The data resources that an organization possesses represents one of its most valuable assets. Information drives business in multiple ways. It can be used to draw inferences through analytics that can lead to innovative product development and new solutions to old problems. A major challenge is for businesses to fully understand and protect their valuable information. How this issue is addressed has ramifications for the privacy and safety of individuals as well as the well-being of the entity which controls the data.
The Internet, social media, and eCommerce have all contributed to the amount of individuals’ sensitive personal information (SPI) that companies have at their disposal. Many people are justifiably concerned with how this data is used and the way in which it is protected. These concerns have led to an increased focus on the creation of data privacy laws to protect consumers and give them some control over how their data is used. Perhaps the most well-known example is the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Staying compliant with privacy laws and regulations has become an additional responsibility that organizations need to incorporate into their data processing and storage procedures. Failure to adhere to data privacy standards spelled out in the regulations can lead to substantial financial punishment which, in the case of the GDPR, is becoming more expensive for affected companies. The economic impact on a penalized company can be dwarfed by the hit to its reputation. Consumers are often reluctant to continue to do business with organizations that have allowed personal data to be compromised due to a data breach. They are very likely to find other places to do business if they feel their data is not being taken care of properly.
Coping with the Challenge of Ensuring Compliance
As regulatory compliance continues to become more important, methods have been devised to help organizations protect their data resources. One of the methods that have gained traction with corporate executives and IT departments is data governance. This goal of data governance is to provide a means of managing the way an enterprise handles its data and keeps it secure.
A viable data governance strategy is comprised of three aspects that are vital to its success. Equal attention needs to be paid to each of the three legs for the program to produce the desired results.
People – The selection of the human resources that are deployed to enact a company’s data governance program is vitally important. A data team needs to be formed that will be responsible for owning and defining the organization’s data assets. The team should be made up of representatives from across the enterprise to ensure that the governance strategy aligns with the overall goals of the business.
Processes – The processes that will be used when accessing and storing data need to be clearly defined. There need to be strict controls that not only protect data in everyday use but also allow for compliance to be demonstrated to regulators during an audit.
Technology – Implementing a successful data governance strategy is facilitated by using the right technology in its development and execution. The ability to collaborate across the organization is critically important when creating data definitions and the procedures that will be employed to protect its information.
Data Governance Begins With a Solid Foundation
A working data governance program begins with the solid foundation of a shared language regarding enterprise data resources. IDERA’s ER/Studio Enterprise Team Edition provides the perfect collaborative tool with which to construct the shared language that forms the foundation of an effective data governance strategy. Just like any other complex structure, a stable foundation is essential to its long-term viability.
ER/Studio enables collaboration across the organization as teams build out enterprise data models to be used in a data governance program. It kickstarts the process with its ability to discover and document enterprise data assets, providing the raw materials with which the team will have to work. The tool simplifies the creation of naming standards and data dictionaries for greater organizational consistency. ER/Studio is a valuable piece of the technology needed to enact a strong data governance strategy and keep your company’s data assets secure and in compliance with privacy regulations.