This is the age of Big Data and almost all businesses have to work with a daily increasing load of information. The data has to be organized and managed well preferably with the support of data conversion services, and stored securely. It is also important to ensure that organizations are doing enough to safeguard all sensitive data. Data security is critical whether in a business office or on home computers. Client information, payment information, bank details and other similar data are hard to replace if it falls into the wrong hands. Data lost due to disasters such as flood or fire can be dangerous but losing it to hackers or malware infection can have dire consequences.
The rapid growth of cloud technology, remote servers, remote work force, BYOD and excessive dependence on the internet are some factors that contribute to data breaches. Even if there is a minor flaw in the digital architecture, hackers can bring down the entire organisation. So, as technology advances, cyber crime continues to rise despite the best efforts from government agencies and cyber security experts. Online presence inevitably reveals a small piece of our existence and the usage of the internet is increasing with every year. So, it is important for businesses to take effective measures to prevent cyber threats.
Importance of proper data management and data governance
This is the age of data revolution and data is now traded in the nickname of “the New Oil”. Everyday around 2.5 quintillions of data are generated and this figure is going up every day. Due to the rising amount of data, the chance of misuse of data is also on the higher side.
Facebook’s recent data breach violated the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This could cost them 4% of their global revenue i.e. $1.63 billion in fines. This is now considered as a warning sign for enterprises across the globe. Thus data breach can be the worst nightmare of any company and they should understand the ethics of data governance and data management.
The Health Science Authority of Singapore recently revealed that its database managed by a third party was improperly safeguarded and it contained data of 800,000 blood donors. This came on the back of other nationwide data breaches in Singapore, as well as other high-profile regional and global cyber-attacks.
Here are some tips suggested by Todd Wright, Global Lead, Personal Data Protection & Data Management, SAS, regarding how organizations could go about putting in place an effective data governance, management and protection strategy.
Effective strategy to achieve data governance
Data can be both structured and unstructured and to meet the demands of big data, organizations should prepare themselves to combat the challenges that come with data. Effective data governance enables easy data access or data integration, data quality and auditing capabilities. The next step is to clarify accountability of data. This means that responsibility of data is not just limited to IT teams. It is the responsibility of all departments in an organization to ensure data governance, management and protection and all departments should get involved in this initiative equally. Organizations should first shift away from siloed programs and apply their data governance strategies and practices across all levels of the company. Organizations vary in their work culture, scale and business needs and data governance strategies will be unique to each one in their own way.
Business should handle their business data ethically
Proper handling of data helps to earn customers’ trust and trust helps business determine success. However, it is very easy to lose trust. A minor instance of unethical behaviour by a company could jeopardise its future and the company could also face penalties and lawsuits. To preserve consumers’ trust, companies should go beyond data security and privacy to ensure that there is ethical handling of data within and beyond the organisation. Like climate change, data misuse is becoming a global problem that demands a far-reaching action.
What to look for within an organization before employing the data governance strategy
The organization should have a mindset in which the responsibility of managing, protecting and securing data does not change even if it passed on to a third party vendor. For effective data governance strategies, organizations should have solid processing along with a culture where data governance and privacy are their top priorities. But before enterprises can initiate data governance, they must identify the regulations and frameworks relevant to their businesses.
Proper data management can start with developing the role of Chief Data Offers (CDOs) and Chief Analytics Officers. These individuals should have explicit responsibility for enforcing good governance practices, while driving the business goals of revenue growth and operational efficiency. Organizations should have both the right technology and excellent data hygiene wherein data is not ignored. All employees should be aware of the significance of data security and privacy in an organization.
When using a new technology, data security and privacy must be a part of it
Companies deploy new technologies that simultaneously hinder as well as help business in new privacy and data security regulations. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are now used widely in businesses to help computers learn and adapt new inputs. This AI technology can be used to provide automated process for identification of new threats and the implementation of technology controls and protections. However, hackers have also come up with programmes that can study systems, evaluate vulnerabilities or even create persuasive phishing schemes based on the behaviour of social networks.
It is important to adopt new and evolving international privacy and security regulations in order to fight the threat of increasing liability and risk with statutory penalties and lawsuits. New technologies like AI and ML offer security and privacy while exposing new vulnerabilities and concerns. Thus, companies may benefit from a privacy by design approach that promotes privacy and data security compliance from the start to mitigate risk down the road.
Initiatives such as this and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) out of the EU help in raising the standards of data governance around the world. The European Union’s enforcement of the Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) commenced on 25th May 2018, along with changes in the privacy and data security policies for the vast majority of companies operating, not only in the EU, but across the globe.
The regulatory environment in the US has a patchwork system of federal and state laws governing privacy and data security concerns that is trying to address the issue of data breaches and unauthorised use of personal data that are occurring with ever-rising frequency. All 50 states along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have enacted laws requiring notification of security breaches involving personal information.
Data security should never be taken lightly. Use of data for your company’s interactions with clients promises great results but can also leave you vulnerable to data theft if proper security measures are not followed. To some extent, organizations can minimize the chances of data threat by maintaining neat and clean data by converting all data into digital form with the help of data conversion companies.