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Monday, 22 March 2021 10:08

Five ways Australian businesses can boost data security and improve corporate governance in 2021

Peter O'Connor, Vice President Asia Pacific, Snowflake Peter O'Connor, Vice President Asia Pacific, Snowflake

GUEST OPINION by Peter O’Connor, Vice President Asia Pacific, Snowflake: With an increasing proportion of daily activity shifting into the digital realm, Australian businesses are finding themselves awash with data.

From communication with customers and suppliers to operational planning and financial reporting, the volume of data needing to be managed and stored is rising by the day. Many are seeking ways to streamline these tasks while also ensuring all data remains secure at all times.

For this reason, the topic of data governance has become a focus for senior management. Governance is defined as the orchestration of people, processes, and technology to best manage an organisation’s critical data assets. It’s achieved by using roles, policies, and procedures to ensure data is accurate, consistent, and secure at all times.

There are five ways in which effective data security and governance can be achieved during the coming year. These ways are:
Begin with the right architecture
When redesigning your data infrastructure, which may incorporate a shift to a cloud platform, there is an opportunity to take a different approach when it comes to governance and security. Rather than having an infrastructure that is spread across multiple locations and storage silos, data can be migrated to a single location. This allows tools to be deployed that can streamline management and allow the organisation to extract maximum value from the data.

This new architecture should also make it as simple as possible to share the data, while at the same time having controls in place that monitor what data is being shared and with whom. This is vital if effective governance is to be maintained over the longer term.

Focus on data quality
Once all data is stored in a single location, focus can be applied to ensure its quality is as high as possible. A single store makes it possible to achieve a single version of the ‘truth’ as all parties are working with the same data sets. Also, duplication can be removed, further streamlining data flows and improving productivity for users.

It also needs to be remembered that achieving data quality is not a one-off challenge. With large volumes flowing into and out of an organisation, ensuring the quality of those flows is high is an ongoing task. Sufficient resources will need to be allocated to this area to maintain required quality levels.

Build for end-to-end management
It’s important to think about the way in which data moves throughout your organisation. Consider what applications and tools will be connected with your centralised data store and how the resulting data exchanges will be managed.

Attention also needs to be given to finding ways in which complexity can be kept to a minimum. Cost management is another important consideration as is having the ability to scale the data infrastructure to meet future increases in demand.

Don’t take shortcuts with security
When reviewing data governance and management, it’s vital that security be considered from the outset. Rather than being something that is bolted on at the end, it should be a design element from the very beginning.

Your security strategy also needs to be flexible. Data collaboration is becoming much more prevalent across organisations and ensuring security measures can cope with this is increasingly important.

Future proof for regulation and compliance
It must be remembered that the regulation and compliance requirements that exist today will be different from what will be required in the future. Ensure your data governance strategy is flexible enough to cope with any changes that might be required in the years ahead.

By taking this approach to data management, enterprises can ensure their data is secure and compliant with all regulations and requirements. It also positions them well to be able to extract data from it that can be used to guide future planning.

Through embracing a data governance strategy, Australian businesses will be best placed to respond to the challenges that lie ahead in 2021.

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