According to a study, by 2020 (this year), every individual will create 1.7 megabytes of data every second. It is not hard to anticipate the importance of data in this data-driven landscape. Every organization collects thousands and thousands of data files from customers for actionable business insights. They, however, pay little attention to the risks and security of the data acquired.
The ‘how,’ ‘why,’ and ‘where’ of this data remains unclear.
- How is this data being stored and shared?
- Why is this data being collected?
- Where is this data being stored?
In this data-driven age, data is the prime responsibility of not only organizations but also individual employees of the organization. It is now the most-discussed topic in boardrooms.
Most organizations collect personally identifiable information, data which could release the identity of an individual.
IDC says that by the year 2025, the total sum of data will grow to 175 ZB from 33 ZB (in 2018).
Of course, all this data is not PII, but a considerable part of it is. It means that every business stores a large amount of data that is sensitive to customers. Isn’t every organization responsible for keeping this data safe?
Every customer expects this from the organization that holds his/her data. Fortunately, data governance and compliance can be utilized to secure their data.
Let’s see how.
What is data governance?
Data governance means creating and implementing processes and policies which manage data and information assets of the organization. The principal aim of data governance is to figure out important data assets, methods to store and secure them, and effectively use them.
It means that data governance also includes implementing robust technology to collect, store, process, and utilize data that is valuable to the organization.
The challenge of governance and security
With the increase in personally identifiable information (PII) stored with organizations, the need for proper governance and security is also increasing. Across the globe, legislative authorities are struggling to find an equilibrium between governance and security. The sudden burst of information flowing through public and private organizations is intensifying the need for stringent policies and advanced process workflows.
The best implementation of this arising need can be seen in GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Although it was only applicable in the EU, organizations across the globe were affected. Soon after its implementation, British Airways faced a fine of £183 million due to a security breach that happened between April-June in 2018.
This strong step by the EU was followed by multiple other enactments by Japan, California, and Brazil. In 2018 alone, numerous nations modified their data privacy regulations to impose strict fines and penalties on organizations wrongly storing, sharing, and processing PII of customers.
These regulations only emphasize on how important it is to impose correct governance and security structure for the PII of customers.
Another thing that was noticed during 2018 was that many customers became aware of the information they are sharing with various organizations. As the GDPR enactment came into effect in May, every organization across the globe started modifying their governance to incorporate GDPR compliance. This increased awareness amongst customers, who are now more cautious about the information they share. Indeed, currently, customers are also more interested in knowing how organizations are using their data.
Understanding how data is stored and processed
Every organization collects data from multiple sources, and maintaining governance and security of this data is difficult. However, it is also necessary as per the above regulations.
But the data collected by organizations is not always structured, and it is not collected in the same format or stored in a single database. In reality, a large amount of data collected is unstructured, and it is stored in various databases in the cloud or on-premises.
How is this a problem?
Let’s understand this with an example:
If we again glance at the GDPR, the act allows citizens of the EU to demand the Right to be Forgotten.
What does this mean?
This means that any EU citizen can ask the organization to delete all traces of information that the organization holds related to that individual. It means that you may be requested at any moment to delete any data you hold specific to an individual.
If you can’t track this data, how will you delete it from your database?
Thus, to ensure end-to-end security of customers’ data, you need to know every vertical of your data, including how you store, collect, and process it. This governance approach ensures that you know where customers’ data is, which makes it easier to reduce risks related to privacy and security.
Along with knowing how you stored data, you should also assess the risk. As organizations collect, store, and process data or information, they should know the risks to which this data is exposed – for example, being misused or stolen.
Integrating data governance to business strategy
When it’s time to integrate data governance to business strategy, most businesses think of the worst-case scenario or corrective action. This means, thinking of ways to remediate the situation when the damage has already happened.
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Instead, a better approach is to formulate a proactive or preventive strategy that helps you avoid security breaches. This will not only help you save customers’ data but also mitigate reputational and financial risks.
A proactive approach can help you integrate data governance and security to your business strategy.
Instead of looking at all the regulations as bottlenecks, you can use this opportunity to improve your security structure through data governance. This can be achieved by understanding enterprise data assets, how these assets are used, and how you can secure these assets. The ability to understand your data assets and develop a proactive approach is the first and most important step towards data security.