The role of a data steward is critical for ensuring that an organization’s data assets are managed appropriately. Data stewards oversee the overall health and quality of their organization’s data assets and make sure they’re in compliance with strict regulations that apply to data protection, both generally and industry specific. The Alex enterprise data catalog helps data stewards at some of the world’s largest companies to protect the privacy of their organization’s sensitive data assets by automating risk assessments and governance policies to meet compliance standards.
The data steward’s role is to protect data privacy
Data stewards are the people who manage the metadata within enterprises, whether they’re in IT or not. Data stewards are responsible for keeping track of what information is available, how it’s being used, and who has access to it. Moreover, they are the ones with boots on the ground to ensure the data assets within your organization are being used productively, efficiently, and most importantly, compliantly.
Data stewards oversee the overall health and quality of their organization’s data assets and make sure they’re in compliance with regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, and CCPA. With a growing number of laws protecting individuals’ privacy rights, data stewards have an important role to play in ensuring that companies can continue to use personal information responsibly. As a result, organizations are increasingly turning to data stewards as a way to ensure compliance with these regulations while also helping them create value from their data assets.
The better equipped your data stewards are, the better off your company will be as far as protecting privacy goes. That’s why enabling your data stewards with an industry leading data governance platform like Alex is invaluable.
Data stewards use Alex to protect sensitive data assets
Data stewards leverage Alex automation of essential metadata management processes to help protect the privacy of their organization’s sensitive data assets. Data stewards are responsible for ensuring that the data managed by an organization is used appropriately and according to internal policies and external laws. In order to do this, they must be able to identify exactly what kind of information is being collected, where it was collected from, who has access to it, what restrictions have been placed on its use and who can access it. Alex provides a way for data stewards to visualize, keep track of and adjust around these key questions by automated the discovery, profiling and monitoring of all data across the various applications and systems within the enterprise. With Alex, data stewards can make informed decisions about how best to protect their company’s sensitive information assets. Here are some responsibilities or best practices that Alex supports data stewards to perform:
Organizations should establish clear and comprehensive policies and procedures for handling sensitive data
Policies should include guidelines on how to handle personal information, as well as a definition of what is considered “sensitive.” These policies and definitions can be stored within the Alex Intelligent Business Glossary and linked directly to the relevant data assets, applications and systems in the enterprise. They can also be configured into Alex Automated Workflows that guide those who need to work with your organization’s sensitive data through the appropriate policy processes for risk management and data privacy compliance. Data stewards can use Alex to build a list of the entities that may be impacted by using or disclosing data, along with their roles in protecting privacy. This includes dependencies and relationships between departments within your organization, but also third-party contractors like marketing agencies or software vendors who have access to your systems (such as cloud service providers). Alex Automated Data Lineage can demonstrate the hidden relationships, dependencies, transformations and usage history of sensitive data marked for protection.
The goal of these policies is to ensure that every member of an organization knows exactly what they can and cannot do with sensitive information, and all hands are on deck when it comes time for implementing security controls like encryption or tokenization.
Organizations should classify data according to its level of sensitivity and the level of protection it requires. For example, personal identifying information, financial information, and medical records are considered highly sensitive and should be given a higher level of protection. This can be done by using data classification standards such as PII (Personally Identifiable Information) and PHI (Protected Health Information). Alex is configured to automatically profile your data according to industry standards and your unique organizational definitions, standards and metrics which can be sustainably renewed to provide real time insight for data stewards into how the enterprise is tracking against requirements.
When it comes to protecting data privacy in the digital age, organizations can’t afford to focus only on their employees. Data stewards must also consider third-party or even first-party customers whose credentials they collect and use. For example, a loyalty program may require you to ask your customers for personal information such as their address and phone number before providing them with rewards. While this is an acceptable practice for many businesses, some people might be uncomfortable revealing such details about themselves online—and there are laws that protect their right not to do so. Designing business processes that can provide privacy certainty and win customer trust and loyalty is a major challenge, but can become an asset that differentiates your business from competitors.
