November 8, 2022

Data Governance Best Practices

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Mark Rowan

Best practices for data governance are guidelines and rules that help keep your business’s data compliant with data protection laws while also ensuring that information is accurate, comprehensive, consistent, and relevant. Having a solid data governance strategy is very important for organizations that use a large amount of data, especially consumer data.

We'll examine each of our top data governance recommended practices in greater detail in this guide.

Recognizing and Applying Best Practices for Data Governance

To implement governance across a data lifecycle, it is necessary to assess and comprehend how people, processes, and technology interact with data in the current organizational structure. This entails evaluating your present data governance program and data classification processes, comprehending the implementation issues, benchmarking, and outlining potential improvements.

Data Governance Best Practices

Regularly Measure Your Data Governance Program’s Success

Data governance is concerned with how decisions are made, not how those decisions turn out. It's also true that typical corporate performance metrics don't necessarily apply. The following metrics can be used to gauge the effectiveness of a governance program and show that the organization is more knowledgeable, resilient, and accountable:

  • The number of program participants who are assigned specific tasks, trained in procedures, or made aware of policies.
  • The number of data sources for which a relevant governance policy has been defined and is being applied to make operational, tactical, or strategic decisions.
  • Any improvements in the quality and reuse of data that have been measured.
  • The number of data policy infractions decreasing over time.
Don’t Be Afraid to Start Small with the Bigger Picture in Mind

The three pillars of data governance are people, processes, and technology. When developing and implementing your data discovery strategy, you should make an effort to keep these three considerations in mind. You don't have to concentrate on enhancing each of the three areas at once, though.

Start small and work your way up to the big picture. People come first, then processes, and technology comes last. A comprehensive data governance strategy should be created by each component building on the one that came before it.  

The procedure could become obsolete in the absence of the right people. No amount of cutting-edge technology will be able to solve the problem overnight if the people and processes aren't managing your data as you intended.

Bite off smaller chunks of the "data elephant" and tackle data challenges and policy creation one source or data domain at a time.

Before creating a procedure, identify internally or hire the best candidates. You may define a data governance process with the aid of these data specialists. Then you may find the technology that automates your processes and accomplishes the task successfully and efficiently.

Establish a Core Goal from the Very Beginning

The data governance program must be guided by a strategic purpose to be effective. Each organization's version of this objective is generally different and aligned to the strategic goals of the organization.

That entails having a goal that affects profits, growth, effectiveness, or risks. Therefore, the first step is to identify your program's "why" and develop metrics for measuring it. Starting with the end in mind is a useful strategy in this situation; determine the data issues that must be fixed before the entire organization can extract any benefit from it, or the business objectives that must be achieved and how data can assist with achieving them.

Create an Ideal Data Governance Framework

The effective administration of data throughout its complete life cycle must be ensured by a data governance structure. Every company needs a set of guidelines — policies, standards, and control — outlining how data is used, who oversees data usage, and the procedures that regulate data to guarantee quality and compliance. Adopting a thorough data governance framework that is ideal for your firm is therefore a crucial data governance best practice. There are many well-known frameworks available, but you should choose one that best suits the requirements of your firm.

As an option, the Data Sentinel Data Governance framework is available to all of our clients to modify, use and make their own as part of all of our client engagements.

Creating a Team for Compliance

Many people work in industries with strict regulations, such as the public sector, the medical field, and the financial industry. Although compliance cannot be guaranteed, it is crucial to establish reliability and consistency in your data compliance program. A virtual staff with a focus on data policies that impact regulatory compliance would be tasked with creating, maintaining and monitoring those policies.

The team should be made up of data practitioners who work directly with the data sources used by the governance program and who do not report to a more formal compliance department, such as database architects, software engineers, and business analysts. The team should regularly review the laws and regulations that are relevant to the governance program, decide where to strengthen or expand the program's policies and keep an eye out for occurrences, problems, and policy infractions.

Clearing the road for compliance without impeding business operations are good governance principles. A governance program that treats compliance seriously relieves some of the stress and load on other employees. For instance, the database administrator for a hospital would be heavily responsible for maintaining the organization's systems and keeping up with new laws governing the use of patient data.

Ensure That Your Decision-Makers and Stakeholders Are Involved

To build a data governance strategy, you need executive support, but receiving approval is just the beginning. For your governance plan to be implemented throughout your business, you also want to motivate stakeholders to take action and actively promote and support the program. 

Making a business case for your data governance policies is the best approach to excite executives about your strategy. Focus on how the program can and will support the current business objectives. Growth, efficiency, risk reduction, compliance, etc. are the usual key elements.

Always Secure Your Data as Close to the Source as Possible

Today's security industry is very specialized. The sophistication of threats is increasing. It's a full-time job to defend corporate systems from outside and potential inside threats. It might be difficult to keep up with access rules and permissions in a sizable, dynamic company. 

