A black and white drawing of a rock formation.

Data governance is a cohesive strategy that ensures that an organization is handling data properly. Data governance is a program that defines how data is managed throughout an organization, such as establishing data handling policies, determining data management responsibilities, and deciding how the data should be used. 

Data governance vs. data management

Data management is a broad term that refers to all of the data practices and data-related controls within an organization. Data governance is an aspect of data management that focuses on creating organization-wide policies for what data is brought in, what’s done with it, and when and how that data is disposed of. It also involves defining roles and responsibilities for data management.

What are the components of a data governance program?

Your data governance program needs to account for three things:

  1. People: Who is responsible for what data
  2. Processes: Policies for how your data is used and managed
  3. Technology: Tools you use to store and manage data and for data oversight

Your data governance program should be tailored to your organization’s needs, the data you work with, and other details. However, these components are often included in an effective data governance program:

Data governance components

  • Policy creation: Develop and implement policies for data handling and data privacy, such as policies for data deletion requests.
  • Roles and responsibilities: Specify who in your organization is responsible for which types of data or aspects of your data practices.
  • Program goals and assessments: Determine objectives for your data governance program and metrics to monitor its success.
  • Technology: Select tools that are used to maintain, manage, and track data.

{{cta_withimage1}}

Who is responsible for data governance?

A core part of data governance is establishing accountability and determining who is responsible for which parts of the data governance plan. This will depend on your organization’s structure, but typically there are several stakeholders who create and oversee data governance:

  • Chief data officer: The head of data governance who is responsible for ensuring its performance and adherence.
  • Data protection officer: Person named in your GDPR compliance as the individual responsible for processing and managing data in compliance with GDPR. This is often the chief data officer or other leader in charge of data governance.
  • Data governance committee: Select organization leaders and representatives who collaborate with the CDO to make policies and other data management decisions.
  • Data governance team: Specialists who implement, monitor, and continuously manage the data governance program.
  • Privacy analysts or specialists: Staff responsible for specific data sets and are tasked with implementing the data governance policies for their data set.
  • Legal counsel: Legal team members who ensure that you’re meeting all your legal obligations regarding data usage and that you are minimizing your liability.

Depending on the size, maturity, industry, and business model of your organization, you may not have a team dedicated to data governance. Even if this is the case, it’s important to build your data governance program so it aligns with your organization’s structure, dependencies, and requirements.

Why is data governance important?

Data governance is essential for businesses that handle, store, or manage data as part of their daily operations. Organizations often see the following benefits after implementing a data governance program:

  • Reducing the risk of a breach by implementing data handling policies and assigning responsibilities to specific team members.
  • Maintaining regulatory compliance for data privacy and security, such as compliance with GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, and other frameworks.
  • Earning and maintaining customer trust by demonstrating that you have policies for continued data integrity and compliance.
  • Ensuring data availability so teams can make informed decisions with the data they need to do so.
  • Increasing efficiency by orchestrating workflows and practices that reduce redundancies and inefficiencies.
  • Ability to scale by creating an orchestrated structure for data management, making it easier to adjust to changes and grow the business. 

Data governance implementation

Follow these strategies and best practices as you start in implementing a data governance program for your organization:

  • Take inventory: Take inventory of your data assets and identify the data you're collecting, if it interacts with a third party, where it is stored, who has access to it, how sensitive it is, and if that information is synced with other systems. Review current data practices and policies as well.
  • Consider data governance tools: Determine whether a tool could help you automate aspects of your data governance program, such as automating your compliance tasks when adhering to privacy frameworks or ensuring you have the right policies in place. 
  • Create policies: Consider your compliance needs and ensure that your data governance program includes policies and procedures that help your organization maintain its compliance.
  • Assign responsibilities: Break up your data storage into data sets and assign specific team members to be responsible for each data set within your database governance.
  • Identify tools: Find tools that can facilitate the monitoring, reporting, and transparency of your data governance program. Look out for capabilities like data compliance management, access management, data catalogs, and data lineage tools.
  • Create training policies: Ensure that everyone in your organization understands how to use your data effectively as well as prevent mistakes in data handling.
  • Establish metrics: Set KPIs to measure the success of your data governance program, including policies for reviewing these metrics on a regular basis to identify opportunities for improvement.

