How to Achieve Data Security Governance and Compliance

As data further cements itself as an essential resource for modern businesses, more steps must be taken to guarantee its security. Why?

These measures may be related to how and why data access is governed, ensuring that proper data access controls are in place to maintain the necessary security of the resource. It could also come through government laws and regulations, enacted to create standard safeguards across the board. Regardless, these kinds of actions and regulations are meant to protect sensitive data from dangerous leaks or exposure.

In this blog, we break down both data governance and compliance, highlighting how these two distinct functions of data security operate in tandem to keep your data safe.

What is Data Governance and Why is it Important?

Data governance is a set of policies, procedures, processes, and best practices for securing, managing, and deriving value from organizational data. Governance measures address internal data security and management, as data teams establish a framework to dictate how data flows throughout the organization.

In practice, governance frameworks denote who may access which data, for what purpose, and through what means. By establishing rules based on dynamic attributes, roles, and responsibilities, data assets can flow securely and efficiently through an organization’s data ecosystem without exposure to those who should not see them. An exemplary data governance framework will balance data’s integrity and security with its accessibility and ease of use.

Why does this matter? An effective governance framework can enable an organization to analyze and leverage data without being hindered by slow approval processes or ineffective data access controls. Appropriate access to data will be granted when necessary, empowering users to derive timely and valuable insights. These near-real time insights give organizations a competitive edge, while avoiding putting sensitive data at risk.

A strong governance framework will also provide transparency to prove that it is operating as intended and in accordance with rules and regulations. Through straightforward data policy enforcement and auditing, a governance system can be both comprehensible and able to prove operational compliance.

What is Compliance and Why is it Important?

Data use compliance encompasses the standards and regulations that govern how companies and government organizations keep data secure, private, and safe from breaches or damaging use. Between government laws and regulations, international agreements, contractual measures, and internal standards, there is no shortage of contemporary data security compliance laws and regulations that govern how data can and should be handled.

These regulations can apply to consumer data, employee data, financial records, health information, and much more. If there is any sensitive data involved, there’s no doubt that a collection of compliance standards apply. These measures are established and enforced with the intent of providing standards for organizations to meet in order to keep their data secure from malicious actors.

If an organization is found to not comply with data rules, they can risk monetary fines, legal action, and general breach of trust with their customers. Putting systems in place to maintain compliance with any and all regulations gives businesses and agencies an extra layer of confidence that their data practices are as safe as possible.

How Do Data Governance and Compliance Work Together?

Data governance and compliance are an ideal pair. These two data security measures operate hand-in-hand to reinforce one another and create a secure data ecosystem. These mutual benefits include:

Providing Structure

Compliance laws and regulations provide organizations with the guidelines for how they use data. Given this structure, data teams are able to build and/or adjust their governance frameworks in order to achieve compliance. Tools can then be added, tweaked, and operationalized to guarantee that data governance is operating compliantly and at scale.

Governance performance and capabilities should continually be evaluated against this structure, and when audited should prove full adherence to the rules in place. Automated maintenance and auditing of a governance framework allows models to remain up-to-date with the latest standards, and keeps data secure.

Cutting Through the Noise

New data security rules and regulations are seemingly introduced every day. When enforcement comes from a range of different angles and affects different parts of a data ecosystem, it can be difficult to understand just how to meet all requirements without missing the mark.

A robust governance framework provides organizations with the clarity they need to remain compliant across the board. Systems that are built to securely manage and govern access to sensitive information should fulfill the standards set by these laws. In theory, this kind of framework should anticipate these requirements, and have the flexibility to adjust when necessary in order to integrate new needs without slowing data access or analysis.

Keeping Consumers Safe

This is the ultimate goal of both data governance and compliance efforts. Independently, data governance seeks to guarantee the safety of individuals by controlling access to sensitive user information. Similarly, compliance laws and regulations aim to protect consumers, employees, and businesses from the negligent or dangerous use of sensitive information.

When effective data governance and compliance are both factored into an organization’s data ecosystem, consumers can be confident that their safety is a priority. A scalable, flexible, and secure data governance framework allows organizations to ensure their data use is compliant and secure, and most importantly keeps their consumers safe.

How to Achieve Effective Data Governance and Compliance

The first key to achieving safe and effective governance and compliance is understanding the data that your organization collects. This is done most efficiently through methods like automated sensitive data discovery, which scans and classifies data as it enters your data environment.

Beyond understanding the classification of the data itself, it’s important to know which compliance initiatives affect your organization. By assessing which legal, contractual, and internal measures apply to your data, you can foster a framework that meets–or even exceeds–these standards.

Lastly, data governance frameworks should be baked into your data ecosystem as early as possible. By incorporating robust governance from the start, you establish a compliant foundation that can adapt to changes as necessary. With vigorous data access controls, data policy enforcement, and privacy-enhancing technologies incorporated at square one, your data governance and compliance framework can strike the balance between powerful security and self-service accessibility.

Immuta is the market leader in data access and security, and can work within your data ecosystem to discover, secure, and monitor your sensitive data. Through these measures, Immuta can enable your data governance framework to get the right data to the right users at the right time, without compromising compliance or safety.

To see how Immuta’s easy-to-create policies can compliantly govern data access, try our self-guided walkthrough demo!

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