Data Catalogs and Data Governance

Data Catalogs and Data Governance: 4 Steps to Control and Protect Sensitive Data

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Data Catalogs and Data Governance: 4 Steps to Control and Protect Sensitive Data

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A data catalog is a tool that puts metadata at your fingertips. Remember libraries? The card catalog puts all the information about a book in a physical or virtual index, such as its author, location, category, size (in pages), and the date published. You can find a similar search tool or index in an online music or video service. The catalog gives you all the essentials about the thing or data, but it is not the data itself. Some catalogs do not provide any measure of protection other than passive alerts and logs. Even basic access controls and data masking can shift the burden to data owners and operators. Coding access controls in a database puts more stress on the DBAs. Solutions requiring copying sensitive data into a proprietary database still expose the original data. These steps also don’t stop credentialed access threats: system admins can still access sensitive customer data. They can accidentally delete the asset. If credentials get lost or stolen, anyone can steal the data or cause other harm to your business. Data classifiers and catalogs are valuable, no doubt about it. But they’re not governance. They can’t fulfill requests for access, track, or constrain them. When it comes to data catalogs and data governance, you must address a broad spectrum of access and security issues, including:


You can’t give everyone the skeleton key to your valuable data; you must limit access to sensitive data for specific users.


If you cannot track individual data consumption, it will be nearly impossible to maintain an audit trail and share it for compliance.


How do you ensure that the policies you set up are implemented correctly? Do you have to hand them off to another team to execute? Or do you have to write and maintain the code-based controls yourself?


As data grows in volume and value, you’ll see more demand from users to access it. You must also ensure the governance doesn’t impede efficiency, performance, or the user experience. Controlling access can’t grind everything to a halt.


Sensitive data must be secure; it’s the law virtually everywhere. Governance must ensure confidential data receives the maximum security available wherever it is. Companies need visibility into who consumes the data, when, and how much. They must see both baseline activity and out-of-the-norm spikes. And they must take the next crucial step into holistic data security that limits the potential damage of credentialed access threats.  

Data Catalogs and Data Governance: 4 Steps to Control and Protect Sensitive Data

When it’s all said and done, data governance must be easy to implement and scale for companies as part of their responsibility to collect, store, and protect sensitive data. Bridging the gap in security and access can help you comply with applicable regulations worldwide while ensuring protection for the most valuable assets. When it comes to data catalogs and data governance you can follow these four steps to control access and deliver protection over sensitive data:

1. Integrate your data governance tools with an automated policy enforcement engine with patented security.

The data governance solution should provide security that can be hands-free, require no code to implement, and focus on the original data (not a copy) to ensure only the people who should have access do. This means consumption limits and thresholds where abnormal usage triggers an alert to halt access in real-time. Tokenizing the most critical and valuable data prevents theft and misuse. These controls help admins stop insider threats and allow continued access to sensitive data without risking it.

Data Catalogs and Data Governance

2. Set your policies once and automate implementation to reduce manual errors and risk.  

You can eliminate tedious and manual configuration of access policies to save time and ensure consistent enforcement. Automation lets you control access by user role or database row and audit every instance. These policies restrict access and limit what users can see and analyze within the database. The ability to track and report reporting on every model of access makes it easy to comply with regulatory requests.

3. Enable self-service data requests to speed up data access.

Automated access controls let admins provide continued access to sensitive data, apply masking policies, and stop credentialed access threats for thousands of end users without putting the data at risk. Data teams can move at speed required by the business yet be restricted to accessing only the data sets they’re authorized to view. For instance, you can prevent an employee based in France from seeing local data meant only for Germans. You can also avoid commingling data that originated from multiple sources or regions. This allows you to foster collaboration and sharing with greater confidence in security and privacy measures.

4. Scale your data access control and policy enforcement as the use and uses of data grow throughout your business.

The scope of data access requests today within enterprises has reached a level that requires advanced automation. Some enterprises may have scanned and catalogued thousands of databases, even more. Data governance solutions should quickly implement and manage access for thousands of users to match. Features like rate-limiting stipulate the length or amount of access, such as seeing a small sample for a brief period for anyone who isn’t the intended consumer, like the catalog admin—scaling policy thresholds as needed allows you to optimize collaboration while stopping data theft or accidental exposure. You can limit access regardless of the user group size or data set.  

Modern and Simple Data Governance

Modern data organizations are moving to simplify data governance by bringing visibility to their data and seeking to understand what they have. However, data governance doesn’t stop once you catalog your data. That’s like indexing a vast collection of books or songs but letting no one read or listen to the greatest hits. You should grant access to sensitive data but do so efficiently to not interfere with your day job and effectively comply with regulations and policy. Integrating a data catalog with an automated policy enforcement engine is the right strategy. You’ll gain the complete package, with a governance policy that is easy to implement and enforce, access controls that focus on the original sensitive data, and detailed records of every data request and usage. Managing enterprise data governance at scale lets, you use data securely to add value faster, turning the proverbial oil into jet fuel for your organization’s growth.  

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