Demands for data privacy continue to grow. GDPR is in effect, California is about to impose its own privacy regulations, and other states as well as the federal government are reviewing potential new laws. These demands make data governance a key function for every business, but the switch to cloud computing makes it more difficult for businesses to monitor and manage their data usage.

Challenges of Data Governance in the Cloud

The biggest challenge to data governance in the cloud is that it’s simply difficult to keep track of where data is stored and where and how it is being used. The systems in the cloud change dynamically and rapidly, with new resources easily brought online without going through a formal review process. Multicloud can separate data from its applications, making them harder to protect consistently. Shadow IT heavily uses the cloud without any oversight at all. In addition, having multiple cloud providers or a mix of cloud and on premises systems makes it hard to apply policies consistently across all data locations.

The Non-Technical Aspects of Data Governance

Tools can help address these issues, and we’ll talk about them in a minute. But before rushing into technology selection, it’s important to address non-technical issues.

The ROI of data governance isn’t self-evident. In order to get the resources needed to implement effective data governance, plan to put together a case that will get senior management’s support. The costs include regulatory, legal, and reputational risks due to inappropriate data exposure. There are also potential business costs, as improper data governance means employees may be using outdated or invalid data to make business decisions.

Once you’ve got senior management on board, you need to get the rest of the enterprise on board, too. The entire organization needs to develop a culture that understands the importance of data—collecting it, verifying it, storing it, and using it in ways that meet legal responsibilities as well as enhance your business. This is largely a matter of training and then ongoing reminders for employees to think about what they’re doing with data.

Technology to Support Data Governance in the Cloud

Technology can help support employees in their efforts to practice safe data handling in the cloud.

Cloud monitoring tools can help you track changes in your cloud resources, allowing you to ensure new applications and new databases are managed in accordance with governance policies. A cloud access security broker (CASB) tracks data usage in the cloud and allows you to place restrictions on its distribution. The suite of products from Veritas allow you to implement data governance that stretches from your data center to the cloud.

Contact VAST IT Services to learn more about how you can implement data governance policies that span your IT infrastructure, no matter how many clouds you use.

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