In many respects, data is the currency of the 21st Century. Corporate data resources are extremely valuable and are used throughout an organization in areas as diverse as marketing, production, and customer service. From an enterprise point of view, it is very important to protect a company’s information assets to maintain any competitive edge that they provide.
The data collected from individuals during the normal course of business may contain personal and sensitive information that should be protected. Unfortunately, there may be some disagreement on the level of protection that needs to be afforded to these enterprise data resources. The business may want to use the information as profitably and productively as they can. In some cases, these concerns may outweigh the need to protect the information from misuse by unauthorized actors.
When enterprise data resources that include personal information are compromised, the problems that ensue can be widespread and devastating to the affected parties. After a data breach, the stolen information is often made available to criminals via the dark web. This results in unauthorized credit card charges or worse. If the lost data included items like an individual’s Social Security number, there can be effects that linger for years that limit the ability to perform basic activities like obtaining a mortgage. Identity theft can cause problems in many areas of a person’s life that are very hard to successfully resolve.
Data privacy regulations like the CCPA and GDPR have been developed to address the differences in how businesses and individuals feel about the protection of personal information. They attempt to compel organizations to take the safety of personal data more seriously. Standards have been implemented which enforce accountability in the wake of data breaches that put the personal information contained in corporate databases at risk. The goal is to make it financially painful for organizations that do not take the appropriate steps to safeguard the sensitive data they possess. You can look at it as an incentive if you like.
The Benefits of Data Governance
Data governance is a methodology that can help organizations protect data privacy and comply with regulatory standards. What it does is specify the decision rights and an accountability framework to ensure that data and analytics are handled appropriately and consistently throughout its lifecycle and across all areas of an organization. Data resources need to be treated with the same level of care no matter who is using the information and why it is being accessed. Differences in how a marketing team and a sales team define personal data can lead to inadvertently exposing it to unauthorized users and running afoul of regulatory guidelines.
Implementing a data governance strategy demands a coordinated effort that comprises three distinct components.
- The right people need to be responsible for developing and carrying out the data governance plan. Input is required from all areas of the business, not just the IT department. Ideally, the data governance initiative will contribute to successfully meeting business goals as well as protecting sensitive data assets.
- The processes used to store and manipulate data throughout the organization need to be defined so its use can be monitored effectively. As the processes are being codified, attention needs to be taken regarding the necessary regulatory guidelines that need to be followed.
- Technology is necessary to enable the people and processes to work together when implementing data governance. The correct solutions will enable teams to collaborate across the organization and ensure that data is used effectively while all compliance regulations are met.
With the proper combination of people, processes, and technology, data governance promotes better use of enterprise information resources and helps maintain regulatory compliance. The efficient use of data resources will help improve the corporate bottom-line, protect the personal data of your customers, and eliminate the incidence of failed compliance audits.
Using the Right Tools is Essential
One of the underlying concepts of data governance is the standardization of the terms and definitions that inform data use throughout an enterprise. Very often, departments conduct activities in virtual silos that make it difficult to coordinate the way data resources are used. Through an iterative and collaborative effort, teams need to develop a common language around their data assets.
ER/Studio Enterprise Team Edition is an excellent tool for collaboration that enables an organization to create a common language that is key to a successful data governance program. The application discovers and documents enterprise data assets, which is a critical early step when implementing data governance. Introducing siloed data to the organization-at-large may initiate conversations on how it is used differently by certain departments. Enterprise naming conventions can be defined to improve data consistency.
ER/Studio Enterprise Team Edition enables a company to build a solid foundation for its data governance strategy. Once it is in place, data governance will make it easier to comply with privacy regulations by handling information consistently throughout the organization.