If you would like to run a successful business in the modern era, you need to have a strong strategy for data governance. You need to protect your most valuable resources, and your data is one of them. You probably use your data to track information on your company, your employees, and your customers. You need to make sure this data is accurate, reliable, and easy to interpret for those in your company. On the other hand, you also need to make certain people who should not have access to this information cannot change the information, steal it, or share it. That is where data governance is essential. What is data governance, and why should it matter?

Data Governance: A Brief Definition

Data governance refers to the policies and procedures you have in place to protect your information, manage it, and apply it appropriately. A robust data governance strategy should secure your information, ensure it is trustworthy, document it properly, manage it effectively, and audit it regularly. Data governance means that your company should have quality data management processes in place from start to finish. If you have a strong data governance management policy in place, it can improve your business outcomes, help you grow your company, and ensure you remain competitive in a challenging economic environment. Furthermore, that data governance strategy can also help you maintain regulatory compliance, shielding your organization from fines and sanctions.

Why Data Governance Is Important

Data governance is important because your information is important as well. Data is probably one of the most valuable among the various resources you use daily. If you have a strong data governance management strategy in place, you make sure that your information is protected, accessible, and usable. For example, a strong data governance strategy can make it easier for you to extract valuable analytics from that information. That way, you can make effective decisions in a shorter amount of time, helping you stay one step ahead of your competition.

In addition, the right data governance strategy should avoid inconsistencies or inaccuracies in the data. That way, everyone who works for your company makes decisions based on the right set of information. If you have an effective data governance strategy, you can ensure that your company is consistently compliant with all requirements in your industry. That way, you can reduce your operational costs and ensure your business is not vulnerable to outsiders.

The Benefits of Data Governance

Several significant benefits come with a strong data governance strategy. These include:

  • Faster Decisions: If you have an effective data governance strategy, everyone will understand exactly where to go for the information they need. Then, they will have an easier time using this to complete their assignments, allowing them to make decisions more quickly.
  • Reduced Overhead Expenses: You can reduce your overhead expenses with a strong data governance strategy. You can eliminate redundant tasks that would otherwise lead to efficiencies in the process. Furthermore, you reduce the chances of making mistakes, which also cuts your overhead costs.
  • Improved Consumer Confidence: Your customers and clients will also have more confidence in your management strategies. If you have an effective data governance strategy, your clients will know that you protect their information, encouraging them to return for repeat business.
  • Better Cybersecurity: Furthermore, data governance can also improve your cyber security. Because your information is important to you, it is also essential to hackers. They will do everything they can to get their hands on your information. A data governance strategy can protect your information, reducing your chances of a data breach.
  • Increased Profit Margins: Finally, a strong data governance strategy can also increase your profit margins. With access to valuable information, your employees will be put in a position to meet the needs of your customers and clients. When this is combined with lower overhead expenses, your profit margins increase, expanding your business.

These are just a few of the many benefits of an effective data governance strategy. There are many types and strategies of data governance, and you need to think about the benefits and drawbacks of each option before deciding which one is right for your company.

The Types of Data Governance Policies and Methodologies To Consider

If you want to put your company in a position to be successful, you need to use the right data governance strategy. Some of the most common features of a data governance strategy include:

Shadow IT

One of the most important issues you might need to consider in your business is Shadow IT. Shadow IT refers to any tech that employees use that has not been sanctioned by the company. Some of the most common examples include:

  • Employees save their work to personal devices that have not been approved for use by the company.
  • Staff members who communicate with clients in a manner that the company has not approved.
  • Departments that might save their work to a Google Drive that the company has not approved for use.

There are a variety of risks that come from this issue, but one of the biggest problems is that the security measures on unsanctioned devices might not be as strong as those under the company’s control. This will become a more significant issue as more people work remotely, so companies need to address the issue of shadow IT and clearly explain to the employees what is acceptable and what is not. While flexibility is nice, it might be beneficial to allow employees to request approval for specific devices and programs that the company can then supervise.

