No matter how data literate you are, though, or how ethically your organization uses customer data, data governance is still extremely important to you. And it will become even more important soon.
Why is that?
Privacy, Productivity, & Darkness: Tales from Your Organization’s Data Crypts
You can’t have data privacy without good data governance
Let’s say you’re an organization deeply committed to responsible capitalism–you don’t sell user data, and you try to structure your product to legitimately benefit your consumer.
That said, you’re still collecting an awful lot of personal information–information that could be leaked by a careless or disgruntled employee. Without good data governance, you can’t even catch that, let alone prevent it.
But what is good data governance? In this case, good data governance is keeping track of your data, at all steps of the process–including who accesses it, modifies it, and how often they do so. Data governance is necessary to operate an organization ethically, but for some, this isn’t enough.
Luckily for those people, data governance can reduce operational risk as well.
How is that? We need to talk about dark data.
Dark data is dangerous & expensive
Dark data is the organization your data generates but doesn’t track.
Most of this data is unstructured, and broadly includes things like query logs, machine sensor data, & random garbage that made it into production with TODO: FIX ME written all over it.
The concern is that any data you & don’t know about will automatically weaken your security & compliance position. Especially in light of the GDRP and CCPA, protecting data privacy means that you can’t afford not to shine a light on dark data.
Good data governance is more productive
Although there are certainly fixed costs & overhead associated with implementing data governance, the alternative is to allow your data warehouse to devolve into a data swamp.
Data governance allows you to identify & cull variance-without-value, which in turn helps your engineers stay productive.
Good data governance also helps you keep your data only as long as it as valuable to you. It can also simplify your onboarding & reduce synchronization costs & cognitive load.
You may be wondering, ‘How do I implement data governance at my startup?’
It’s an excellent question. I’ll be sharing more thoughts about that soon. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out a few of my other blog posts that may help. In particular, make sure you check out: