Ilana brings more than 20 years of experience as an information professional in government, corporate, industry and nonprofit sectors to Information Governance ANZ's International Council.
Having worked in a variety of roles across the information management spectrum, she is dedicated to assisting organizations to be in control of their information assets and helping her clients gain access to the right information at the right time at the lowest cost to maximize workplace productivity. To this end, she utilizes her experience in records management, discovery, litigation support, legal operations, cloud risk evaluation, data privacy and building bridges across disciplines.
Tell us about yourself?
I grew up in suburban Sydney and I’ve moved countries twice, first to Israel and then to NJ, USA where I’ve been for twenty years. Subsequently, I’m skilled at starting over and adapting to different lifestyles, cultures, work environments, and making new friends. I love swimming and Pilates. I believe in doing for the greater good and have recently joined the Big Brother Big Sister mentoring program as a Big to my Little 16-year-old sister. Last but certainly not least, I am a mother to two millennials who keep me grounded to what really matters in my life.
What led you into the world of Information Governance (IG)?
I came to IG through what I call the “traditional” path. My affinity with contemporary history led me to start in the world of archives, after which I moved into records and information management. With my RIM background I was fortunate enough to land a corporate IG position which enabled me to expand into e-discovery and legal operations. My journey has been a progression that reflects the maturity and expanding scope of the information management profession. Along the way I completed a Masters in Library and Information Science and became a certified records manger (CRM) and certified information privacy professional (CIPP/US).
Tell us about your current role in IG?
After having worked in government, non-profit and corporate, I decided that my next step was to share my craft and experience with a range of clients. The best way to maximise this was to take the leap into the consulting world and in June 2019 I started at Deloitte in the Information Governance and eDiscovery practice. I love helping clients enhance their organizations’ RIM and IG programs, but the best part is going into a company with my team and leaving it in a better position, more efficient, with more functioning business processes than when we went in. In addition, I’m currently on the ARMA northeast region advisory committee and I facilitate a week on IG for online Records Management classes at several US universities.
What pressures are organisations facing to ensure IG best practices?
Writing this as we begin to emerge from COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, the new reality for IG’s future is unknown. However, IG’s basic tenants of optimizing control, security and disposition of information while mitigating risk will need to continue to function as long as organizations exist. Pressures to ensure best practices come in the form of external and internal drivers. External drivers include authorities such regulatory and legislative imperatives as well as sectorial and industry compliance and standards. In addition, a huge impetus for many companies is brand reputation, sustainability and loyalty. No less important are internal drivers such as compliance with internal policies and procedures as well as company culture and mindset.
What are the biggest developments you have seen in the IG?
One of the biggest developments I’ve seen in IG is the intellectual thought maturity around IG itself. The last six years have seen a burgeoning in IG models starting with the EDRM, and continuing on with the Compliance, Governance and Oversight Council IG Process Maturity Model, ARMA IG Implementation Model (IGIM), Association of Corporate Counsel Legal Operations Maturity Toolkit, Corporate Legal Operations Consortium and InfoGovANZ. These models are readily available, and each has a different slant that provides a lens through which to view, drive and implement IG frameworks.
Undoubtedly, digitization programmes have had a huge impact on IG as well as data migration initiatives. Finally, the who, what, where, why of records and information and the need for routine deletion is the core of a sound IG program. Most organizations realise that it is important to know data owners, descriptions of data sources, timeframe of the data, location and the purpose of collecting the data and when and how data is dispositioned. It’s our job as IG professionals to get organizations to act on what they know is the right and necessary road to take.
Do you have any tips for someone starting out in IG?
IG practitioners come from varied backgrounds – the arts, health sciences, finance, law and IT. A basic function of IG is to build bridges between multi-disciplines such as RIM, privacy, security, RIM and IT (systems and architecture). Anyone starting out today should be competent in several areas and know enough to be able to navigate across disciplines. In addition to hard skills, IG personnel need to bring their soft people skills to the table. So many IG projects depend on integrating teams, negotiating resources and coordinating across boundaries. In addition, IG professionals have to make themselves available for new initiatives and put themselves “out there”. Continual education and self-reinvention are needed to keep moving forward.
With the rapidly evolving technologies and digital disruption, where do you see IG heading in the next few years?
The future for IG is positive as long as practitioners consistently align with organizational goals, prioritise information needs and mitigate potential risks caused by inadequate controls. Areas in which IG can partner with business units to be innovative and forward thinking are squeezing the wisdom out of data or monetizing data analytics, using AI for classifying large data sets (think unstructured data on file shares and file sharing sites) and mediating in the tug of war between retaining big data and implementing data anonymization versus the desire to defensibly delete at all costs.
Why it is important to be a member of InfoGovANZ?
While I love it in the US and am grateful for the career opportunities and wonderful colleagues, as Peter Allen sings “I still call Australia home”. I was thrilled to first meet Susan Bennett two years ago at Legal Week NY and I immediately signed up to InfoGovANZ. We reconnected this past February 2020 again at Legal Week and took a deep dive into how we could work together and channel our energies to inform, educate and share knowledge. Since then, I’ve got used to attending webinars at 10pm ET so I can meet, connect with and present to information professionals across the globe.