Proper governance of data has always been important. Now, with the dramatic increase in remote work, it’s absolutely critical.
Bad actors are everywhere, and their methods are constantly changing and becoming more sophisticated. This means any enterprise that doesn’t focus on instilling a culture of following good governance practices is at risk.
The good news is that there are steps every business can take to ensure their data is always secure. Even in the enterprise cloud, which at first blush may seem like a challenge to properly govern but in reality is extremely secure due to the fact they are managed by large organizations constantly monitoring and protecting their clouds.
Here are five disciplines every enterprise should follow when it comes to protecting data in the cloud.
1. Focus on standardization
Governance should be the foundation for everything your business does with data, and standardization is the key to ensuring good governance.
Every enterprise using data in the cloud needs to have standards in place for how they allow access, react to potential disruptions, and deploy workflows. These standards need to be followed—they’re not recommendations, but should be part of the workflow for any cloud asset deployment.
2. Make sure everyone follows the rules
Rogue team members or departments (often referred to as shadow IT) are a recipe for security breaches, so there needs to be a commitment throughout an enterprise to follow the agreed upon standards in place.
Governance standards can’t be treated as a recommendation from IT. Instead, they should be implemented as natural steps within all workflows that interact with the cloud.
3. Leverage cloud provider tools
Every enterprise cloud platform has its own suite of data security and monitoring tools. The tools are designed for the provider’s unique infrastructure and should be utilized whenever possible.
If you’re multi-cloud or looking to become so in the future, understanding and using the available tools for each platform is particularly important. They may be similar on the surface, but each has its own strengths—and learning curve—depending on the platform.
4. Audit regularly
Just because you’ve solidified your governance rules internally doesn’t mean the coast is clear. Governance is not something you can just set up and forget about.
In order to ensure data integrity is consistent, you should regularly audit your standards and procedures for access, recovery, and overall data security. This is particularly important for businesses experiencing growth, since breakdowns in governance are more likely to occur during scaling.
5. Understand your data and compliance needs
Before building out standards of governance for data in the cloud, enterprises need to thoroughly understand:
- The sources of their data
- What kind of data they have access to
- How that data is being used
- The global region that data will be stored
Additionally, they need to know their compliance requirements inside and out. Health care organizations, for example, will need to adhere to a number of strict privacy laws that will dictate the access and use of their data. These laws and compliance to them will also instruct how their governance is standardized.
In the end, lean into disruption
Adopting the cloud or going multi-cloud can be disruptive because traditional ways of working and keeping data secure are often completely upended.
While this can be challenging for many enterprises, it also presents an opportunity to adopt governance rules that both keep data secure and create efficiencies through things like automation.
By putting the work into developing strict governance rules, enterprises are able to spend less time on “keeping the lights on” and instead focus on what really matters: creating products and services for customers.
To learn more about the process of creating a culture of sound governance, visit our security and governance resource here.
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