Many fail to realize it, but for a vast majority, a company’s most valuable asset is their data. That’s right. Data. Information. At its very core, binary code. Data is at the core of virtually every operation. Customer data. Sales and financial data. Machinery and equipment data output. Inventory. Records and documents.
Data makes the business world go round, making daily operations possible. This information is also essential for sound, data-driven decision-making. In fact, most operations would grind to a screeching halt if their data was suddenly unavailable or worse, corrupted. Unfortunately, poor data governance is a commonplace problem and it represents a major risk to companies both large and small. Just imagine what would happen if your ecommerce platform was suddenly without all of its inventory and sales data. You would have no idea of what products were in stock and fulfilling orders would be impossible. Or what if a power plant lost its turbine data feeds; this would make it impossible to operate this equipment in a safe, efficient manner.
Poor data governance is a common cause of problems within the risk management realm. But fortunately, there are some measures that can be implemented to help minimize the chances of seeing data loss, data corruption or issues with data access. The solution: data risk management services.
What Are Data Risk Management Services?
Data risk management services are a comprehensive solution that is designed to provide organizations with the strategy and resources they need to establish good data governance practices — practices that serve to minimize risk factors and vulnerabilities.
A data risk management service provider will begin by getting acquainted with the organization, its operations, its risk factors, and the dynamics that surround those risk factors. The latter is essential because effective risk mitigation (and risk avoidance, for that matter) is critical for the development of a successful risk mitigation plan and long-term risk management strategy.
To avoid poor data governance, a comprehensive evaluation is essential. This serves as an opportunity to identify data governance problem areas, which can then be addressed. Data risk management consultants will examine factors such as the following.
- Data management practices – Data management is a comprehensive issue to address, but it is an extremely important component of a good data governance strategy. Your data risk management consultant will evaluate the overall approach to collecting, storing and utilizing data within your organization, identifying problem areas, recommending solutions and implementing best practices.
- Data collection practices – How is data collected and transferred to a database, data silo, cloud storage platform? Is the data synced to other platforms? These are all issues that a data risk management consultant will evaluate to identify security risks and threats to the data integrity. Something as simple as a faulty data sync setting can lead to a corrupted data set that renders this information useless — if it’s even detected, which is another risk factor to consider. Data migration poses many dangers to data integrity too, making this another issue that must be addressed by your risk management expert.
- Data access – The issue of who accesses your data and what information they’re accessing is significant. Best practice is to provide the least number of people with the minimum amount of access required to perform their job. More access translates into greater vulnerability. Therefore, it is important to evaluate data access and make adjustments to permissions to minimize the number of people who are accessing this information.
- Data storage methods – How is your data being stored? What levels of encryption are being utilized? Do you have backups of your mission-critical data? How often are those backups generated? You can invest significant amounts of time and money into refining your data governance practices, but it’s all for naught if your data storage methods are lacking. A data risk management consultant can evaluate your data storage and backup strategy to ensure you have implemented the latest best practices.
- Data backups – Data backups are critical. You need to know that your data can be restored if it is suddenly corrupted, held hostage due to ransomware or otherwise impacted in an adverse manner. But not all data backup solutions are equal. In fact, your configuration could be all wrong, resulting in a backup that’s virtually useless or inaccessible when the need arises. A data risk management service provider will evaluate your backup configuration and strategy, recommending better governance practices when necessary.
- Data analytics and reporting – Many companies are reliant upon data analytics and reporting — and that’s for good reason because data-driven decision-making is widely regarded as the best approach. Plus, these insights can be leveraged in some innovative ways to improve a business and its operations. That said, it is not uncommon to see inefficiencies and issues that arise as data is accessed and utilized for analytics and reporting. A risk management consultant will have the experience and knowledge required to achieve an ideal configuration.
- Security and encryption – Data stores are commonly targeted by cyber criminals using ransomware and even hacking. Data risk management services offer a great resource for those who need an evaluation of their database security, encryption, and other measures impacting vulnerability. Cybercriminals are perpetually evolving their tactics and ransomware, making this one aspect of data governance that should be re-evaluated on a continual, recurring basis.
An experienced data risk management services provider will provide valuable insights into a company’s data governance practices and what areas can be improved in a manner that will minimize vulnerability. The end result is risk reduction, a plan for mitigation, and a strategy for good data governance that can be leveraged well into the future.
Data risk management is one area of expertise at iTech. We provide innovative enterprise risk management solutions, including technology and consulting. Reach out to the iTech team today and we’ll discuss your data governance situation and how we can develop a solid data risk management approach that will give you peace of mind.