It’s not just about the technology…

Dear Information Agony Aunt

Help! I’ve recently been given the task of managing digital continuity within my organisation. The thing is I haven’t got a clue where to start. My organisation holds 15+ years’ worth of digital information across a range of different systems (some current and some legacy). I don’t think we have officially deleted anything. Isn’t there a whizzy piece of software that can solve our problems for us?

Your agony aunt at work (catalogue reference DEFE 1/322)

Your agony aunt at work (catalogue reference DEFE 1/322)



Dear Confused

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard someone say that software could solve all their ills, I’d be a very rich agony aunt! The bad news is that I am not aware of such a system.

The good news is that there are a number of steps that you can take to start getting a handle on this within your organisation:

Make sure you have the right people involved

  • Appoint a Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) for digital continuity. This is not a full time role but someone to lead and coordinate work in this area
  • Identify all those people who need to be involved and ensure that digital continuity is built into their responsibilities
  • Ensure that you have support of senior management

Know what information you create/hold and how you need to use it

  • Find out what information you have, understand the value it has to the organisation, where it is kept, how it is organised and managed and how long it needs to be kept for
  • Understand how you need to use your information, for example, who needs to use it, and how they need to work with it
  • Understand your technical environment and how it supports your information, for example; what systems you have, how long these systems will last, the relationship between these systems, what file formats your information is in
  • Document this information, for example, in an Information Asset Register

Assess and manage risks

  • Identify the risks to the continuity of your information – this is anything that will stop you from being able to find, open, work with, understand and trust your digital information in the way that you need for as long as you need
  • Identify actions to mitigate these risks

Maintain digital continuity

  • Make digital continuity part of business as usual, for example, ensure the requirements are built into strategies, policies and business plans, change management procedures, information risk mechanisms
  • Manage your IT and information for future flexibility and agility, for example, streamline and consolidate IT, use open standards and formats where possible

Further information can be found on our digital continuity web pages

Remember good information management = digital continuity

Good luck!

Information Agony Aunt


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