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How to optimize data storage governance

Data governance manages the availability, usability, integrity and security of data. Follow these best practices for governance as it relates to data storage.

Storage governance is increasingly critical as organizations face more data privacy regulations and use analytics to help improve IT operations and business.

Governance initiatives had focused on structured data stored in relational databases, but the process has become more complex. Structured, unstructured and semistructured data are all part of storage governance now, so it's crucial to have a comprehensive strategy.

Why data storage governance is important

Organizations are dependent on data, databases, big data, applications and other information resources, so an approved program to protect and manage data resources is essential. Data storage governance provides an understanding of how organizations create, use, authorize, secure, protect, maintain, store, archive and destroy data.

A data storage governance policy is the first step to achieve a secure storage environment. The policy is the starting point for defining governance procedures and additional policies, such as data storage, cloud storage, data privacy, data protection and data management. These policies are important audit evidence because they establish controls that govern data storage operations.

9 best practices for data storage governance

There are several ways organizations can optimize their storage governance, such as with management support and policy training. Best practices include the following:

  1. Understand how to establish and manage storage, and obtain ongoing support from senior management.
  2. Comprehend the government regulations the organization must follow to achieve compliance. Comply with data storage and data management standards. These are audit considerations.
  3. Establish an overall policy for data storage governance, which the organization can supplement with additional policies for data storage management, data privacy, data protection and other issues. The policy can also define the overall data storage strategy for the organization. Document procedures for all aspects of data storage. Both policies and procedures are important audit items.
  4. Periodically review and vet data storage governance activities to ensure their relevance and effectiveness. Conduct a periodic risk analysis of data storage activities to ensure that the governance program has identified risks, threats and vulnerabilities.
  5. Periodically train and retrain employees who regularly use storage technologies on the proper procedures. New employees should receive training on the proper storage procedures during onboarding.
  6. Establish IT auditing activities to ensure the organization follows data storage controls correctly and those controls are appropriate for the business's requirements. The storage strategy, which ideally is embedded in the storage governance policy, helps define the controls.
  7. Go beyond technology with storage governance. Identify how data storage supports strategic intelligence requirements and ensures that employee resources are available as part of establishing and maintaining customer loyalty.
  8. Regularly communicate with senior IT and company management to reinforce the value of data storage programs and to report on the program's success and how it aligns with goals and objectives.
  9. Establish a team to support the data storage governance program. Members can include technicians, data quality technicians, a chief data officer, and advocates or stewards from key divisions and departments that promote governance activities.

Overcome challenges to data storage governance

Establish senior management support and a thorough understanding of how data storage helps the firm achieve its goals. These two items greatly help overcome any resistance to a storage governance program.

Supplement the above achievements with documented and approved policies and procedures for data storage governance. Once approved, circulate them among all employees so they are aware of the program and comply with the policies. Schedule training on the data storage governance program soon after it launches. Set up refresher training as needed.

Periodically review the data storage governance program to keep the program current and aligned with the organization's requirements. Risk assessments help to identify and mitigate any potentially disruptive issues. In addition to program reviews, periodically test and validate storage procedures to ensure everything is working.

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