Data governance is a growing challenge, complicated by a plethora of new laws requiring compliance. And the stress only increases with increasing volumes of data from multiple sources of structured and unstructured digital data.
Complicating factors include enterprise architecture, infrastructure, data management, and compute requirements, as well as their complex systems and applications. Lack of team awareness adds to the problem.
Governance elements to consider
Governance of the data management ecosystem is an ever-evolving discipline. Here’s what you need to consider for effective information governance.
It is the amount of transactional data flowing in and out of the organization through various systems and applications.
Data sensitivity and quality requirements
Who are the users who need the data and do they need sensitive information such as personally identifiable information (PII)? If so, you must ensure that it is available through appropriate access mechanisms. In addition, data quality is critical; this includes data accuracy, completeness and usefulness.
It is essential that the data collected, analyzed and used is the latest available. It is the responsibility of data owners to ensure that any duplicate or redundant data is cleaned up.
Data encryption, storage and archiving/retrieval
PII and other sensitive/confidential data must be encrypted before being stored, in accordance with all compliance related rules and policies. Similarly, you should consider whether PII or other sensitive and confidential data should be encrypted before being archived. This is before even thinking about any type of consumption like processing or reporting.
Data processing mechanisms
Organizations should be extremely careful and consider regulatory acts such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Due to the GDPR, organizations that acquire and process the personal data of EU citizens must exercise caution, regardless of where the processing takes place.
Overview of business data
The most important aspect of information governance is providing timely information to senior management so they can make informed decisions. The accuracy, integrity and recency of data are critical success factors to help deliver valuable insights.
Why governance is important
Failure to consider these factors can contribute to poor data management and can seriously damage an organization’s reputation. In addition, lack of governance can lead to heavy penalties. Amazon was recently hit by $877 million, GDPR fine due to cookie consent issue. Many other companies have violated the GDPR also, up to millions of dollars in fines.
Another consideration is future business prospects if data breaches or compromises make it look like your company has no intention of protecting personal customer data. This can come at a huge cost in lost opportunities and market share.
How to create strong governance
Organizations must design a robust information governance framework. Here’s what you need to do.
Data breaches and compliance breaches are often the result of a lack of employee awareness of policies, processes, etc. Regular awareness sessions, communications/campaigns, periodic audits and regular mandatory awareness questionnaires go some way to solving the awareness problem. But even then, some who are in the know often ignore the policies anyway.
Know and follow all related laws and regulations
The growing number and growing scale of data breaches across the globe have prompted many regions and countries to introduce regulations to protect data related to PII. These rules require organizations to design and implement effective policies, ensuring compliance.
Organizations must constantly adapt to new data protection laws and ensure the right level of oversight, from creation to deletion of data, to minimize the risk of data breaches and non-compliance. This necessitates the need for proper data management.
As multiple digital initiatives including records management, asset management, marketing, operations, and workflows run across organizations, data beyond what is strictly necessary is collected, requiring more resources and costs to store and manage.
A good information governance framework will ensure that only the required level and types of data are collected and managed throughout their lifecycle. This will improve the efficiency of overall data management and reduce costs. Controlling the proliferation of information storage and its underlying infrastructure can yield significant cost savings.
Improve productivity and get better insights
A balanced approach to data management — with the right mix of manual efforts and tools to automate workflows, processing, data reporting, and other repeatable data tasks — can ensure employees have time to work on necessary activities as they have been freed from the mundane. This not only improves productivity, but also satisfaction levels.
In addition to an information governance framework ensuring that data is safe, secure and compliant, the process will also help provide valuable information to help run the business.
A strong enterprise-level data analytics system can ensure timely data analysis, enabling management decisions to be backed by data and defining the right strategies for business growth.
Get your governance in order
The unprecedented rate at which data is growing, due to the advent of digital channels, means that information governance is becoming more difficult and sensitive every day. Every customer whose data is shared needs privacy and protection.
This leads to numerous privacy regulations and related laws, from Sarbanes-Oxley and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to GDPR and California Privacy Act. consumers.
Without a strong governance program, conducting business within the confines of these laws and policies can quickly become a nightmare for all parties involved.