Managing & Governing Data in Your Business: A How-to Guide

Data is at the heart of most businesses today, and without it, companies can’t measure success, predict customer behavior, or track critical operations. In fact, data has become such an integral part of how businesses function and how they make decisions; it’s almost unfathomable that a company will make decisions based on a hunch these days. Nonetheless, with the enormous amounts of data being fed to companies of all sizes, it’s vital they know how to manage and govern it to keep the trust of their customers and remain compliant with the law.

Establish A Corporate Data Governance Policy

Corporate data governance is the management of an organization’s data by setting out policies and procedures around how it should be collected, used, and accessed. This helps ensure data accuracy, security, privacy, and compliance with data laws. However, it can be a challenging topic to address, particularly if you are a smaller business without a dedicated compliance and legal department. Nevertheless, you can always outsource the process to any of the high-quality data governance services being offered on the web. In order to establish sound data governance policies, organizations need to create clear guidelines. They can start by creating a data policy statement that outlines the type of data collected, for what purpose, and under which conditions. Further steps include building a team responsible for the following:

  • Enforcing your new governance rules and procedures
  • Setting up processes for managing sensitive information
  • Developing methods of auditing, monitoring, and reporting before issues become more serious

Training sessions and other educational meetings should also foster awareness among staff about the importance of following these procedures.

Educate Employees On The Data Governance Framework

Education is key when it comes to managing and governing data in your business. All employees should be informed of your data governance framework and how it works in practice. This includes teaching them the process of collecting, storing, processing, and analyzing data across the organization. Educating staff on why secure access and ownership rights are so highly regulated is essential for them to understand their role in abiding by these rules. Investing in employee training gives them the knowledge they will need to recognize potentially fraudulent or unlawful activity related to data within the company. Enlightening them on the maze of legal regulations regarding the protection of customer data ensures compliance with the most common laws, such as GDPR and CCPA. Furthermore, training about best practices for advertising sources, changing passwords frequently, and encrypting sensitive Infomation fosters a robust security posture throughout your business, regardless of employee position or role.

Identify The Data Sets That Need To Be Managed

Identifying your data sets can help you understand which groups or organizations are responsible for maintaining and making decisions around them. You should also consider both internal and external sets, as they may have different acceptable use rules and regulations and varying levels of risk involved in their handling. Additionally, all your organization’s relevant applications need to be identified so that all of the associated business data can be gathered into a single point for easier management and auditing. Once you have compiled a comprehensive list of all existing data sets, it’s time to organize them into categories. Identify which ones are sensitive, which are customer-facing, and which can be shared with other departments for collaborative and efficiency reasons. Doing these things in advance prevents data breaches and compliance issues, which could cause all kinds of problems in the future (and when you least expect it).

Create A Data Classification System

The objective of employing a data classification system is to identify the types of data stored in your systems and ensure it’s categorized by sensitivity level according to the value it holds for your company. This is incredibly helpful for managing each level of information more effectively and, in some cases, may be dictated by whatever laws you are attempting to comply with. By setting up a classification system, you will better understand which areas contain sensitive information and can put appropriate measures in place to protect them. Moreover, using this kind of system allows you to keep accurate records bout which data belongs to whom and where it’s located, ensuring that each bit of cached information and all relevant parties are monitored adequately throughout its lifetime…an essential aspect for data auditors in case they need to check.

Clearly Define Roles And Responsibilities For Data Management

Defining roles and responsibilities for data management is critical. With clear roles, you can Ensure that your data is securely handled and appropriately used. For example, you should have a Data Security Officer (DSO) or Data Protection Officer (DPO) Who is responsible for overseeing all security-related activities: ensuring the safety of the data, developing policies as mentioned previously, responding to data breaches and privacy complaints, and so on. At the same time, you should also designate someone with responsibility for reviewing all incoming requests for access or processing of personal data within your organization. This way, you can quickly identify any potential risks associated with such activities and take mitigating steps in advance. Additionally, assign roles to enforce compliance processes, from regular assessors to system administrators or IT professionals; everyone involved in managing data needs to be held accountable for safe handling as set out in company policies or industry standard best practices. Without clearly assigning each player their role concerning data management, including specific tasks and duties, missteps may occur, leading to possible security threats for your business down the road.

Monitor Data Usage To Ensure Compliance

Data compliance entails ensuring that all data is collected, used, and maintained in a way that complies with any applicable laws, regulations, and policies. In order to prevent violations of data compliance, you will need to monitor how users in your company access, use, and manage information within the organization. For example, if your business must follow GDPR regulation (and if you want to access the EU market, you will have to, whether you like it or not), you must follow stringent data use rules. Another way to enforce data usage compliance is by establishing rules regarding usage rights for different individuals or departments, who has access to what information and when, backup processes, and even the correct destruction of outdated or unnecessary files. Establishing these rules makes it easier for companies to track who is creating or collecting sensitive user data such as payment card details, social security numbers, and other highly confidential information. With effective monitoring procedures in place, you can minimize the risk of potential misuse or non-compliance.

Managing and governing data in your business is vital to success. It helps ensure secure access, creates clear accountability, and safeguards data integrity. Companies that invest in good data management processes can leverage the power of their information to make informed decisions quickly and remain competitive within their industry. People armed with the knowledge & tools needed to deal with the reams of incoming data can be a driving force for continual growth.