Data governance is both a business and IT issue, but companies still struggle to understand its meaning.
Data governance is a discipline of data management. It ensures that the data managed by an organization is available, usable, consistent, reliable and secure. In the majority of businesses, IT is the primary guardian of data. He is responsible for data governance. But do companies fully understand the meaning of data governance? The answer is no.
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As far as we know, the term “data management”, of which data governance is a part, was first coined in the 1960s. This was after the turbulent decade of the 1950s when computers started to take over the processing tasks of the business and the data began to accumulate. 70 years later, companies are still struggling with how they should apply and manage data management.
How to best use data governance
Ensure data availability
Whether an organization’s data resides on an online server, in the cloud, or in offsite storage, that data must be available. For example, if your organization is in a legal discovery process for a lawsuit and there is archived data on a tape in offsite storage, the assumption is that this tape is still readable and the data is recoverable. . IT is responsible for this.
Keep data usable
All data under management must be usable in business processes and applications. Data that is no longer in use and does not need to be archived should be deleted. This is typically accomplished with a set of data retention guidelines that IT and business users agree to and execute on an annual basis.
Maintain data consistency
Regardless of the system or business process that uses the data, each piece of data must be uniform and consistent for all uses. A client named John Campbell should be John Campbell in every system. To ensure data consistency, IT must cleanse, prepare, and modify the data so that all instances of John Campbell (such as Johnny Campbell or John K. Campbell) are consistently corrected to John Campbell.
When users and systems use data that has been properly cleansed and prepared, they believe in the data.
Strengthen data security
IT ensures that all data under management is accessible, but there are limits. These limits come in the form of different levels of data permissions that are assigned to users based on the data they need to access to do their job. Security and monitoring measures must be implemented to ensure that people outside the company do not have access to company data without express authorization.
What data governance is not
Data governance began as a political term describing the governance of data flows across national borders. While still a concern for organizations, today’s mainstream understanding of data governance has more to do with how companies manage their internal data.
Data governance is not data architecture or data management
A data architect is responsible for designing an overall framework of hardware, software, data, and business processes that support enterprise-wide operations, but is not specifically responsible for data governance. Data management is a general term that refers to all aspects of data management. Data governance is just one aspect.
Data governance isn’t just the responsibility of IT
Too often, the task of data governance is left to IT, when it should be a board-level concern that can involve privacy and security of customer information, data security and intellectual property, regulatory compliance, corporate reputation and even the ability of the business to operate.
By breaking data governance down into its individual components, organizations can better understand what data governance is, what it’s supposed to accomplish, and why the whole business should be involved.