Data Governance for Improved Privacy Compliance

The data that a business gathers and stores is a critical resource which can impact its ability to successfully compete in their chosen market. Mobile devices, the Internet of Things, and cloud computing all present new data streams that need to be assimilated into the corporate data mosaic. Effectively managing this data can be extremely challenging and demands new strategies and procedures to avoid drowning in a sea of information.

Many organizations have instituted or are considering implementing a formal data governance initiative to assist with enterprise data management. Several trends in the IT world are contributing to the increased focus on formalizing the way in which a company handles the data that drives their business. Here are some of the factors that influence the interest in data governance.

  • The constantly increasing flood of data from multiple sources can cause inconsistencies in how an organization understands the information they need to make informed decisions.
  • Regulatory requirements make it imperative that an organization understands what data they have, where it is stored and how it is used.
  • Developing a common business language is needed to facilitate decisions and analysis across the enterprise.

A data governance program enables a company to become more competitive and increase its business intelligence by furnishing a more complete understanding of their data. It also helps them avoid the pitfalls of regulatory non-compliance and the associated costs to their organization.

An Increased Focus on Data Privacy

A week rarely goes by without new disclosures of a data breach affecting a company and its customers. Reports indicate that the first six months of 2019 have seen data breaches that exposed over four billion records, with emails and passwords making up the majority of the compromised data. A data breach can have serious impacts to the finances and reputations of the organizations involved. It can also result in long-term problems for those individuals whose information has been undermined.

Data privacy has always been of concern to businesses and consumers. Before computers and digital storage, data breaches were much less prevalent. When they did occur, the impact was on a much smaller scale than the super-sized events that make the news. Physical proximity to the data was required in order to steal or copy the information so it could be used by rivals or competitors. Surreptitiously grabbing a box of files could certainly pose problems for the business and individuals affected, but those impacts are dwarfed by the ramifications that result from the large-scale data breaches which plague the digital age.

As the world transitions from paper-based storage to retaining information electronically and digitally, changes need to be made in the methods used to protect the data and the individuals with which it is associated. Early data breaches of electronic records were met with varying degrees of seriousness by the businesses responsible for maintaining lax security standards. The same can be said for governmental agencies which have struggled to keep up with the pace of innovation and its effects on society.

Recent years have seen the introduction of new regulations that are designed to compel organizations to take data privacy more seriously. Many new standards and directives concerning how an enterprise handles an individual’s sensitive data have been enacted across multiple jurisdictions. A prime example is the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It holds businesses accountable for data breaches that impact the personal data of EU citizens and prescribes punitive financial penalties for failure to adhere to the guidelines.

How Data Governance Affects Data Privacy

Substantial consequences of a data breach to a company’s finances and reputation require organizations to take a more comprehensive view of their data and how it is handled. The complex environment in which information is stored demands an organization-wide approach that addresses the sensitive information retained in the company’s databases. Data governance is a strategy which can enable an enterprise to attain a better understanding of the data and ensure that it is treated in the same manner by all stakeholders.

Data governance can be instituted for many business-related reasons such as maintaining a competitive edge in the market. When the method is applied to privacy concerns, some guiding principles should be followed.

  • Develop policies that are enforced throughout the lifetime of the confidential data.
  • Minimize the risk of unauthorized access or misuse of the data.
  • Adequately address the impact of confidential data loss.
  • Create effective controls that enforce accountability for maintaining data privacy throughout the organization.

These guidelines are meant to help keep the data secure and your business compliant with regulatory requirements. 

Instituting a Data Governance Program

To implement a viable data governance program, it is essential that all stakeholders have the same understanding concerning how data is categorized and used within the enterprise. Collaborative tools are necessary to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that all points of view are considered.

IDERA’s ER/Studio Enterprise Team Edition enables an organization to build a firm foundation on which to build their data governance initiative. The tool facilitates the construction of the enterprise data model which is a required component of data governance. Metadata can be cataloged and the application can be used to discover and document existing data assets.

Using ER/Studio, an organization can implement naming standards that will be applied between logical and physical models to ensure consistency. The tool fosters collaboration for the creation of global data glossary terms and allows models and metadata to be shared across the business. It allows you to construct a robust data governance strategy that keeps your company’s and customers’ sensitive data secure and maintains your compliance with privacy regulations.

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