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6 Data Governance Principles Corporate Leaders Should Apply in 2023

The amount of data that corporations must manage is larger now than it has ever been—and the growth trend shows no signs of slowing down. Data is essential to corporate operations and growth, but overseeing and protecting it can feel like a Sisyphean task.

How can corporate leaders ensure that their organizations stay on top of their data and minimize the risks of overaccumulation or security breaches?

In the same way that a clear understanding of corporate values can provide unwavering guidance in tough times, a set of defined data governance principles can help organizations keep their data in check. Data governance principles provide a framework for maintaining data quality and security even as data volumes skyrocket.

In this post, we’ll explain what data governance principles are and why they are crucial for corporate success. Then, we’ll share our top six data governance principles that corporate leaders should know in 2023 along with a few best practices for implementing those principles. Finally, we’ll review how modern technology can help corporations simplify their data governance processes.


What are data governance principles?
Why are data governance principles essential for corporate success?
Top 6 data governance principles for 2023
Best practices for implementing data governance principles
Modern technology can help you simplify data governance


What are data governance principles?

Data governance principles are standards for how an organization collects, labels, stores, tracks, and manages its data. Effective data governance involves applying these principles at each stage of a data set’s lifecycle to maximize value, prevent data loss and unintended disclosure, and evaluate ongoing usefulness so that outdated data can be deleted.

Data governance is a subset of information governance, which is a set of rules and policies that dictates how an organization handles its stored information. Data governance outlines a framework for the more technical aspects of data management, whereas information governance takes a higher-level approach that emphasizes business strategy, compliance, and risk management.

Sound data governance principles can help improve corporate data quality and security and eliminate excessive and irrelevant data. How does this advance a corporation’s business interests? We’ll explain that in more detail below.


Why are data governance principles essential for corporate success?

Data governance principles are critical for corporate success because they help corporations use and store data in a way that maintains its value and reduces the risks associated with it.

Effective and efficient data governance makes data more accessible, traceable, and secure. Therefore, proper implementation of data governance principles can advance a corporation’s business interests by improving productivity, reducing costs, and increasing compliance. This improves the business’s overall success by:

  • saving employees time that they otherwise would have spent searching for relevant data,
  • increasing legal and regulatory compliance and avoiding proceedings and fines,
  • protecting a corporation’s public image, and
  • preventing reputational damage and potential loss of business due to poor data management.

Let’s turn to a few specific data governance principles that can help you achieve these outcomes.


Top 6 data governance principles for 2023

Having a comprehensive set of clear, realistic data governance principles can save your corporation’s bottom line and reputation. While there is no one-size-fits-all set of data governance principles that every corporation must adopt, the following six principles would make an outstanding start for any business looking to enhance its data governance practices in 2023.

  1. Awareness

Knowledge about your corporation’s data is essential for proper data governance. You should know how much data your corporation has, what kinds of data it has, the purpose of each type of data, where each type of data is stored, what level of security various data types require, and how long data should be stored before deletion. This level of awareness requires you to search, analyze, and take inventory of your corporation’s data on a regular basis.

Awareness is especially important when it comes to your corporation’s sensitive data, as that data requires a higher level of security. By implementing stricter controls for your corporation’s sensitive data, you can reduce the risk of a damaging data breach or non-compliance with data privacy laws and regulations.

Speaking of data security and compliance, you should also know what laws and regulations apply to your data stores and what can happen if you fail to comply with their requirements.

  1. Transparency

The success of your data governance plan depends on what your employees do with the data they handle. Therefore, once you’ve created a data governance plan, you should share it with your employees. Successful data governance requires a holistic, organization-wide approach that demands transparency across your organization.

You can further demonstrate internal transparency by documenting all data governance decisions and actions. This documentation can help you learn from past mistakes and protect your corporation if you experience a data breach, lawsuit, investigation, or other regulatory action.

Transparency influences external perceptions and your customers too. To foster public trust, you should be open about what data your corporation collects, the purposes for which you collect that data, who engages with the data, and where your corporation stores its data.

  1. Data quality

Data should be accurate, complete, consistent, reliable, and timely. This concept is known as data quality. Maintaining the quality and integrity of your corporation’s data should be a primary goal of data governance. After all, your corporation uses its data to strategize and make important business decisions; you should be using the best possible data to do so.

Ensure data quality by setting organization-wide data quality rules and standards. These standards should outline what data quality means to your corporation and what metrics you will use to measure and record it.

  1. Responsibility

Responsibility and accountability are integral parts of any corporation’s data governance processes.

Traditionally, your information technology (IT) department would be responsible for managing your corporation’s data. But now that most—if not all—of your employees deal with data on a daily basis, employees throughout your organization must see themselves as the stewards of your data.

So, who is responsible for what data? That is something you will need to decide. You can delegate data responsibility by defining data sets, identifying stewards throughout your organization, defining their specific responsibilities regarding their department’s data, and holding them accountable if issues arise.

  1. Collaboration

Interdepartmental collaboration is critical for data governance. By giving employees from different departments the chance to discuss your data governance principles and help each other solve problems, you can maximize efficiency and ensure consistency throughout your organization.

Collaboration can also give you valuable information about how your corporation’s data governance process is going and whether you need to adjust your policies or expectations.

The best way to facilitate routine collaboration is by establishing a data governance council comprised of leaders from each of your corporation’s main departments.

  1. Standardized rules and regulations

Effective data governance requires you to implement and enforce a defined set of rules and regulations governing data quality, security, and compliance. Standardization helps prevent confusion regarding data usage and ensures consistency between departments.

If you establish a data governance council, as mentioned above, its members can establish these rules and regulations according to your data governance principles and any applicable laws and regulations. Then, they can monitor each department and make sure each respective data steward enforces the rules and regulations.

Once you have identified the data governance principles, rules, and regulations you wish to adopt, the next step is implementation. We’ll discuss best practices for implementing data governance principles below.


Best practices for implementing data governance principles 

Even with strong data governance principles in place, data governance itself can be a monumental task. To implement a strong data governance process throughout your organization, you should:

  • memorialize your data governance principles, rules, and regulations in a single guide for your employees’ reference;
  • approach data governance as an ongoing practice, not a time-limited project, and continue to apply data governance principles throughout the lifetime of your data;
  • be prepared to update your data governance process to accommodate changes in your business model, your data needs, the platforms you use, and applicable laws and regulations;
  • use metrics to track your data, re-evaluating and adjusting your data governance process as needed; and
  • leverage modern technology and automate as many data governance processes as you can.

Let’s take a closer look at how modern technology can make data governance more efficient.


Modern technology can help you simplify data governance

Modern technology can simplify and streamline the data governance process, ultimately making your business more profitable as a result.

For example, ZyLAB ONE is an eDiscovery platform that allows you to search, review, and analyze data in place in a fraction of the time it would take to perform manual review. It also allows you to easily categorize and organize data sets, deduplicate data, and securely share data with others. The platform can handle large volumes of data and different types of data stored across multiple repositories, saving your corporation time and money.

To learn more about ZyLAB and ZyLAB ONE, schedule a meeting or demonstration.