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TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

The End of the "Wild West" of Information Sharing

As organizations support data governance and privacy as they migrate to the cloud, watch these three data management approaches.

Freedom of information has been embedded in the philosophy of data access since the advent of the internet. However, as a society we have learned that freedom of access to information comes at a price -- data can now be accessed and manipulated by the unscrupulous for their own purposes of identity theft, (illegal) monetary gain, propaganda, misinformation, and politicization. Citizens and governments around the world are now aware of the truth of the problem and are seeking measures to curb the abuse of available data and enacting privacy and compliance regulations to protect and secure data.

For Further Reading:

The Path to Protecting Privacy

CEO Perspective: Data Privacy

Executive Perspective: Privacy Ops Meets DataOps

In 2021, the reality of possible data leakage and data misuse will spur enterprises around the world to initiate data management approaches that will end the wild west of information sharing. As organizations look to implement new approaches to support data governance and privacy as they migrate to the cloud, we anticipate the following data management approaches in the coming year.

Approach #1: To end the Wild West, organizations need new approaches to data governance because all data can become personally identifiable

In 2021, regulatory legislation around the world will move towards increased control of personally identifiable information (PII) data to safeguard consumer privacy. Countries are increasingly following the lead of the EU with the GDPR, as seen with the recent regulations for CCPA in California and LGPD in Brazil.

The latest coronavirus data, combined with the manually and bot-assisted dissemination of information and misinformation based on personal data leveraged out of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, portends the end of the Wild West of personal information on the internet and will begin a new era of consumer privacy.

To end this Wild West of information, organizations need new approaches to data governance. More specifically, organizations need to expand data privacy measures because all data can potentially become PII. The sheer volume and accessibility of data overall enables anyone to connect every piece of data to another, turning it into PII. In the past, as long as personal data (such as name, contact info, race, religious beliefs, and political opinions) was anonymized it was considered acceptable for privacy compliance regulations.

That's no longer the case. Now that it is increasingly easy to recreate an individual's personal profile from digital data, all enterprise data has the potential to qualify as sensitive data and will fall under data governance regulations for encryption and other security measures to ensure data privacy. In fact, 2021 will be the year that data governance becomes a mainstream project for every enterprise.

Approach #2: Organizations will learn to navigate the perfect storm of data privacy and cloud migration

Compounding the problem of managing digital data is the migration of data to the cloud. Cloud increases business agility but also expands the perimeter of enterprise data vulnerable to external attacks. The combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in cloud infrastructure will create the perfect storm for data governance and compliance in 2021.

Organizations will initiate projects in the new year to ensure secure data migration to the cloud --i.e., encryption of all data required by the enterprise data governance team before their IT or data teams are allowed data to be moved from on premises to the cloud.

In 2021, data governance will become an ever more prevalent topic for CIOs, CISOs, and CDOs to ensure responsible use and availability of cloud data.

Approach #3: Automation will be necessary to ensure privacy and security of data

To support these new and extensive data management approaches, enterprises will need to thoughtfully and strategically coordinate across multiple enterprise teams to ensure consistent and scalable data security measures. In 2021, organizations will finally look for competitive advantages from data driven operations while managing it without compromising the security and privacy of the enterprise data itself.

The sheer volume and scale of enterprise data that enables the Wild West of information sharing creates new headaches for enterprise IT, privacy, and security teams. These teams must corral all the data and still enable data analytics teams to drive the next-best decision, yet the objective cannot be accomplished with existing tools. Existing on-premises tools will not easily support multiple cloud storage and analytics systems in play today. Existing manual processes are not sustainable for such all-encompassing regulatory requirements, and continuing to enable the Wild West of information sharing will no longer be an option in the new year.

In 2021, enterprises will be responsible for protecting data from the unscrupulous and will need to adhere to new data privacy regulations, both to protect their business relationships with their customers and maintain legal compliance. To achieve this, enterprises will re-evaluate existing data management processes and turn to automation options that can scale to the volume, velocity, and variety of data that will be deemed sensitive and private within their keeping.

About the Author

Balaji Ganesan is CEO and co-founder of both Privacera, the cloud data governance and security leader, and XA Secure, acquired by Hortonworks. He is an Apache Ranger committer and member of its project management committee (PMC). To learn more visit or follow the company on Twitter.

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