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What is data governance?

Data management involves the strategic framework for managing data in your company. This concerns the development of policies, procedures and processes for the correct handling of data. The purpose is to ensure that all data you store is accurate, protected and can be used effectively. Solid data management requires that you have an overview of your data across different data systems. This blog focuses specifically on how companies can implement effective data governance.

Why is data governance important?

A plan for data management can be important for several reasons:

  1. Data Quality: Effective data management ensures that data is of high quality, precise, and reliable, fostering trust in decision-making and business processes.
  2. Compliance: With strict regulatory requirements such as GDPR and CCPA, data management is crucial to ensure that the company complies with these rules and avoids fines and reputational damage.
  3. Data Protection: Data management contributes to protecting data from threats such as cyberattacks and data loss through the implementation of security measures and controls.
  4. Decision Support: With properly implemented data management, leaders have access to timely and reliable information, enabling better and more informed decision-making.

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How to develop a data governance strategy

To create a successful data management program, there are some steps one should go through:

1. Inventory your data
Take stock of the types of data you collect, store, and process. Identify sensitive and critical data, such as customer information, financial data, and intellectual property. Decide which types of data need special attention and protection.

2. Define roles and data ownership
Next, assign data ownership responsibilities. Clearly define who is accountable for different types of data. Clarify how each employee contributes to your data governance efforts.

3. Data quality governance
Without question, high-quality data can be your most valuable resource for improving your business. On the other hand, inaccurate or inconsistent data can lead to poor decision-making. Set up regular checks to ensure accuracy, completeness and consistency of data.

4. Establish policies for security and privacy
Implement basic security measures, such as password protection and encryption for data at rest and in transit, plus regular software updates and backups. Outline all these measures in your policies and stick to them.

5. Set up data retention policies
Determine how long your data’s lifecycle should be and when data should be archived or deleted. Of course, your data retention policies must balance relevant legal requirements and your business’ needs.

6. Monitor and measure your progress
Tracking improvements over time to ensure the effectiveness of your efforts. Review your practices regularly and monitor compliance. This helps maintain data accuracy and integrity over time.

7. Keep up with local regulations
Be aware of any industry-specific or regional data protection regulations that apply to your business. For example, most regulations require you to respond to data rights requests. Make sure you are ready to receive and respond to such requests.

8. Employee training and communication
Foster a culture of data responsibility. Encourage employees to prioritise data quality, security, and ethical data use in their daily tasks. Reward people for freely acknowledging and quickly correcting any mistakes they make that could affect the accuracy or safety of your data.

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Data governance solutions

Effective data management can be a great help for companies that want to thrive in the digital landscape. By implementing a solid data governance strategy, companies can achieve improved data quality, regulatory compliance, increased data protection and support decision-making. To meet companies’ data management needs, we’ve created three easy-to-use tools that can help manage sensitive data:

DataMapper – Find your sensitive data
ShareSimple – Send and receive data securely in Outlook
RequestManager – Process data subject requests easily

Sebastian Allerelli
Founder & COO at Safe Online
Governance, Risk & Compliance Specialist
Follow me on LinkedIn to get tips on GDPR →


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