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Executive Privilege

5:50 PM -- The data classification battle between IT execs and business managers is still raging, if the bellyaching at this week's StoragePlus event was anything to go by.

A number of attendees highlighted the importance of getting board members to back data classification efforts, which is something of an ongoing struggle for IT managers. (See Get Users Involved, Says Yahoo Boss, Users Face Classification Crisis, and Users Self-Destruct on Governance.) "If you get the right executive sponsorship, that will drive the customers to assess the resources," explained Mike Johnsen, manager of IT data management services at Intel, during a panel on Wednesday.

"About 75 percent of data classification is internal, that's why I am looking at a top-down approach, starting with an executive sponsor," added Johnson, who is responsible for a whopping 2 Pbytes of Intel data. (See Intel Faces ILM Challenge.)

But getting such sponsorship is easier said than done. "Executive buy-in is difficult at best -- we struggle with that on a daily basis," said Karen Johnson, regulatory officer at the Ascension Health Network. (See Hospital Skirts Compliance Meltdown.)

This problem, like so many things, can be solved with some healthy scare tactics, according to Johnson, who spent some time as a corpsman in the U.S. military in her early career and also worked as a government quality assurance expert. "When we tell them that somebody goes to jail and that someone is being held accountable, that seems to drive people to pay a little more attention."

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