Everything You Should Know About Data Governance

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    Data is one of your organization’s most valuable assets, and how well you manage the quality, ownership, and governance of that asset determines, to a great extent, the overall organization’s success. Giving a short attention span to data governance can result in a buildup of errors in your business.

    When crucial data is disorganized, your business can face rising costs for storing as well as managing duplicate data and penalties for not complying with regulations, among other expenses. Additionally, it becomes hard to tell if your organization’s decisions are based on correct data. To reduce such risks, you need to invest in proper data governance.

    In this article, we’ll define data governance, state who needs governance, provide potential benefits and explain the principles as well as the steps you need to take to use data governance in your organization effectively.

    What is Data Governance?

    Data governance refers to a collection of roles, standards, processes, policies, and metrics that ensure the effective and efficient use of information in enabling a business to achieve its goals. Data governance is not data stewardship nor master data management (MDM). But it’s an important part of MDM that establishes the responsibilities and processes that ensure the security and quality of the data used across an organization.

    programmer man working on data governance
    Data Governance

    A well-executed data governance strategy is significant for any company that works with big data, as it explains how your organization benefits from common, consistent responsibilities and processes. It also defines who can take what step, upon what information, in what circumstances, and using what methods.

    Who Needs Data Governance?

    Data governance can be used by organizations in almost any industry, especially those needing to process massive data volumes. Every department in your firm can benefit from data governance.

    Reasons Why You Need Data Governance

    A well-planned data governance strategy offers many benefits to your business, including:

    Better Data Quality

    Data quality is used to describe the accuracy, completeness, and consistency of data. A good data governance strategy helps improve Data governance by defining standards to maintain the integrity of data.

    Better Data Visualization

    Data governance helps to reduce the complexity of data visualization, making it easier to manage, govern and garner insights. It helps your organization to better understand and analyze data, reducing your attack surface.

    A Better Access to Data

    By getting data about your finances, clients, employees, and more and ensuring that it’s used efficiently and effectively, you can give your employees easy and reliable access to data that helps guide them in significant business decisions.

    Play A Part in Regulatory Compliance

    Most laws need the retention of certain records and dictate how long they should be kept. Data governance principles can help your organization to comply with these regulations and avoid steep lawsuits and penalties.

    Asset for Businesses

    As earlier said, data is one of your organization’s most precious assets. Data governance ensures that this asset is useful, secure, and available. A strong data governance strategy also reassures customers about how their data is managed.

    Better Organization

    Data governance brings context to your organization’s data. It enables your teams to document, organize and evaluate the quality of available data assets. Additionally, clarifying responsibilities and roles eliminates confusion and makes data collaboration and processes easy to follow.

    Help Businesses Reach Their Goal

    Data governance helps make things more precise and transparent when it comes to data. It helps your team to remain on the same page, making it easy to achieve your goals.

    Data governance principles

    To guarantee successful data governance implementation, keep the following data governance principles in mind:

    data storage concept

    1. Data Administration

    Data assets need to be managed and for this to happen, a process needs to be defined. During this process, data quality, integrity, security, and usability need to be aligned with your needs.

    This role comes with different missions and responsibilities. The first step is to appoint a data steward in your organization. The steward will be responsible for ensuring that all rules and regulations are followed.

    Data administration is crucial in any successful data governance process. If no one in your organization takes ownership of data governance, it will be blunt, ineffective, and directionless. Accountability and ownership have, therefore, to be practical across your organization.

    2. Data Documentation

    One of the data steward’s missions will be to capture and maintain comprehensive information on data used within the company. To create this documentation a tool can be used, especially to optimize the transparency and the use of that information with all the individuals in the company.


    This specific documentation is called a data dictionary. It provides everything you need to know about your data in a centralized document or data governance tool. Here need to be defined for each data asset: data definition, where it comes from, format, data lineage, data usage, among other things, and last but not least the data accountant!

    3. Data Accountability

    To be a data accountant means that you have a responsibility for at least one data asset. The mission here is to ensure that you know who collects that data, from which system data comes from, does it answer to the company standard in terms of data quality and finally is it properly used within the company. This last one includes being sure that data privacy and security must be respected, and also that the data assets are properly defined and understandable to be accurate.

    4. Data Integrity

    Data integrity is of utmost importance among data governance principles since it involves the process of ensuring and preserving the validity and accuracy of your data. Whether the data you have is being used appropriately depends on the entity using it. All the participants using your data should be truthful and ethical to ensure seamless accessibility and retrievability, reliability, traceability, data security, and seamless decision-making concerning the data. You also have to use a data management tool that guarantees data integrity.

    One of the key components of data integrity is data accuracy: your data have to be as much as possible with no errors, inconsistencies, or discrepancies. Some processes can be defined to prevent or correct errors and improve your data accuracy to be reliable and consistent enough.

    5. Data Standardization

    Data formats can vary from one source to another. Data standardization aims at converting data to a standardized format so it can be processed and analyzed.

    For example in a form where the data is filled in manually, some format checks must be implemented to be sure to get your data in the proper format. Same case when one data comes from multiple systems.

    Data standardization includes also the fact to respect naming conventions. Some rules and guidelines can be defined in your company to have consistent naming for all your data, no matter the departments using it. It also helps to improve data searchability and interoperability across systems.

