In the race toward data-driven success, enterprises are investing significant time and resources building the right infrastructure, migrating data to the cloud, implementing analytics tools, and ensuring data accuracy and security. However, many organizations face a common hurdle — empowering their employees and customers to access and utilize data effectively, without compromising data security and compliance.
A significant challenge that data-driven organizations face is enabling their workforce to effectively leverage collected data. It is critical to implement data enablement strategies that empower employees to access, analyze, and utilize data to inform decision-making. Without these, even the most data-minded enterprises can stumble, hindering their ability to fully leverage data assets into productive outcomes.
Even companies that invest significant time and resources establishing the necessary data foundations may lose momentum and overlook the critical aspects of data enablement and data access. Whether the oversight is due to technical challenges, lack of leadership, or insufficient data governance, this can lead to several issues:
- Without proper data enablement, organizations may unknowingly restrict data access, leading to siloed decision-making and missed opportunities for collaboration and innovation.
- The lack of robust data access controls and user-friendly tools can hinder employees' ability to extract valuable insights and limit their data-driven decision-making capabilities.
- Data quality and integrity issues can surface, particularly when there are unclear governance and accountability frameworks. These inaccuracies and inconsistencies can undermine analyses and impede data utilization.
- Ineffective (or nonexistent) data access control strategies can lead to security gaps including over-authorization and over-privilege, which make a company more susceptible to data breaches and other threats.
- The absence of a data-driven culture and inadequate data literacy programs further exacerbates the preceding challenges and creates a gap between available data and the skills needed to leverage it best.
Neglecting data enablement and data access jeopardizes the full potential of data assets and inhibits organizations from achieving the desired business outcomes. However, organizations can take several steps to prioritize data enablement and ensure accessibility to all relevant stakeholders, regardless of their technical expertise.
First, organizations can invest in user-friendly data visualization tools and self-service platforms that empower users to interact with and explore data intuitively, without requiring extensive technical knowledge. These tools enable stakeholders to easily derive insights, generate reports, and make data-backed decisions.
Additionally, building a culture of data sharing and collaboration is essential. By establishing open channels for communication and knowledge exchange, organizations encourage cross-functional teams to work together, leveraging diverse perspectives to extract meaningful insights from data. Comprehensive data literacy programs can provide training and resources to enhance employees' understanding of data access and analysis techniques. This bridges the technical knowledge gap and equips stakeholders with the necessary skills to find and interpret data effectively.
Lastly, it is crucial to establish suitable data access controls and security protocols to ensure that data remains readily available to those who require it for their tasks while preventing it from falling into the wrong hands. A recommended approach is to use automated access controls that do not rely on manual granting and revoking of data access. Automated access controls use predefined security policies that grant data access to employees based on their roles, business context, and specific data usage requirements for a defined period of time. At the end of this time period, authorization is automatically revoked. Employing additional security measures, such as encryption, backup, and recovery procedures, provide an extra layer of protection against unauthorized access, tampering, or loss of data.
Ultimately, prioritizing data enablement and accessibility across the organization creates a secure environment where stakeholders at all levels can actively contribute to informed decision-making and drive success without compromising data security and compliance.
Crossing the Finish Line
This simple three-step framework can help organizations establish a successful data enablement strategy. These steps are meant to establish data governance and ownership, enhance data infrastructure and accessibility, and promote data literacy among employees.
Step 1: Setting the Course — Establishing Data Governance & Ownership
- Define clear data governance policies and procedures to ensure data accuracy, integrity, and security.
- Identify data owners and establish accountability for data quality and accessibility.
- Implement data classification and data security policies to determine who can access and modify data based on roles and responsibilities.
Step 2: Strengthening the Track — Enhancing Data Infrastructure & Accessibility
- Invest in robust data management tools that enable efficient data storage, retrieval, and sharing.
- Implement data integration solutions to consolidate and centralize data from various sources.
- Leverage user-friendly interfaces and self-service capabilities to empower users with easy access to insights.
Step 3: Training for Success — Promoting Data Literacy & Training
- Develop comprehensive data literacy programs to enhance employees' understanding of data access protocols and analysis techniques.
- Provide ongoing training and resources to keep employees updated on the latest data-related advancements.
- Foster a culture of continuous learning and collaboration, encouraging knowledge sharing to leverage data effectively.
Adopting such an approach, organizations can position themselves to clear hurdles, grow stronger, and successfully cross the data finish line, unlocking the complete potential of their most valuable asset.
About the Author:
Ben Herzberg is the Chief Scientist of Satori Cyber. The Satori data security platform seamlessly integrates into any environment to automate access controls and deliver complete data-flow visibility utilizing activity-based discovery and classification. Prior to Satori, Ben was the Director of Threat Research at Imperva, leading teams of data scientists and security researchers in the field of application and data security.