The teams responsible for data governance and security must work together effectively. The governance team should make sure that data access rules are followed as closely as possible to the original data. The database of a transactional system, for instance, can be used to create and preserve customer data, but a data warehouse can analyze and report on it. The transactional system's data is routinely retrieved and placed in the warehouse. Data warehouse governance is substantially streamlined and unneeded data is removed if security and privacy standards are applied to the source system.

Applying security rules shouldn't be dependent on client tools like business intelligence or data visualization systems. The data may have already travelled across open, unprotected channels by the time a BI user views it. Although it is a valuable feature, security for BI should be secondary to securing and governing the data downstream.

Use the Right Metrics to Measure Improvements

It is crucial to track development and demonstrate the effectiveness of your data governance program, just like with any other change. Data is required to back up every decision you make once your business case has received executive sponsorship. Before establishing data policies, make a plan to define your measurements. Based on your present data management procedures, you can use this to establish a starting point or baseline.

Regularly monitor your development using the original measurements. This not only demonstrates how far you've come, but it also provides a benchmark for determining if your data governance best practices work in practice rather than simply in theory. Even a strategy that seems perfect on paper might not work out as well in practice as you had planned. It is crucial to keep a careful eye on your governance approach and to be adaptable in terms of changes and enhancements.

Examples of key metrics could be:

  • Improvement of degradation of data quality
  • Number and frequency of policy infractions
  • Number, frequency and severity of data breaches or data incidences
  • Improvements in compliance reporting
  • Improvements in audit outcomes
Communicate Efficiently, Effectively, and Clearly

Early and frequent communication is crucial whether your data governance program is brand new or has been in place for some time. The effectiveness of the method is demonstrated by consistent and effective communication, which includes celebrating achievements and restructuring after a setback.

The executive team member in charge of communications for the data governance program should be the chief information officer or chief data officer. The main point of contact for the organization's present governance practices is these leaders. The executive can receive frequent updates from team leaders and data owners. The executive team member afterward updates the remainder of the leadership team and the company as a whole with the most crucial information.

Data Privacy and Implementing the Right Policies

For good reason, consumers throughout the world are becoming more concerned about data privacy and don't think businesses have their best interests at heart. A data governance program helps increase client trust in the company's business practices.

Be clear about the privacy practices of your business and allow customers control over their information. Websites that request visitors to specify their cookie policies are now commonplace. Obtain customers' consent before using their information for a variety of purposes, including market research, product development, and demographic analysis.

Put in place policies that enforce preferences at every level of the organization. Code or technological techniques can be used to apply rules and monitor their effectiveness. Automate where possible.

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November 8, 2022

Data Governance Best Practices

Date:
Hosted By:
Register Now

Best practices for data governance are guidelines and rules that help keep your business’s data compliant with data protection laws while also ensuring that information is accurate, comprehensive, consistent, and relevant. Having a solid data governance strategy is very important for organizations that use a large amount of data, especially consumer data.

We'll examine each of our top data governance recommended practices in greater detail in this guide.

Recognizing and Applying Best Practices for Data Governance

To implement governance across a data lifecycle, it is necessary to assess and comprehend how people, processes, and technology interact with data in the current organizational structure. This entails evaluating your present data governance program and data classification processes, comprehending the implementation issues, benchmarking, and outlining potential improvements.

Data Governance Best Practices

Regularly Measure Your Data Governance Program’s Success

Data governance is concerned with how decisions are made, not how those decisions turn out. It's also true that typical corporate performance metrics don't necessarily apply. The following metrics can be used to gauge the effectiveness of a governance program and show that the organization is more knowledgeable, resilient, and accountable:

  • The number of program participants who are assigned specific tasks, trained in procedures, or made aware of policies.
  • The number of data sources for which a relevant governance policy has been defined and is being applied to make operational, tactical, or strategic decisions.
  • Any improvements in the quality and reuse of data that have been measured.
  • The number of data policy infractions decreasing over time.
Don’t Be Afraid to Start Small with the Bigger Picture in Mind

The three pillars of data governance are people, processes, and technology. When developing and implementing your data discovery strategy, you should make an effort to keep these three considerations in mind. You don't have to concentrate on enhancing each of the three areas at once, though.

Start small and work your way up to the big picture. People come first, then processes, and technology comes last. A comprehensive data governance strategy should be created by each component building on the one that came before it.  

The procedure could become obsolete in the absence of the right people. No amount of cutting-edge technology will be able to solve the problem overnight if the people and processes aren't managing your data as you intended.

Bite off smaller chunks of the "data elephant" and tackle data challenges and policy creation one source or data domain at a time.

Before creating a procedure, identify internally or hire the best candidates. You may define a data governance process with the aid of these data specialists. Then you may find the technology that automates your processes and accomplishes the task successfully and efficiently.

Establish a Core Goal from the Very Beginning

The data governance program must be guided by a strategic purpose to be effective. Each organization's version of this objective is generally different and aligned to the strategic goals of the organization.

