Five years ago, the world was talking about data governance as protection in a digital economy, with warnings that there was no time to waste putting data governance frameworks in place.
Fast forward to today, and data governance is more critical than ever, especially as the world settles into a new normal, with emerging technologies becoming mainstream and data volumes increasing.
Data governance – managing the availability, usability, integrity and security of data – is vital for several reasons, including compliance, trust, security and analytics. Data governance isn’t just for large enterprises with vast volumes of data – organizations of all sizes should prioritize it.
However, the challenge facing many organizations that did not implement strong data governance frameworks years ago is that data volumes and sources have exploded and organizational perimeters have shrunk. Organizations today are faced with managing massive volumes of structured and unstructured data, traveling across wide and distant points.
If they haven’t already, organizations need to address this situation and start working on appropriate data governance frameworks and organizational structures to support them.
The pandemic catalyzes the data puzzle
At the start of 2020, the world was plunged into chaos, the same chaos that was the main driver for the implementation of the digital and business transformation strategies that the world had known.
The measures put in place to limit the effects of COVID-19 have had a massive impact on business operations. The official office was no longer brick and mortar, but rather where the workforce was. This necessitated a massive scaling of connected communities, in order to avoid a complete disruption of day-to-day business operations.
By no small feat, companies have jumped on this opportunity and made it work no matter what. Companies have been able to ensure continuity and survive, and even prosper for some. But as it adapted, data volumes grew and the world went digital almost overnight.
In a report by harvard business review, sponsored by Microsoft, it is noted that 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years alone. Managing these ever-increasing volumes of data and securing security in this new environment are ranked among the top challenges by business leaders.
By no small feat, companies have jumped on this opportunity and made it work no matter what.
At the same time, organizations are looking to generate more data and extract more value from that data. For example, we see industrial customers looking to leverage their IoT data to improve maintenance and performance, but also to run “what if” scenarios – such as “if we increase sales, will our existing machines be able to cope? » An accurate forecast requires quality data.
Those with strong data governance frameworks were able to integrate new data into their frameworks and adapt to the changing environment. But those who were behind the curve fell further behind.
With greater volumes and speed of data and the accelerating speed of business, data governance demands more attention and a greater distribution of responsibilities – ideally led by a dedicated data governance team.
To improve data governance, there are six key steps:
- Identify and classify all organization data.
- Enhance data governance policies to meet internal and government security and privacy requirements.
- Create a culture of security and compliance by cultivating organization-wide awareness and responsibility for the proper management of data. Data governance is constantly evolving, so it requires a long-term roadmap that needs to be continually reviewed.
- Create new roles and responsibilities to strengthen security, risk, and compliance policies. Give data ownership to data stewards, authorize security teams to implement controls, and perform proper risk analysis.
- Invest in new or improved technology to strengthen security and monitor compliance with data governance policies. Human error contributes significantly to data loss and breaches, so technologies reduce this margin of error while speeding up processes. These tools aren’t just for large enterprises—solutions like the Azure Purview unified data governance solution put effective data governance in the hands of even small and medium-sized businesses.
- Allocate more resources to workforce development, including training and skills development for managers and lower-level staff. Driven by the governance team, organizations need to expand the roles of people and distribute ownership. When resources aren’t available, a managed services partner can guide the organization through the process, provide a roadmap, and train staff to effectively manage data governance.