5 Reasons Why You Need Better Data Governance

In the digital age, data has become in and of itself a commodity. With more than 50 billion connected devices expected to be online by 2020, businesses will only continue to have greater and greater access to even more personal and private data. To that end, they also have both a moral and ethical responsibility to establish policies and procedures for both protecting and using that data, both for their own safety as well as that of their clients and consumers.

WHAT IS DATA GOVERNANCE?

Data governance is the creation of an established framework of internal policies, practices and procedures that determine how your business gathers, stores, uses and disseminates information. In the digital age, data has become a currency that is only growing in value. Like anything of value, it needs to be protected. That requires the evaluation and establishment of certain protocols, policies and procedures. Here are five reasons your business needs better data governance.

1. Protects your brand

While Facebook may not themselves have done anything immoral or illegal, they were highly implicated in the Cambridge Analytics scandal. What others do with data that you share with them will have a direct impact on your brand. Therefore, it is highly important to not only think carefully about who you choose to share data with, but also have contracts, agreements and protocols in place that determine what third parties can do with data that you provide them with or grant them access to.

2. Helps to streamline certain processes while maintaining the security of others

Security and convenience will always be at odds with each other. The fewer users that are allowed to access any one database, the more secure it will be. However, the more databases you link together, the more smooth and streamlined your processes will be. When databases are not linked, then information needs to be manually entered into each one. When they are linked, however, whoever has access to information from one database also has access to every other database that is linked to it. Part of setting up a good data governance framework involves determining which of your databases contain the most sensitive information and therefore need to be segregated from other databases.

3. Protects your consumers

As the IoT grows, it will give businesses unprecedented access into the personal and private lives of their consumers. One of the issues this raises is that private, for-profit businesses will soon have access to an increasing amount of very private health data, including reproductive health. For instance, the manufacturers of pregnancy tests may soon have access to test results, which can have any number of serious legal implications. It is highly important for businesses to begin to establish secure protocols for how this type of information is collected, stored and disseminated.

4. Protects your employees

As more databases are linked, it gives access to more sensitive information to a wider range of individuals. Phishing scams often start by targeting low level or junior employees that may have access to information that should only be available to more senior employees. Unfortunately, if a data breach occurs due to the carelessness of a junior employee, it will most likely be the junior employee that is let go rather than the senior employee, even though it was actually the senior employee’s duty to protect the data they were given access to.

5. Protects your network

Perhaps one of the most important elements of a good data governance framework is education. Employees, like all people, are much more likely to follow security protocols when they actually understand the value and importance of them. Humans continue to be the biggest vulnerability to secure networks. When you shore up the human element, you shore up the network.

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