Each data governance program will follow its own process, but the tips and strategies above can help you create and customize your program to suit your organization’s needs.

{{cta_testimonial2}}

It’s important to choose the right tools to help you manage your data governance program. Vanta’s trust management platform allows you to coordinate your GRC and cybersecurity controls, manage regulations, track your implementation, and offer continuous monitoring. Schedule a demo with our team to see if adding trust management to your program is right for you. 

Governance

What is data governance?

A black and white drawing of a rock formation.

Data governance is a cohesive strategy that ensures that an organization is handling data properly. Data governance is a program that defines how data is managed throughout an organization, such as establishing data handling policies, determining data management responsibilities, and deciding how the data should be used. 

Data governance vs. data management

Data management is a broad term that refers to all of the data practices and data-related controls within an organization. Data governance is an aspect of data management that focuses on creating organization-wide policies for what data is brought in, what’s done with it, and when and how that data is disposed of. It also involves defining roles and responsibilities for data management.

What are the components of a data governance program?

Your data governance program needs to account for three things:

  1. People: Who is responsible for what data
  2. Processes: Policies for how your data is used and managed
  3. Technology: Tools you use to store and manage data and for data oversight

Your data governance program should be tailored to your organization’s needs, the data you work with, and other details. However, these components are often included in an effective data governance program:

Data governance components

  • Policy creation: Develop and implement policies for data handling and data privacy, such as policies for data deletion requests.
  • Roles and responsibilities: Specify who in your organization is responsible for which types of data or aspects of your data practices.
  • Program goals and assessments: Determine objectives for your data governance program and metrics to monitor its success.
  • Technology: Select tools that are used to maintain, manage, and track data.

{{cta_withimage1}}

Who is responsible for data governance?

A core part of data governance is establishing accountability and determining who is responsible for which parts of the data governance plan. This will depend on your organization’s structure, but typically there are several stakeholders who create and oversee data governance:

  • Chief data officer: The head of data governance who is responsible for ensuring its performance and adherence.
  • Data protection officer: Person named in your GDPR compliance as the individual responsible for processing and managing data in compliance with GDPR. This is often the chief data officer or other leader in charge of data governance.
  • Data governance committee: Select organization leaders and representatives who collaborate with the CDO to make policies and other data management decisions.
  • Data governance team: Specialists who implement, monitor, and continuously manage the data governance program.
  • Privacy analysts or specialists: Staff responsible for specific data sets and are tasked with implementing the data governance policies for their data set.
  • Legal counsel: Legal team members who ensure that you’re meeting all your legal obligations regarding data usage and that you are minimizing your liability.

Depending on the size, maturity, industry, and business model of your organization, you may not have a team dedicated to data governance. Even if this is the case, it’s important to build your data governance program so it aligns with your organization’s structure, dependencies, and requirements.

Why is data governance important?

Data governance is essential for businesses that handle, store, or manage data as part of their daily operations. Organizations often see the following benefits after implementing a data governance program:

  • Reducing the risk of a breach by implementing data handling policies and assigning responsibilities to specific team members.
  • Maintaining regulatory compliance for data privacy and security, such as compliance with GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, and other frameworks.
  • Earning and maintaining customer trust by demonstrating that you have policies for continued data integrity and compliance.
  • Ensuring data availability so teams can make informed decisions with the data they need to do so.
  • Increasing efficiency by orchestrating workflows and practices that reduce redundancies and inefficiencies.
  • Ability to scale by creating an orchestrated structure for data management, making it easier to adjust to changes and grow the business. 

Data governance implementation

Follow these strategies and best practices as you start in implementing a data governance program for your organization:

  • Take inventory: Take inventory of your data assets and identify the data you're collecting, if it interacts with a third party, where it is stored, who has access to it, how sensitive it is, and if that information is synced with other systems. Review current data practices and policies as well.
  • Consider data governance tools: Determine whether a tool could help you automate aspects of your data governance program, such as automating your compliance tasks when adhering to privacy frameworks or ensuring you have the right policies in place. 
  • Create policies: Consider your compliance needs and ensure that your data governance program includes policies and procedures that help your organization maintain its compliance.
  • Assign responsibilities: Break up your data storage into data sets and assign specific team members to be responsible for each data set within your database governance.
  • Identify tools: Find tools that can facilitate the monitoring, reporting, and transparency of your data governance program. Look out for capabilities like data compliance management, access management, data catalogs, and data lineage tools.
  • Create training policies: Ensure that everyone in your organization understands how to use your data effectively as well as prevent mistakes in data handling.
  • Establish metrics: Set KPIs to measure the success of your data governance program, including policies for reviewing these metrics on a regular basis to identify opportunities for improvement.

