Every company in the 21st century has some sort of a data governance framework. There are file cabinets and online servers in place. Companies have passwords and safeguards to protect data at least to a certain degree. But more and more companies need to rethink their governance systems. They do not fully realize how critical governance is to avoiding the hacks and data losses that have characterized business over the past decade.
What is data governance?
Data governance is the process by which a company determines who is in charge of their data management systems. Data management involves organization, storage, and access of data. There are number of data decisions that a company has to make that could be worth thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. Governance is the way that a company decides who can control this data and who can make decisions surrounding it.
In most governance systems, a company delegates tasks and decision-making capabilities to a group of employees who report directly to upper management. A data governance team may decide who in a company can access what data and what vendors the company should work with when considering their data. This individual or team is then held responsible for data breaches and other possible issues that may emerge with company data.
Why is it important?
Governance is key to the regular operations of any company in the 21st century. Data has grown to a level of importance where it can no longer be an afterthought for managers and tech employees. Instead, governance has to be a delegated task that is firmly established in a company’s hierarchy.
There should be a chart that lists every aspect of governance along with the individuals who are responsible. This chart helps create accountability and makes it much easier for individuals to fix their data management problems. They simply go to the individual in the governance chart who is responsible for the problem and contact them. Governance also requires a set of established procedures for any changes or services that one may want with their data management system. For instance, a data governance framework may have an individual who is responsible for granting new passwords and clearances for certain sensitive pieces of company data. If that data falls into the wrong hands, a manager will know exactly who they should call about the mistake.
How to improve
There are a handful of certain ways to improve governance. One of these is by formulating a plan that can be crafted and enacted for every aspect of data management at a company. This program may contain one or multiple employees. It may use new technology or be entirely centered in older technological systems. But the most important aspect of the plan is that it makes certain individuals responsible for governance concepts. Without responsibility, critical aspects of governance simply will not get done. There is also the option of a company hiring another company or consultant to handle governance. Delegating this task to a third party can allow a company to spend all of its time focused on the aspects of its business that are its specialties and make the most money.
Companies need to immediately place governance higher on their expenditure hierarchies. They must spend more on this field and have the ability to hire new employees to enact governance changes. Most importantly, they need to consult other professionals who have years of experience in the field. Professional aid can mean the difference between success or a severe data catastrophe.