A 2018 DATAVERSITY report found that 42% of respondents did not have a high level of trust in their enterprise data. Why? Primarily because the volume of data and the number of data sources are exploding and data governance efforts have not kept up. IDC estimates the data created and copied annually worldwide will reach 44 trillion gigabytes by 2020. Many organizations simply can’t keep up with managing the accuracy and security of so much data, and they often also lack control over the location and use of their data. 

Creating a data governance strategy is one way organizations can regain control. By putting into place practices, processes, and tools for handling and using data, organizations can ensure data security, availability, and quality so people can use the data to fix business problems and discover opportunities.

A well-executed data governance strategy provides better regulatory compliance, increased data security, and improved data quality.

Better regulatory compliance

Businesses most commonly begin thinking about data governance when they need to comply with regulatory policy, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the United States’ Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). These and other regulations require organizations to be able to trace their data from source to retirement, identify who has access to it, and know how and where it is used. A data governance strategy sets rules and defines procedures around ownership and accessibility of data, ensuring that sensitive information won’t fall into the wrong hands or be improperly removed from data processing systems.  

Increased data security

Data breaches, including the theft of information and inappropriate access to data, are on the rise. Like regulatory compliance, data security hinges on traceability: knowing where data comes from, where it is located, who has access to it, how it is used, and how to delete it from systems upon request. The rules and procedures associated with a data governance strategy are designed to prevent data leaks and misuse, thereby protecting your organization’s reputation and revenue. 

Improved data quality

You can obtain seemingly endless business value from data-driven insights, but only if the data you’re using is of high quality. When implemented well, data governance can increase trust in data. For example, data stewards, who own and manage data, can identify when data is corrupt or inaccurate, when it’s not being refreshed often enough to be relevant, or when it’s being analyzed out of context. They can also identify siloed data and set rules and processes that integrate it among lines of business.

A Data Governance Strategy is Worth the Investment

Without a data governance strategy, your organization may not achieve the data quality necessary for smart decision-making. Establishing an organizational commitment to a data governance strategy and investing in a team and structure to implement it can help ensure the future success of your organization as you grow and adapt to new compliance, business, and security challenges. 

To learn how to create a successful data governance strategy for your organization, download our ebook, 5 Steps to Successful Data Governance