    6. Data Transparency

    All the data governance processes implemented throughout your business should exhibit utmost transparency. It means that data should be easily accessible and in the meantime, easily understandable.

    On your customers’ or employees’ side, they should be aware of how, when, and why their data is used.

    Within your company, partners, stakeholders, or individuals from all the departments should be able to easily access the data:

    • Access to a centralized data repository with a friendly interface. The goal here is to avoid data in silos not readily accessible
    • With full documentation on the data: where the data comes from, definition, how is it calculated, who is the data accountant…

    Data transparency helps departments in the company and stakeholders to go through an easy process to get what they need in terms of analysis and KPIs.

    7. Data Compliance

    A data governance process should give you a platform to meet the demands of government rules and regulations such as the US HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability), EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), and industry requirements like PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards).

    Companies are accountable for complying with that rules and regulations and have to be able to demonstrate this in case of audits. They need to ensure they meet best practices both at the company level and individual level.

    These rules are made to protect individuals’ privacy rights and avoid misuse of it. In the end, it helps to maintain trust between the company and its customers or users. And when the company is not compliant with those rules, there can be financial penalties or a loss of customer trust.

    8. Data Protection

    Data protection is fundamental in data governance. It includes 2 key aspects :

    1. The first one refers to data security

    Companies should protect their data from unauthorized access, modification, or deletion.
    A robust security framework must include :

    • accessibility controls: restricted access to data depending on the user’s responsibilities,
    • data encryption: for sensitive data or data in transit when transferred between multiple systems,
    • processes to follow when data breaches occur: how to notify the affected individuals, how to restore data in case of loss,.. and then which measures have been taken to avoid this situation again,
    • regular security checks: implement monitoring and audit on your data to protect and prevent security breaches. All decisions, processes, and controls about data can be subject to audits. Hence, they must all contain proper documentation that certifies compliance.
    1. The second key aspect of data protection is relative to data privacy

    This involves protecting individuals’ privacy rights from misuse and providing them with information on how their data is being used. To ensure trust with users, customers, and employees, companies have to be compliant with regulations and laws such as the GDPR or the CCPA.

    Consent to use private or sensitive data must be obtained and data must be anonymized to de-identify sensitive or personal information when used in the analysis.

    Finally, to avoid risks of data breaches and misuse of sensitive data, you should ensure that you have full oversight of where your data is stored, who is updating it, who has access to it, and for what purposes. According to IBM, the average rate of a data breach rose from $3.86 million in 2020 to 4.24 million, and thus protecting yourself from scammers is of utmost importance.

    #8. Change Management

    Change management refers to any approach that helps to align both processes and people to strategic initiatives that will help your organization to achieve its business vision. It’s, therefore, crucial for your organization to be able to track data changes over time.

    7 Steps to Succeed in Your Data Governance Strategy

    Your data governance strategy may vary depending on the size of your company and industry. Here’s a list of some best practices for efficient data governance:

    1. Define The Business Driver

    To succeed in data governance, you need to highlight what needs to be carefully controlled in the data governance strategy and the benefits expected from this effort. Defining the business driver will be the basis of your organization’s data governance framework.

    2. Identify Data

    Data identification and classification play a huge role in data governance strategy. It aids in:

    For efficient and effective data, you need to identify which data you need and the value it carries. The process is as follows:

    • Discover all the data stored by your company
    • Determine the value of that data
    • Classify and label the data depending on its sensitivity and value
    • Map where it is stored

    3. Create A Data Governance Project Team

    Identify and engage the right team to handle your data and give them the power to implement the most efficient practices for your company. Remember that data governance doesn’t only involve the IT job.

    While the IT team is very vital in providing the technology needed to manage your crucial data, other team members are also important. You’ll, for instance, need someone with the power to make decisions and someone to define data quality standards.

    4. Define Rules and Processes

    Data governance is a joint effort with deliverables from all parts of the business, so everyone’s roles and responsibilities should be well-defined.

    5. Choose The Right Tools

    To get the right governance approach for your business, you need to look for scalable tools that can be integrated with your company’s existing environment. Always focus on tools that will help you realize the organization’s benefits spelled out in your data governance strategy.

    6. Control

    You should deploy control measurements in your IT applications, business process, and /or reporting where it makes the most sense.

    7. Communicate

    Communication is the most crucial part when it comes to data governance and so you should ensure that it’s done frequently. Again, you should ensure that all your employees are well-trained to handle the new tools and methods.

    How Can ClicData Help You with Your Data Governance?

    Data governance has an impact on your organization’s operational, strategic, and tactical levels. As a result, data governance must be undertaken at a continuous frequency for effective data structure and consumption.

    Fortunately, ClicData’s features can help you effectively and efficiently facilitate data governance principles and practices. With ClicData, you can:

    • Connect and aggregate data, making data available and usable with a single source of truth.
    • Manage and transform your data with a high level of security using our ETL tool.
    • Store everything in a data warehouse.
    • Respond to business users with a visualization tool.

    Data governance is mostly not about raw data, but usable data. Investing in Clicdata’s features ensures that all the data governance principles are well respected in your organization.

    Ready to level up your data governance game? Sign up today to try ClicData’s features for free.