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Five Signs It’s Time for a Data Governance Update

Peter Kortvelyesi

Solution Architect, EPAM

For years, we’ve been talking about how big data will drive business decisions across nearly all industries. But as big data becomes more integrated into everyday practices, question of confidentiality, integrity, and data availability pose real threats when data governance is mishandled.

To mitigate risks, businesses must ensure they have the right tools and governance building blocks in place. They must be willing to recognize when change is needed, and when it is time to reconsider the strategy, policies, procedures, and their infrastructure, including the metrics on monitoring all the above to continuously improve the governance building blocks.

Data governance practices have been around for a long time to help solve challenges associated with the management of data and analytics; however, the Hadoop ecosystem is the game changer. It offers the ability to work with large amounts of various, constantly changing data sources. With conventional governance frameworks now rendered ineffective by present-day demands, we need to reexamine existing problems and rethink how we can solve them.

So, how will you know when it’s time to change or introduce a comprehensive data governance framework with Hadoop?

  1. You have a lot of data but don’t know how to get value out of it.
    Starting can be the hardest part when you’re uncertain about the end goals. Do you have defined requirements and business objectives in mind? What target insights are you hoping to achieve through your data? How will a better understanding of your organization’s data affect business decisions down the road? In order to know the answers to these questions, you have to have some knowledge of what your data can do for you — which is where a data governance framework can help out.
  2. You’re afraid you don’t have the right processes in place to keep up with tightening privacy and security requirements and increased number of security threats.
    A heated discussion continues to rage on why and how data should be regulated, maintained, and protected. Data privacy, related risk assessments, and compliance mandates should be a top priority for organizations attempting to harness the power of their data. Enterprises should aim to mitigate business-threatening privacy issues as much as possible.
  3. You no longer have the time and effort to manage the enormous amount of data you have—or you’re spending more on data management than you can afford.
    The effort that it takes to sort out the data exceeds the value of these insights thereby incurring a higher cost than it’s worth. An increase in volume, velocity, and variety introduce more work regarding processes and data stewardship — and you feel like you can’t keep up, especially if you’re dealing with an inflexible data governance system. Furthermore, if you aren’t getting great value out of your analytics, the cost of data management might not be worth all the spending.
  4. You’re struggling with how to make data selectively accessible as needed, which adds a layer of complexity to data governance.
    Not all data should be accessible to everyone, but it should be accessible within defined SLAs for those who were granted access to it. Assigning appropriate permissions through an efficient infrastructure for each dataset is critical for data privacy, but determining how and when those permissions are applied is not so simple. At the lightning speed that data environments are changing, a lack of control over data can make organizations feel like effective management is impossible.
  5. Data integrity is a primary concern.
    If data is not versioned properly, an audit log is not maintained, or changes in records are not reflected, the rationale behind the storage and analysis of data is questionable. If data in motion gets modified by unknown entities, be it by a system or a person, data leakage, loss, and alteration can frequently occur.

When organized and applied effectively, big data gives enterprises a tremendous competitive advantage by allowing for predictive and prescriptive analytics on huge and continually growing datasets. Take a long, hard look at your data governance practices and consider whether the structures in place are holding your enterprise back from its true potential. Additionally, make sure that your organization is not exposed to business-threatening security issues, data leakage, and theft.

If you wish to avoid a data governance meltdown, consider downloading our whitepaper, Data Governance: In the Big Data & Hadoop World. The whitepaper enumerates the domains that need to be addressed to construct an agile, secure, and maintainable Big Data governance framework, and gives a technology-focused overview on how we support solving data governance problems around the Hadoop ecosystem for our clients.

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