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The Importance of Data Governance Planning

With the increase in data flow seen amongst small, medium and large-sized businesses within recent years, the need for following a clear and viable data governance plan cannot be stressed enough. Whether that responsibility falls on the shoulders of a dedicated chief data officer, a mid-level IT team or an outsourced IT firm is ultimately the responsibility of the individual business, but the fact remains that many organizations are still operating without a data governance plan of any kind.

Industry Figures

According to a 2013 Data Governance Survey performed by Rand Secure Data, approximately 44% of the 454 organizations surveyed, which includes entities such as Shell, Disney, Motorola and even the City of Los Angeles, are currently operating without any kind of data governance plan. Furthermore, 22% of respondents without a data governance plan in place have no current goals of establishing one. In a world where insider information leaks, account breaches and identify theft are all on the rise, these numbers are rather disheartening.

The good news, however, is the fact that many organizations do indeed recognize the need for regular data backups and data protection. According to the 2013 Data Governance Survey, 98% of organizations currently do have some sort of backup plan in place; while 95% say they perform routine data backups.

Organizations are also beginning to recognize the importance of a data governance plan, as is evident by some of the comments Rand received during their survey. One anonymous respondent, who reported the absence of a data governance plan, summed up their feelings on the situation.

"If we don't get a decent data governance strategy and acceptable data governance statutes in place over the next two years, we will face the risk of losing data, losing control and track of data, and lawsuits." The anonymous quote stated.
Survey Conclusion

In the end, Rand's 2013 Data Governance Survey provides several guidelines regarding data governance in the 21st century. For starters, Rand says, all organizations should have a completely functional data governance plan in place.

For companies that already operate according to a data governance plan, it may need improvement. As the survey pointed out, "continually working to improve your policy can only increase the value your organization derives from its data."

The survey recommends that all business owners take a cross-functional approach to the idea of data governance. This is best accomplished by consulting with all levels of personnel in order to establish a straightforward plan for data administration and management. Moreover, businesses will also need to provide hands-on training and instruction in order to keep their employees updated on any changes or revisions to their data governance plan.

Another point of the survey stresses plan adherence with any legal requirements or standards. Because data is subject to varying retention periods, organizations need to be aware of such constraints and ensure all rules and regulations are followed.

Finally, the 2013 Data Governance Survey maintains that business owners should always stay updated on the newest trends and innovations in technology. Given the recent increases in big data, as well as the forecasted growth, companies need to be ready to adapt their plans as technology dictates.


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