‘Data Governance’ isn’t fun. It’s an essential process to keep your data properly managed, but it’s also difficult to motivate others to deliver on it. This difficulty is probably why you’re reading this data governance blog.

Everyone knows that thorough data management is essential for data security and, from our experience, a good data strategy isn’t complete without data governance.

Yet, data governance is often met with resistance from within. You may have already experienced this pushback in your own organisation – and you’re not alone. These procedures can be perceived to be tiresome and seemingly unnecessary.

Our advice? Don’t talk about it.

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Don’t talk about Data Governance.

Data Governance is a catch-all for different safety and security procedures for your data and analytics. It’s also unpopular. When it comes to reinforcing your data governance, it’s often easiest to avoid talking about ‘governance’ at all.

It’s easier for the organisation as a whole to recognise the value of ‘safety’ procedures, especially in contrast to the contrived perceptions of governance. Try to emphasise the tangible necessity for these processes.

In an environment where mistakes can be extremely costly, with the ICO watchdog on patrol, it’s far more effective to hammer home the priority of governance exercises. No-one wants to have a £100m+ fine arrive on their doorstep!

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When it comes to data security, it’s not only your data that’s at risk – your reputation is also at stake.

Recent high-profile breaches also help to illustrate the importance of good data governance.

The tangible cost of data breaches is already evident, with British Airways’ record £183m fine in 2019. What you might not have considered is the damage to your reputation. Once this damage is done, there’s little you can do about it.

Consider the impact of this headline on consumer behaviours. Data is everywhere. More people than ever are conscious of the importance of their data privacy, and might be put off by a newsworthy breach.

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Good data management helps reduce risks of a data breach, both for GDPR and for your brand.

Data governance is an important area to get right from the start. You need to define your long-term strategy early on, and deliver on this whenever you’re handling your data.

Once you’ve communicated this strategy – and the importance of these procedures – to the organisation, your data governance is far more likely to succeed. Just make sure to call it something else!
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Data Governance blog video

Jason Foster, CEO at Cynozure, has spent his career defining, shaping and delivering data and analytics strategies that help organisations across multiple sectors get value from data. Hear his advice on data governance in this video.

Interested in Data Governance? Our 'Fundamentals of Data Management' white paper explains everything you need to know about governance, including how to effectively manage and secure your data.

White Paper: Fundamentals of Data Management

Written by James Sutton


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