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As digitisation has grown, the volume of data that businesses now deal with has only increased. Operating online means that you can collect more data, and digital databases make it easier to store more data. If you are not careful about managing your business’ data, you may find yourself running into problems. A data governance framework is an overarching set of guidelines or policies that dictate how you should handle your business’ data in line with prudent business practices and regulations. This article will explain how a data governance framework may function in your business and whether you need one.

Managing Data At Your Business

You will likely handle a wide variety of data at your business, which will depend on the kind of business you run and the industry you are in. For instance, such data may include:

  • business accounts;
  • asset records;
  • customer files;
  • personal information;
  • corporate structures and policies;
  • employee information;
  • transaction details;
  • contract records; or
  • intellectual property. 

This data can vary in form and can be either digital or hard copies. Nevertheless, some kinds of data will likely be more sensitive or important than others. As a result, you should take extra steps to manage and protect this information.

What Is a Data Governance Framework?

Data governance refers to how you handle data in line with:

  • legal obligations;
  • your business principles;
  • corporate policies; and
  • prudent business practices.

A data governance framework is the overarching set of principles, standards, and policies that establish certain practices for how you manage your business’ data. This applies to data across its lifespan at your business, from its collection to its disposal. Certainly, a centralised framework will pertain to various situations across your business that both your employees and upper management will follow.

For example, one of your privacy obligations as an agency is to collect personal information from its source. In your data governance framework, you would outline this as a norm you need to maintain in your business. Accordingly, when your staff collect personal information from your customers, they would strive to ensure it is the correct and direct source.

Does My Business Need One?

You likely will already have certain measures in place that serve as a data governance framework in your business. If your business handles large volumes of data and does not have specific policies or procedures to manage these data processes, you can quickly run into organisational issues. You want to make sure you adequately protect your business’ data and ensure you maintain data quality as well.

If your business deals with personal information, especially that of EU residents, you will have legal privacy obligations you need to meet. A framework can establish compliance procedures for you and your employees when handling data so that you know you are meeting these requirements. 

Your business will likely also have record-keeping obligations, depending on the industry you are in. If your systems are disorganised and inefficient, you may run into legal penalties if you need to undergo an audit. If you streamline your processes using a framework, you can offset such penalties.

A data governance framework can foster streamlined data management in your business. Benefits to implementing such a framework include:

  • more efficient decision-making based on quality data;
  • improved data security and protection against cyber-attacks;
  • comprehensive regulatory compliance;

  • more accurate data analytics; and
  • cost reduction through eliminating inefficient data processes.

What Does a Data Governance Framework Look Like?

This framework is a centralised set of procedures that apply to various scenarios when handling data at your business. This framework applies to the whole lifespan of data at your business, including:

  • collection;
  • storage;
  • security;
  • usage;
  • transformation;
  • distribution; and
  • disposal.

Build your framework from the ground up. Take note of what data you collect for your business and how you deal with it in your day to day operations. You want to make sure your framework is flexible and can adapt to your business needs as they change. All staff at your business are accountable for how they handle your business’ data, and your framework will help establish that accountability.

For instance, if you operate online you should establish rules that apply for when your staff collect and store digital information. In this case, this could mean only collecting clients’ personal information over an encrypted connection and implementing a strong password policy. Moreover, your framework will also detail the software and technology you use for these purposes.

Key Takeaways

If you handle large volumes of information and data sets in your business, it can be a good idea to have a data governance framework. Having a centralised and overarching set of guidelines or principles can ensure you handle data assets efficiently and securely. Most importantly, it can help to ensure you comply with your legal obligations as a business. If you would like more information or help with your business’ data governance framework, contact LegalVision’s IT lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is data governance?

Data governance refers to how you manage your business’ data assets in line with any legal obligations you have, as well as any corporate policies. This can include privacy and recordkeeping obligations.

What is a data governance framework?

A data governance framework is a centralised and overarching set of policies or norms that dictate how you should manage data within your business.

Does my business need a data governance framework?

If you need to keep track of a lot of data assets within your business, it can be a good idea to have a data governance framework. A data governance framework can help streamline and organise your data quality systems.

What does a data governance framework include?

A data governance framework details what happens to business data across its lifespan. This could include guidelines surrounding methods of data collection or security norms that you maintain within your business.

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