BYOD

Another major development in data governance are policies for bringing your own device (BYOD). There are a lot of reasons why businesses are moving in this direction. For example, it increases the mobility of your workforce, offers your employees greater flexibility, and can help you reduce your overhead expenses because you do not necessarily have to purchase devices for all of your employees.

On the other hand, there are a lot of risks that come with allowing employees to bring their own devices. One of the biggest problems is that many personal computers do not have the same level of encryption, antivirus software, and security measures as company-managed devices. For example, employees may be using their devices at home, and their home networks may not have the same level of security as the business network. This can place a lot of important information at risk.

Furthermore, suppose many employees use their devices for personal use and work use. In that case, there may be malicious applications or software programs on the computer that could steal confidential information. It is important for companies that have adopted this strategy to ensure strict protocols to protect their data. For example, it might be good to encourage employees to use a VPN if they are working from home.

Compliance

In addition, companies need to think carefully about compliance issues. Compliance refers to making sure that employees comply with the business’s policies and that the business complies with rules and regulations put in place by regulatory agencies. One of the most common examples takes place in healthcare. Anyone who works with protected health information needs to make sure they are compliant with HIPAA. This refers to measures that companies need to take to minimize the chances of a data breach leading to someone’s confidential health information being stolen.

If there is a data breach involving protected health information, companies will be expected to undergo an audit to ensure that they had the right security protocols in place. If they did not, the government could fine or sanction the organization. Data governance and compliance go hand-in-hand. Companies need to make sure they are compliant with all rules and regulations related to their industries.

Reporting

Reporting also goes hand-in-hand with compliance. The company might be required to send information to regulatory authorities from time to time. For example, companies traded publicly need to report certain types of information to the SEC. It should be relatively easy for the company to figure out what files need to be reported. If a data request comes through, the company needs to have policies and procedures to handle this issue quickly. Furthermore, companies also need to present the right information to whatever regulatory agency is asking for it.

File Structure

One of the biggest issues that companies run into regarding data governance is the inability to find the right files. Companies need to think carefully about what file structure they would like to follow. There needs to be a hierarchy and established naming conventions for each department and project. For example, one department might name all of its files starting with the department name and then the project name. It might also be a good idea to sort files based on when they were built. Departments need to encourage all members to follow the name and structure so that files are relatively easy to find.

Permissions

Finally, companies also need to think about user permissions. Of course, people who need this information to do their work must have access to the files. That way, they can access this information relatively quickly. On the other hand, people who do not need access to those files should not have access. This isn’t necessarily indicative of a lack of trust in that individual. This is one of the most essential best practices for companies to follow.

For example, someone may fall victim to a phishing attack. Then, a hacker could have access to their log-in credentials. It is important to limit the potential files that the hacker might have access to. If people only have access to the files they require to do their jobs, it prevents a possible hacker from accessing all of a company’s files.

It might also be helpful to use two-factor authentication to limit the damage of a hacker potentially stealing someone’s login credentials. With two-factor authentication, a hacker will not be able to access the company’s files using a single set of login credentials.

You need to think carefully about these individual components to put your employees, managers, and business partners in the best position possible to be successful. To get the most out of this strategy, you may want to reach out to a professional service that can assist you.

Trust SmartFile To Help You

There are a lot of important factors that need to be included when you are putting together your strategy. If you want to get the most out of your data, you must adopt a strong data governance strategy. It can be difficult to do this on your own, which is why it is important to rely on a professional service that can help you. SmartFile can help you get the most out of your files, keeping them protected and making sure the right people can quickly and easily access them.

Through SmartFile, you will have access to a web interface and a traditional FTP connection, allowing you to customize your service to meet your needs. You can quickly and easily manage file permissions, ensuring that the right people have access to your files. You also have access to various helpful tools for administrators, allowing you to easily manage your compliance and regulatory issues. With more transparency, you’ll have the information you need to make decisions quickly. SmartFile is trusted across multiple industries, and you will have a convenient dashboard that you can use to manage all of your information. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with data governance.

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About John Hurley

I am the CEO and Co-Founder of SmartFile. My role is to find the right people and give them the right tools and resources needed to grow both professionally and personally.

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