Each data governance program will follow its own process, but the tips and strategies above can help you create and customize your program to suit your organization’s needs.

{{cta_testimonial2}}

It’s important to choose the right tools to help you manage your data governance program. Vanta’s trust management platform allows you to coordinate your GRC and cybersecurity controls, manage regulations, track your implementation, and offer continuous monitoring. Schedule a demo with our team to see if adding trust management to your program is right for you. 

Have you outgrown your security processes?

Get step-by-step guidance for auditing and updating your inefficient security processes.

Have you outgrown your security processes?

Get step-by-step guidance for auditing and updating your inefficient security processes.

Have you outgrown your security processes?

Get step-by-step guidance for auditing and updating your inefficient security processes.

Vanta gives us broad visibility across our business. We are immediately alerted to any critical vulnerabilities so we can deal with them straight away. It’s a single pane of glass for us.”

Nathan Miller, Head of Information Security & Compliance | Dovetail

Role:GRC responsibilities:
Board of directors
Central to the overarching GRC strategy, this group sets the direction for the compliance strategy. They determine which standards and regulations are necessary for compliance and align the GRC strategy with business objectives.
Chief financial officerPrimary responsibility for the success of the GRC program and for reporting results to the board.
Operations managers from relevant departmentsThis group owns processes. They are responsible for the success and direction of risk management and compliance within their departments.
Representatives from relevant departments
These are the activity owners. These team members are responsible for carrying out specific compliance and risk management tasks within their departments and for integrating these tasks into their workflows.
Contract managers from relevant department
These team members are responsible for managing interactions with vendors and other third parties in their department to ensure all risk management and compliance measures are being taken.
Chief information security officer (CISO)Defines the organization’s information security policy, designs risk and vulnerability assessments, and develops information security policies.
Data protection officer (DPO) or legal counselDevelops goals for data privacy based on legal regulations and other compliance needs, designs and implements privacy policies and practices, and assesses these practices for effectiveness.
GRC leadResponsible for overseeing the execution of the GRC program in collaboration with the executive team as well as maintaining the organization’s library of security controls.
Cybersecurity analyst(s)Implements and monitors cybersecurity measures that are in line with the GRC program and business objectives.
Compliance analyst(s)Monitors the organization’s compliance with all regulations and standards necessary, identifies any compliance gaps, and works to mitigate them.
Risk analyst(s)Carries out the risk management program for the organization and serves as a resource for risk management across various departments, including identifying, mitigating, and monitoring risks.
IT security specialist(s)Implements security controls within the IT system in coordination with the cybersecurity analyst(s).

See how VRM automation works

Let's walk through an interactive tour of Vanta's Vendor Risk Management solution.

Get started with GRC

Start your GRC journey with these related resources.

Product updates

How Vanta combines automation & customization to supercharge your GRC program

Vanta pairs deep automation with the flexibility and customizability to meet the unique needs of larger, more complex businesses. Read more.

How Vanta combines automation & customization to supercharge your GRC program
How Vanta combines automation & customization to supercharge your GRC program
Security

How to build an enduring security program as your company grows

Join Vanta's CISO, Jadee Hanson, and seasoned security leaders at company's big and small to discuss building and maintaining an efficient and high performing security program.

How to build an enduring security program as your company grows
How to build an enduring security program as your company grows
Security

Growing pains: How to update and automate outdated security processes

Has your business outgrown its security processes? Learn how to update them in this guide.

Growing pains: How to update and automate outdated security processes
Growing pains: How to update and automate outdated security processes

Get compliant and
build trust, fast.

Two wind turbines on a white background.
Get compliant and build trust,
fast.
Get started