How to Improve Data Governance in this New Normal

 

COVID-19 has thrust companies around the world into temporary shutdowns and unexpected work-from-home arrangements, and it’s revealing some glaring data governance challenges.

With employees connecting to workplace systems remotely, downloading company data through their home networks, and having potentially sensitive conversations over their personal phone lines, they risk exposing their companies to countless digital security threats and compliance issues.

Now that companies are planning for the “new normal”— with working-from-home (WFH) arrangements expected to continue to some degree in most workplaces —establishing a robust data governance policy should be a top priority for the C-Suite.

 

What is data governance?

It’s not hard to find a definition of data governance and yet many companies still struggle to define it, let alone establish a clear action plan.

At its core, a data governance policy is simply a framework of principles and rules that ensure data is consistently collected, accessed, and shared correctly. According to the Data Governance Institute, it should “help a variety of data stakeholders across any organization identify and meet their information needs.”

 

What’s the business value of data governance?

Before asking yourself what the business value of data governance is, ask yourself what the value of your business data is. According to Gartner, it could be valued at 20-25% of your company’s total value.

Even if that estimate elicits some skepticism, there’s no doubt that data is valuable to the integrity and profitability of any business. An effective data governance policy not only protects a company from liability and compliance issues due to data misuse. It can also help increase revenue, manage costs, and improve efficiency.

 

Improving data governance in your company

f your company is lacking a data governance policy, or if it needs to improve an existing data governance framework, here are some good areas to start. These tips don’t represent the full extent of a proper data governance policy but they’re solid pillars to draft your action plan around.

 

Elevate the role of IT or your CIO

In any organization, there are countless stakeholders in data governance. Without clear ownership or direction, something as multi-faceted as data governance can easily fall into disrepair, becoming inconsistent across the company and out of step with updates in technology or compliance laws.

By elevating the role of IT or establishing a CIO, data governance has a clear owner and leader or advocate within the company. It also ensures business needs and IT solutions are more closely aligned.

 

Understand basic compliance risks

In every country, laws around the proper use of data collected from customers, potential customers, and even employees are constantly changing. They also vary wildly from one country to another, which presents a challenge for organizations with employees spread across borders.

It’s critical to understand these basic compliance requirements wherever work is being done, even if employees are working from home. In Ireland, for example, legal professionals have been warned to avoid work calls within earshot of virtual assistants, such as Google Home.

 

Establish clear cloud policies

Cloud networks are an essential piece of any modern company’s execution strategy. They scale quickly, provide incredible cost flexibility, and make it easy for employees to work effectively from anywhere.

They also present significant digital security risks. And not just at the hands of hackers. According to security researchers at IBM, a staggering 95% of data breaches are the result of human error.

Clear cloud policies are an essential step in improving any organization’s data governance.

 

How to establish a data governance policy

With companies transitioning to the “new normal” and more employees working remotely, robust data governance is more critical than ever before. It’s also more complicated than ever before.

If you need expert guidance, visit Bell’s security centre to learn more or arrange a call with a certified team of security specialists.

 

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