When you think of portals, content and collaboration, you don’t necessarily think about pervasive governance. But you should. We sat down with Chris Preston, senior director of integrated technology strategy at EMC, about meeting the need and expectation for consistent and transparent controls over your company’s content.

What is Pervasive Governance?

In a nutshell, pervasive governance is about managing, controlling and protecting information across three critical dimensions:

  • The Enterprise: content that exists within your company’s four walls
  • The Extended Enterprise: content that exists among remote employees, contactors, partners and suppliers
  • The Pervasive Enterprise: content across platforms and devices, from smartphones to the cloud

Each one of these dimensions increases the risk and access for your content. It also makes it more difficult to manage, track and control, especially if your workflows are designed to be reactive, rather than proactive. The first step to creating a governance policy that not only identifies your content, its location and value, it’s about implementing control in a way that accounts for the next big thing, no matter what device or platform or technology.


After your content is accounted for, EMC’s pervasive governance model automates and enforces policy for all and specific types of content, while providing protection controls that help companies manage and protect it virtually anywhere, anytime. Such controls can include digital shredding for when devices are lost or employees terminated, as well as encryption and digital signatures requirements.

Always On, Always in Control 

If this seems like a lot of control and perhaps a bit unnecessary, think again. The past few years have provided many case studies for what not to do, or what you need to do better (Wikileaks, anyone?) As it turns out, lots of companies are leaking data whether they know it or not. As a result, the rest of us shouldn’t wait until it reach critical impact to do something about it.

Being able to account for all your data across all devices, platforms and technology isn’t just smart, it’s absolutely necessary if you’re working in a regulated industry. As well, even small companies need to develop a pervasive governance model. Got all your data in the cloud? Who owns it? Who is protecting it? What happens when something happens to it?

EMC’s pervasive governance solutions can only get you so far. Like many emerging concepts in the social enterprise, one size doesn’t fit all. You must sit down and figure out workflows, sharing capabilities and authoritative controls.

This Gartner Summit brought organizational, social and user culture into the spotlight and culture plays a big role in pervasive governance, as a result. You can’t know how much to limit or expand controls until you understand how the company works -- how much does it download on a regular basis? What devices are they bringing into the workplace? How many work remotely and from where? You know your company culture better than anyone (if you don’t, ask your employees) -- leverage their strengths and weakness to provide the best automation and management to ensure that work stays safe and is easy to find so that everyone can remain productive, no matter what new challenge or technology comes into your lives.