That entails having a goal that affects profits, growth, effectiveness, or risks. Therefore, the first step is to identify your program's "why" and develop metrics for measuring it. Starting with the end in mind is a useful strategy in this situation; determine the data issues that must be fixed before the entire organization can extract any benefit from it, or the business objectives that must be achieved and how data can assist with achieving them.

Create an Ideal Data Governance Framework

The effective administration of data throughout its complete life cycle must be ensured by a data governance structure. Every company needs a set of guidelines — policies, standards, and control — outlining how data is used, who oversees data usage, and the procedures that regulate data to guarantee quality and compliance. Adopting a thorough data governance framework that is ideal for your firm is therefore a crucial data governance best practice. There are many well-known frameworks available, but you should choose one that best suits the requirements of your firm.

As an option, the Data Sentinel Data Governance framework is available to all of our clients to modify, use and make their own as part of all of our client engagements.

Creating a Team for Compliance

Many people work in industries with strict regulations, such as the public sector, the medical field, and the financial industry. Although compliance cannot be guaranteed, it is crucial to establish reliability and consistency in your data compliance program. A virtual staff with a focus on data policies that impact regulatory compliance would be tasked with creating, maintaining and monitoring those policies.

The team should be made up of data practitioners who work directly with the data sources used by the governance program and who do not report to a more formal compliance department, such as database architects, software engineers, and business analysts. The team should regularly review the laws and regulations that are relevant to the governance program, decide where to strengthen or expand the program's policies and keep an eye out for occurrences, problems, and policy infractions.

Clearing the road for compliance without impeding business operations are good governance principles. A governance program that treats compliance seriously relieves some of the stress and load on other employees. For instance, the database administrator for a hospital would be heavily responsible for maintaining the organization's systems and keeping up with new laws governing the use of patient data.

Ensure That Your Decision-Makers and Stakeholders Are Involved

To build a data governance strategy, you need executive support, but receiving approval is just the beginning. For your governance plan to be implemented throughout your business, you also want to motivate stakeholders to take action and actively promote and support the program. 

Making a business case for your data governance policies is the best approach to excite executives about your strategy. Focus on how the program can and will support the current business objectives. Growth, efficiency, risk reduction, compliance, etc. are the usual key elements.

Always Secure Your Data as Close to the Source as Possible

Today's security industry is very specialized. The sophistication of threats is increasing. It's a full-time job to defend corporate systems from outside and potential inside threats. It might be difficult to keep up with access rules and permissions in a sizable, dynamic company. 

The teams responsible for data governance and security must work together effectively. The governance team should make sure that data access rules are followed as closely as possible to the original data. The database of a transactional system, for instance, can be used to create and preserve customer data, but a data warehouse can analyze and report on it. The transactional system's data is routinely retrieved and placed in the warehouse. Data warehouse governance is substantially streamlined and unneeded data is removed if security and privacy standards are applied to the source system.

Applying security rules shouldn't be dependent on client tools like business intelligence or data visualization systems. The data may have already travelled across open, unprotected channels by the time a BI user views it. Although it is a valuable feature, security for BI should be secondary to securing and governing the data downstream.

Use the Right Metrics to Measure Improvements

It is crucial to track development and demonstrate the effectiveness of your data governance program, just like with any other change. Data is required to back up every decision you make once your business case has received executive sponsorship. Before establishing data policies, make a plan to define your measurements. Based on your present data management procedures, you can use this to establish a starting point or baseline.

Regularly monitor your development using the original measurements. This not only demonstrates how far you've come, but it also provides a benchmark for determining if your data governance best practices work in practice rather than simply in theory. Even a strategy that seems perfect on paper might not work out as well in practice as you had planned. It is crucial to keep a careful eye on your governance approach and to be adaptable in terms of changes and enhancements.

Examples of key metrics could be:

  • Improvement of degradation of data quality
  • Number and frequency of policy infractions
  • Number, frequency and severity of data breaches or data incidences
  • Improvements in compliance reporting
  • Improvements in audit outcomes
Communicate Efficiently, Effectively, and Clearly

Early and frequent communication is crucial whether your data governance program is brand new or has been in place for some time. The effectiveness of the method is demonstrated by consistent and effective communication, which includes celebrating achievements and restructuring after a setback.

The executive team member in charge of communications for the data governance program should be the chief information officer or chief data officer. The main point of contact for the organization's present governance practices is these leaders. The executive can receive frequent updates from team leaders and data owners. The executive team member afterward updates the remainder of the leadership team and the company as a whole with the most crucial information.

Data Privacy and Implementing the Right Policies

For good reason, consumers throughout the world are becoming more concerned about data privacy and don't think businesses have their best interests at heart. A data governance program helps increase client trust in the company's business practices.

Be clear about the privacy practices of your business and allow customers control over their information. Websites that request visitors to specify their cookie policies are now commonplace. Obtain customers' consent before using their information for a variety of purposes, including market research, product development, and demographic analysis.

Put in place policies that enforce preferences at every level of the organization. Code or technological techniques can be used to apply rules and monitor their effectiveness. Automate where possible.

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