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Data Governance as an Aid to Risk Management

One of the most important functions of an organization’s IT department is to protect its valuable data resources. Having its data compromised through unauthorized access or system breaches poses a new set of risks that an enterprise must successfully address to safeguard their intellectual property. As companies continue to rely more extensively on data analytics as a competitive strategy, they are steadily increasing the size of their data stores.

The quantity of information gathered from the Internet of Things (IoT) and eCommerce has led to diversification in how an enterprise chooses to store their data assets. Exercising a high level of vigilance concerning data protection has become significantly more complex with the addition of cloud storage which is often necessary to handle increased capacity demands. Data risk management is an important component of an organization’s overall strategy to limit threats that can adversely impact their business.

Data’s Role in Risk Management

Data risk management is the controlled process that an organization employs to eliminate risk to its data. It is concerned with how informant is acquired, stored and used and covers the lifespan of a data entity from its creation to its retirement or deletion. A robust data risk management helps protect information resources and offers other benefits to businesses that implement the practice.

Data is important for risk management for several reasons.

  • Using data effectively increases efficiency throughout an organization.
  • Better business decisions can be made by leveraging data resources.
  • An enterprise’s financial health can be monitored and bolstered by analyzing its data assets.
  • The increased accountability enforced by data risk management minimizes the risk of misuse.
  • Data analysis enables a company to take preventative measures that can result in identifying potential areas of risk.

Risks to a company’s reputation or finances come in a variety of flavors. Perhaps the most obvious are the data breaches that seem to hit the news every week. But more subtle risks that impact customer experience or internal procedures can add up to significant problems as well. Using its data effectively is the best way to address the internal and external risks that an organization faces daily. It is of utmost importance that the data is kept secure.

Data Governance Complements Data Risk Management

Data risk management demands security measures to protect an enterprise’s information. Understanding what data resources you have, how they are used, and who has access to them are required first steps when devising protective measures and procedures. Data governance provides the perfect framework through which to grapple with the complexity of enterprise data.

The focus on protecting data has been ramped up in recent years for certain sectors that seem to attract an inordinate number of ransomware attacks. Healthcare facilities and universities are two prime targets for hackers attempting to extort users for access to maliciously encrypted data. Their databases store personal information regarding patients and students that can be a lucrative haul for cybercriminals.

Many universities have adopted data governance as a tool to mitigate the data risks faced by their institutions. An example can be seen at the University of North Texas which was launched in 2016 to address institutional-wide data validity and quality.

One specific issue that the data governance program was meant to address was the lack of clarity related to specific data elements. University leadership ran the risk of misrepresenting data or not having the pertinent data at their disposal when answering strategic questions. Data governance provided them with a shared understanding of data definitions, metadata, and data lineage that was incorporated into their risk management strategy.

Implementing Data Governance

Developing the shared data definitions required for a data governance initiative is a complex undertaking that can be streamlined with the proper collaborative tools. IDERA’s ER/Studio Data Modeling Tools offer the perfect platform for creating the basis of a strong data governance program. It can help your organization enforce stringent data risk management procedures that protect your information.

Enterprise-wide collaboration is fostered with ER/Studio, as all stakeholders can be involved in developing the shared data language required by data governance. It enables the creation of relationship models that map how people, data, and processes interact. It will help your company align its data models with business goals and comply with data security regulations.

With the foundation of a shared language around enterprise data, governance and risk management can be implemented more efficiently to assist wading through the potentially dangerous flood of data under an organization’s control. It’s an essential step for businesses that intend to thrive in our data-driven world.

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