data sets

What’s your Data Governance Plan?

What’s your Data Governance Plan? 150 150 Kerry Butters

Big data is something that businesses are embracing in increased numbers, but not every business is prepared for the changes that accompany big data adoption. Information from a recent survey suggests that as many as 44% of businesses aren’t ready to implement data governance plans. 22% of these firms that don’t have a data policy have suggested that they have no plans to implement one.

These findings were released in a data governance survey from Rand Secure Data, which is a division of Rand Worldwide. The findings suggest that businesses simply aren’t prepared for the legacy of big data and it’s becoming apparent that many businesses are happy with the benefits of big data gathering, but are equally happy to ignore the dangers.

Businesses are aware of what needs to be done to safeguard its data but many seem loath to act or even address the problem. It seems that until there are consequences, many businesses simply won’t acknowledge or do the things that need to be done.

Here’s a quick list of things that businesses should be doing:

·         An enterprise-wide process for managing data archiving

·         Backup of system files and company servers

·         Promoting e-discover and incorporating it better

Many respondents in the survey said that their companies had yet to adopt any of the above. Whilst not every company is a culprit for poor business planning, a surprising number are. This is of course an area for concern and businesses need to develop good data governance plans and better prepare for the increase in big data usage.

There are a number of consequences to neglecting good data governance plans. According to the survey, the next two years are important and if companies don’t adopt better policies before that time expires then those companies could lose data, lose control of the tracking and gathering of data, and even risk potential lawsuits due to bad data governance.

The survey doesn’t just bring bad news however – there’s some hope in the sub regions of data management. Over 98% of respondents said that their company has some form of backup program for its data and 95% stated that their organisations backup all of its data on a consistent basis.

The role of e-discovery

E-discovery however is another area of concern for businesses and the danger of legal action due to mismanaged data stockpiles is high. According to the survey, over a third of respondents felt that the company they worked for would be unable to find and produce data when it was needed and the same participants also said that their organisation wouldn’t be able to prove the voracity of its data in the event of legal action.

These are areas that need addressing and a business shouldn’t feel that by ignoring the potential dangers of big data usage the consequences are negated. The potential for error obviously increases the longer that good data governance plans aren’t implemented. It’s not only forward thinking, but completely necessary and businesses shouldn’t shirk their obligations in favour of easy rewards.

Predictive coding

A lot of businesses are avoiding implementing predictive coding – even when this can save time and greatly increase productivity. Companies need to realise that time saved now is not greater than the time and hassle saved in the future by early implementation. A machine-learning e-discovery technology could almost negate human input and automatically determine how and where documents will be classified. This type of time-saving technology will also help in terms of making the network and its data much more readily searchable and it’ll increase the working output of employees.

Although e-discovery software is easy to obtain and implement, predictive coding is used by only 14% of those surveyed. Perhaps more telling is the fact that 33% said that they had never encountered e-discovery or predictive coding before. This suggests that e-discovery is an area that needs exploring and businesses need to be better educated on what it is and how they can use it to its advantage.

In terms of what businesses can do to become better prepared for big data through good governance plans, the actions required are pretty simple. Executives need to participate and help to devise data governance policy that benefits and safeguards the business. The involvement of executives and company wide policies mean that a business is three times less likely to lose its data or run the risk of a data audit failure.

The survey has four recommendations for businesses looking to adopt data governance plans.

1.      Organisations need to adopt a formal data governance plan or reassess the current plan. No policy will ever be faultless and of course there will always be exceptions but corporate entities need to work on and develop protective measures to ensure that the business gets the valuable data it needs safely.

2.      Use your organisation and solicit as much input as you can from your employees. They’re working with the data on a daily basis and they’re likely to have a good idea of what needs to change and develop.

3.      Make sure that any data governance policies are in keeping with your organisation’s legal requirements. There are many different types of data, each with different retention rates and you need to know how to meet those requirements.

4.      Be on the look out for new technology that your business could utilise to its benefit. Big data is growing and becoming ever more saturated and data governance should be reliable, scalable, and of course efficient. New technologies will arrive that can make it easier for your data governance goals to be met.

Many businesses are not doing what’s required of them when it comes to data governance. Businesses need to realise the dangers of not adopting new policies and understand that scrimping now will not save them in the future.