In the digital age, data has become its own form of currency. With nearly 50 billion connected devices poised to join the IoT, businesses are poised to possess an unprecedented amount of consumer data, giving them an unparalleled look into almost every aspect of a consumer’s personal life. Now, more than ever, it is critical for businesses small and large to develop a strong data governance framework.
WHAT IS DATA GOVERNANCE?
Data governance is a system of policies and procedures that dictate how a business gathers, stores, secures, shares and disseminates data. Apple, for instance, has become well known for their stance on protecting personal privacy even against governmental agencies. While not all tech giants choose to follow the path that Apple is forging, the time has come for all businesses to make similar decisions in regards to data. Here are 8 professional secrets for improved data governance.
1. Education is critical
Most businesses have long been incorporating stronger security protocols but they often fall short. The problem is that humans have to access data, which makes them the most consistently vulnerable point of entry for data penetration. The more employees understand the reason for certain protocols, they more likely they are to follow them.
2. A strong framework can build strong brand loyalty
Consumers are more aware than ever before about just how vulnerable they are. Businesses that take the time to consider carefully exactly how they will gather, use, protect and disseminate information and then communicate that to their customers and clients can build an incredibly loyal following. But only if they live up to their promises.
3. Having even a loose framework is better than no framework at all
Not all businesses need to have an iron-clad framework. The important thing is to simply always be evaluating carefully what data you are collecting and what you are doing with it. Simply having a plan in place, even if it is not completely comprehensive, will still go a long way to protect both you and your consumers.
4. Make data stewardship a business-wide mission
In too many organizations, maintaining data security is viewed as being a function of IT, rather than the responsibility of everyone. Many targeted phishing scams are aimed at the most junior employees who often have far more access than anyone realizes. By making data security the responsibility of everyone, you can significantly minimize your chances of a breach.
5. A good framework should cover who, what, why, how, where and when
Here are some potential questions you will want to ask and answer when developing a strong framework:
- Who should have access to what information and from where can they access it?
- How many parties should have access to information and who might need approval before accessing what information?
- What databases should be linked for convenience and which should be compartmentalized for security?
- At what point should employees be given access to certain information?
6. Good frameworks need to be consistently analyzed and revamped
Unfortunately, data security will never be a “set it and forget it” task. Policies and procedures need to constantly be analyzed and revamped to keep up with evolving needs and technologies.
7. Quality not quantity
A good framework does not just cover how to gather and protect data, but also what data you use and how. Good decisions are dependent on good data. Establishing protocols for analyzing the quality of data is also critical for good outcomes.
8. Human behavior matters
It cannot be stressed enough that human behavior continues to create the largest vulnerabilities in most systems. Therefore, any comprehensive framework has to take the vagaries of human behavior into account if it has any chance of success.