The What, Why, and How of Doing Data Governance Well

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In recent years, big data has become increasingly relevant for small and large businesses alike. With bad data costing the US $3.1 trillion dollars in 2016 and big businesses like Facebook and Yahoo having leaks of 500 million and 3 billion accounts respectively, the need for proper data governance has become more prevalent.  

What is Data Governance? 

According to the Data Governance Institute (DGI), data governance is a practical and actionable framework to help a variety of data stakeholders across any organization identify and meet their information needs. 

In simpler terms, data governance means a set of rules that determines who can do what with the data and when they can do it.  

For instance, an organization may have certain people designated to approve the movement of data within the organization and/or outside the organization. In addition, not all personnel within the organization may have access to all types of data and there should be guard rails to ensure appropriate access to different types of data. 

The key takeaway is that there is a well-defined set of rules followed consistently for every piece of data that resides within the organization and for the processes and people who can access the data.  

Why is Data Governance Important? 

With the ever-growing number of options available in the market for products and services, consumers now have the leverage to pick and choose. Similarly, once a customer affiliates themselves with a particular product or service, it is very easy for them to lose relevance and experience attrition given the plethora of new options available in the marketplace. It is crucial for every organization to have continuous and consistent engagement with their customers and to be in front of their prospects when they are in the market looking for a product or service.  

Data plays a pivotal role in the process of ensuring these things happen, but can only deliver true value when layered with good data governance. To achieve the best data governance for your organization, it is important to first understand the data. With good data governance, organizations can maintain control on the accessibility of information which in turn results in attaining higher consistency in the state and use of data. In turn, this helps organizations better understand the impact of their data to drive consistent communication and better engagement with their customers.  

Data governance also helps organizations with: 

  1. Safety: Having well defined permissions and consistent rules on security measures ensures that data cannot be accessed or modified by harmful parties. For instance, monitoring data going in and out ensures that only authorized employees can view and manage the movement of data.  
  1. Data Organization: Ensuring that the data flowing in, or data shared within the organization is properly tagged and organized, allows for the data to be securely accessible. This makes using the data faster and easier for data scientists and analysts. 
  1. Avoiding Data Silos: Data silos are parts of your data that should be linked to other data but are not. By monitoring data going in and out, and by tagging it properly, the chances of creating inaccessible data silos are reduced which would limit the efficient usage of your data. 
  1. Regulations: A lot of data, like medical and financial data, has government regulations for its usage. Ensuring that everyone adheres to the regulations is essential. A proper data governance ruleset ensures that the data security is always consistent with regulations.  

Creating and Enforcing Data Governance  

Understand Your Governance Needs: It’s not possible to give a one-size-fits-all approach to data, since your company and data regulations are unique. Understand the regulations and risk that your data poses to clients and your company, and create the ruleset according to those factors. Always standardize to the highest risk. If one piece of data is high security, like a social security number, your system should be designed for that level across the board. 

Create a ruleset: The needs of your company will decide the ruleset but, generally, you will benefit from people determining the procedure to label the data.  

Delegate Roles: Delegating roles will also depend on the organization and the ruleset, but you should have someone creating the rules, developing the rules (for instance putting restrictions on the data) and executing the rules. The quantity and authority of the people in these roles is dependent on your organization’s needs. 

Ensure the Ruleset is Followed: Verify that everyone knows the ruleset or you can put limits on the data so that the ruleset is strictly followed. If some people can avoid the rules, your data governance will be ineffective. 

Getting Started with Data Governance 

So, what if this all seems too daunting or you don’t have the resources to invest in data governance? OneDATA.Plus’s Data Governance module has been developed to help organizations manage their data and enforce secure data governance as defined by you.  

OneDATA.Plus allows you to control what type of data can be exchanged and who should approve the exchange of information if the need exists. Personal information and secure information are tagged and higher protection can be enforced depending upon rules.  

OneDATA.Plus creates a safe environment for your organization by ensuring your data is processed and stored effectively, thereby allowing you to concentrate on the direct needs of your business.  

In addition, OneDATA.Plus also provides other services like maintaining data validity, data quality, customer analytics, and data analytics. These factors allow you to understand and utilize your data effectively, maximize your data’s value, and avoid any pitfalls along the way. 

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