensitive, slightly sensitive, sensitive and highly sensitive.
The point of such classification is to focus data protection efforts.
Adopt a Data Classification Scheme
"You're never going to be perfect, but you can eliminate a lot of the problems with information if you focus on the most sensitive information," Serwin adds.
Seek Ways to Share Information Horizontally
Once an organization's entire information inventory has been classified, the information governance committee should focus its attention on creating new ways to horizontally share information within the company while reporting back to senior leadership on its progress.