Organizations should define and implement access controls to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive data. This can include using authentication methods such as passwords and multi-factor authentication, and implementing role-based access controls to limit the type of data that different users can access. Alex provides a single point of access and management for your enterprise data where stewards can ensure that all data access and use is following the organization’s data controls. For instance, stewards can configure role-based access to Alex so that only those with clearance to use specific data sets can access them within the enterprise data catalog.
Monitor data usage
Data stewards can use Alex to facilitate the required monitoring of data usage within the enterprise to detect any unusual or unauthorized access to sensitive data. By leveraging Alex’s automated access and usage monitoring, alerts can be delivered to responsible stewards when anomalies occur or risk ratings are heightened. This is synergetic with log monitoring tools, intrusion detection systems, and other security tools to detect and respond to potential threats. Security teams can use Alex Data Lineage to investigate suspicious behavior and anomalies in the enterprise, whether it’s related to misuse, access breaches or insider attacks.
Monitoring is also important because the GDPR requires organizations to keep records of the personal data they collect and process. This helps them respond quickly when someone requests their information be deleted or corrected, as well as comply with other aspects of GDPR compliance such as documentation requirements and incident response procedures.
Organizations should conduct regular audits of their data governance processes to identify any potential vulnerabilities and to ensure that data privacy is being protected
Data stewards can use Alex automation to facilitate the kind of regular audits of their data governance processes that can help identify any potential vulnerabilities and to ensure that the right adjustments can be made to protect sensitive data. This can include reviewing access logs, reviewing data classification and labeling, and testing data access controls.
Data stewards can leverage Alex when delivering regular training to employees on the importance of data privacy and best practices for protecting sensitive data. With the ability to simplify best practices around data management and automate workflows and role-based access controls, Alex enables you to build a responsible data culture. Employees should be aware of the policies and procedures in place, and understand their role in protecting sensitive data: This becomes an in-built feature of the Alex enterprise data catalog so that standards are unified and consistency promoted. To effectively protect your company’s sensitive data, you should consider implementing regular employee training that focuses on best practices for protecting and managing sensitive information. You should also make sure these trainings are offered regularly and are easy to access so your staff doesn’t forget about them.
Data retention and disposal
Data stewards need to ensure that your organization has access to the right data at the right time, in order to make better decisions and run more efficient operations. But as your company grows larger, this becomes increasingly difficult: there are more and more people who need access to sensitive information on a regular basis. The good news is that there are ways for you as a steward to protect all of your users’ privacy while still providing them with important insights into their own data—and even enabling them to share this information with others!
Establish a data retention and disposal policy that ensures sensitive data is deleted or disposed of securely when it is no longer needed. This can include securely deleting files, sanitizing storage devices, and ensuring that data is not retained unnecessarily. Alex automation facilitates each of these pillars of monitoring and executing a data retention and disposal strategy.
Alex automates data governance to help data stewards protect data privacy
By automating the creation of governance policies, metadata management solutions can help data stewards protect the privacy of their organization’s sensitive data assets. With a set of standardized procedures for identifying and handling privacy-sensitive information, you can ensure that your company is safeguarding the integrity of its customers’ personal information in accordance with laws and regulations.
Metadata management is a key component of GDPR and other data regulatory compliance because it streamlines compliance audits by reducing the amount of time spent on manual tasks like creating policies or managing security roles. This makes it easier for organizations to keep track of all their sensitive data assets and make sure they’re protected properly.
The list of responsibilities in this article makes it clear that there are a lot of things that data stewards need to be checked off to ensure that your data protection efforts are concrete. Therefore, a top-of-the-line metadata management platform that is easy to learn and intuitive to use is highly important. Alex assists data stewards to implement these steps and ensure their organization’s data is protected. For more information about the importance of data stewardship establishing sound data protection protocols, or how Alex aids them in this, request a free personalized demo: