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The importance of data governance in the cloud age

Updated: Jan 27, 2023

What is cloud-based data governance?

Cloud-based data governance is the framework of managing and protecting data stored and processed in the cloud. As more companies store their data to the cloud, it's becoming increasingly important to create a plan for how to govern the data estate and allow it to scale as the number of users increases.

What are the benefits?

One of the key benefits of cloud-based data governance is that it allows organisations to discover and share data in a controlled fashion by protecting sensitive information from users that are not authorised to have the access. For example by not exposing personal identifiable information or business sensitive information with corporate departments when sharing a dataset that contains it.

It also allows easy discovery of information from users by creating a data catalog which contains information about the data. The catalog enables users to search for the information they need to find out the data source and fields that contains it but also read any description that will help them get more context about the data.

Another benefit of having a governance framework is that information about the journey of the data across the IT estate becomes visible and the user can see the source and final destination of the data and hence the dependencies of making any changes in any part of this journey.

Moreover, metrics on data quality, such as how often information is stored in a field of interest, are captured so that the users are aware of the limitations. This also becomes an excellent metric to focus engineering efforts in improving the data quality with visible effect.

In the long term, a governance framework enhances the overall experience and quality of the data and provides the proper environment for both the users and the data to scale.

Another key advantage of cloud-based data governance is that it allows organisations to take advantage of advanced security features. Many cloud providers offer built-in security features such as encryption, access controls, and monitoring, which can help protect sensitive data from cyber threats.

What are some of the challenges?

One of the challenges of cloud-based data governance is ensuring compliance with regulations and industry standards. Many organisations are required to comply with regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA, and it can be a challenge to ensure compliance when data is stored in the cloud. However, cloud providers often offer compliance features and certifications that can help organisations meet these requirements.

Another challenge with cloud-based data governance is managing the cost. Cloud storage and processing can become expensive and scale linearly, and it's important for organisations to understand the future costs in order to build a plan of managing these costs by utilising different storage types and by optimising data processing pipelines and data consumption to become efficient.

To sum up, companies can achieve data governance by implementing policies and procedures for data management, designating a data governance team, providing training and resources for data management, regularly monitoring and auditing data usage, and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations. This includes creating a clear data governance framework, determining roles and responsibilities for data management, setting clear guidelines for data quality, security, and access, and establishing a process for ongoing review and improvement of data governance practices. Additionally, it is important to foster a culture of data governance throughout the organisation, by communicating the importance of data governance to all employees and encouraging them to take ownership of their data management responsibilities.

Get in touch with UDigitalise to learn more about data governance.

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