A common misconception among c-level executives is that governance and management of data is the same thing other than in capital letters.
Yet, there are some crucial differences between these two terms that should be understood before working on a project or implementing a program.
Below, we will explore the main differences between Data Management and Data Governance, as well as offer examples of what each term means in practice.
Data Management and Data Governance: Definitions First
When most people think of databases, they think of data management. The IT industry defines data management as the implementation of strategies to make sure that data is available to the right users at the right time for the right tasks. The idea is that managers have access to only the information they need in order to make sound decisions.
Data governance, meanwhile, is a corporate-level initiative concerned with processes and controls that ensure sound management of all enterprise data. This includes how different business units are using it and how it is safeguarded from improper use or access by unauthorized individuals.
Data Management and Data Governance: The Intersection
While the two roles are distinct, it is important to note that data management and governance sometimes intersect. For instance, a business unit might have a request for more information or data from its senior management. In such a case, it is the data management team’s responsibility to facilitate that access. They must ensure that users accessing the data are given only those privileges they require and are role-based. This way, they will not be able to access or modify more than what they need for their assigned job purposes. Likewise, there will be controls put in place to restrict access even further if needed.
Lastly, data management and data governance can work in tandem. In this case, a business unit might want to gather more information from its systems that is not readily available for analysis or reporting. For this, it will get involved with the data security team to ensure that only authorized users have the necessary access to gather this data.
Data Management vs Data Governance: A Brief Comparison
The need to govern data is evident in the era of big data.
So, what is the difference between data governance and data management? The first point to consider is that general managers are responsible for both data management and governance. Although they may not be in charge of the day-to-day operations or setup of an organization’s database, they still have to make sure that there is a system in place for safeguarding their enterprise’s data. A second key difference involves the types of duties associated with each.
Data governance is concerned with the oversight and processing of all enterprise data, while data management is mostly concerned with the storage and retrieval of certain types of information. In addition, responsibility for data management often falls to individuals other than the business unit managers. For instance, in a corporation that uses legacy data systems developed before the Internet era, a middle manager or database administrator (DBA) might be responsible for managing the system. They must ensure all parts function properly and any potential security threats are addressed.
Therefore, it is more accurate to consider what a company’s strategy for its database as a whole is rather than just understanding or categorizing its specific tools or processes. This is why while some companies will consider data governance and management a part of their overall information strategy, others will have different divisions that focus on one or the other. For instance, a financial institution might employ traders to handle market data and investment analysts to handle customer transactional data.
The data management process is also very dependent on the size of an organization. For example, a small business with only one office does not need a specific initiative for safeguarding its database from internal threats. Instead, it can do so with a security plan and strong password requirements for its employees. In comparison, a large corporation such as Microsoft with several offices around the globe might have a specific person in charge of the database’s security. This individual could also be responsible for maintaining consistently high levels of service and performing audits to monitor internal practices on behalf of senior management.
The other difference between data governance and data management is that specific people are usually in charge of both roles. A business unit manager might oversee data governance, while a DBA or administrator will take care of data management duties. However, these roles can overlap as well. For instance, although it might not be their primary responsibility, both the DBA and business unit manager will have to coordinate with their respective teams when making changes or implementing new programs that will impact enterprise data.
In today’s information-driven society, many companies are realizing how important it is to have good records of their data. This is why they understand why data governance and management are important and are willing to allocate staff to overseeing the operations of their database. Because of this, they are finding ways to better position themselves for success in the changing business environment by implementing the right strategy.
So, what does all this mean? It means that while many systems will rely on different hardware components (such as large databases) for storing their data, it is never too late to develop a plan for ensuring data security in your organization.