Data is such a rich and complex part of our modern society that several disciplines have risen around its management. Most enterprise businesses have data governance policies in place to support their business, security and compliance objectives, and these policies are evolving at a rapid rate.
Here, we want to introduce the concept of a data governance policy and why it is important for your business. It doesn’t matter if you are a small vendor or a multi-site enterprise; having data governance policies in place is a necessary part of doing business.
What is Data Governance?
Data Governance is a process or strategy of managing the infrastructure around your data to ensure that it meets the regulatory, legal and operational requirements of your organization.
For some small businesses, this practice might seem redundant. The truth is, however, that any business with significant investment in a data-driven business model will have to contend with how their data is used, stored and made available for logistical processes.
When thinking about governance, you’ll want to consider the following aspects of that data and your IT and administrative systems:
- Availability: Your data isn’t useful if you can’t access it, and availability is a paramount concern for businesses that use data to inform business operations, customer service, or resiliency. Availability in this sense doesn’t simply refer to the ability of employees or leadership to access information; it also implies the capability of any advanced software or cloud tools to effectively process that information for things like analytics, machine learning and so on.
- Security and Compliance: A critical part of data governance will include security and compliance. Can you effectively map the life cycle of data in your organization and know with certainty that it is secure, private and monitored during that journey? Data governance will help you approach that task with clear procedures and policies surrounding\ the data.
- Integrity: Data accuracy, completeness and consistency are vital to any business that relies on them to inform analytics or business practices. Data governance provides an architecture that ensures integrity throughout its life cycle in your systems.
- Data Democracy: One of the major problems that many organizations run into when they don’t have a data governance plan is the “silo-ing” of data. A data “silo” is when otherwise usable information ends up locked or forgotten in some part of your system, or otherwise becomes inaccessible. Data governance will include plans to reduce or eliminate data silos so that your data is always working for you.
- Quality: Not all data is created equal, and most likely you’ll have some automated practices in place to clean, classify and structure data as it is ingested into your systems. Governance can outline and define quality control for your data throughout its life cycle.
Data governance strategies, therefore, are plans around what you want to accomplish with your data, how that data will travel throughout your systems (from collection to deletion), who will use that data and how.
How Can You Create a Data Governance Framework?
Data governance isn’t a mathematical formula, and it is not subject to your technology or IT system. Data governance should stem from business goals, logistical goals, compliance and security requirements and any plans for scalability and growth.
That being said, when thinking of governance you should think of it as a strategy, just another component of your overall business. Accordingly, you should consider the four pillars of creating a data governance framework for your business:
- Use Cases: Connect specifics of your data governance framework with specific business outcomes, including relative success or failure, costs, revenue generation and how much risk you take with your plan.
- Capabilities: What are your organization’s capabilities in terms of data management? What access do your employees or vendors need? How do those aspects play into overall cybersecurity or compliance?
- Value: How will you measure the effects of your policy? Following that, how will you approach analysis, optimization and remediation?
- Implementation: how can you implement the requirements of your data governance plan? More importantly, can that plan scale with your business growth, including expanding into additional use cases and capabilities within your company?
What Are the Benefits of Having a Data Governance Plan?
As you might assume, having a data governance plan in place can provide your business with several crucial benefits that will fuel growth and longevity. These benefits include the following:
- Reduction in structural costs: With a proper data governance plan, you can optimize how you handle data… which means that you can trim the fat and implement exactly what technology and policies you need. Data governance gives you that much more control over information and infrastructure.
- Improvements in data effectiveness: If you are a data-driven business, then you want to get every last bit of value from that data. That’s only possible with a solid data governance policy in place.
- Promote resilience and disaster recovery: Part of your data governance plan should be how to backup data, how to recover from data breaches or loss and what systems you should have in place to scale as needed with your data collection efforts.
- Ensure Compliance: If you don’t know where your data is, you cannot accurately apply compliance requirements to it. Data governance allows you to plan and implement compliance-driven operations while streamlining reporting and auditing.
Outside of these benefits, it’s important to note that some compliance frameworks require that you have in place or demonstrate that you can create a data governance policy.
Get Your Data Governance Policies in Place with Help From Lazarus Alliance
At the end of the day, your governance policies should reflect the goals and realities of your organization. An experienced security and compliance firm can help you shape this policy to meet the challenges of a modern, data-driven world.
Lazarus Alliance staffs experts who can help you and your teamwork with a holistic understanding of your organization and data infrastructure. With that kind of approach, we provide consulting and support for both enterprise businesses and SMBs in crafting effective and growth-oriented data governance strategies.
Want to Know More About Lazarus Alliance and Data Governance Support?
Read more on our data governance and policies consulting services, or contact us today to discover what we can give your organization.