What is Data Governance?

Data governance encompasses the strategies and technologies used to make sure business data stays in compliance with regulations and corporate policies.  

What do I need to know about data governance?

Data governance requires an organization to understand and take stock of regulatory requirements, legal requirements, and business best practices which their data must meet, establish rules, and adopt automated and human processes to see that the rules are enforced. 

Who needs data governance? 

Most organizations should have some form of data governance to prevent sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands. However, large companies and regulated industries, such as healthcare or banking, have the most at stake. The amount of effort and expense spent on data governance should be, and usually is, commensurate with the amount of risk. 

What properties of data require governance?

The drivers of data governance are usually regulatory and legal requirements; however a governance rule can be any practice to which the organization wishes to adhere. Governance often dictates where certain types of data may be stored and codifies data protection methods, such as encryption or password strength. Governance can dictate how to back up data, who has access to data, and when archived data should be destroyed. Organizations can also set governance objectives around improving data quality or breaking down silos that isolate certain data. 

Is data governance a technology? 

Data governance is primarily used to refer to the strategy of managing and controlling data. However, there are commercial products that assist with many information management tasks such as validating data quality and enforcing business rules.