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Data governance and information governance help organizations meet their compliance, risk management, security and business goals. As organizations become increasingly reliant on accessible and accurate data sets, the importance of these two disciplines is increasing. Although data governance and information governance are related and complement one another, there are some important differences to consider for a business’s IT strategy.

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What is data governance?

At the macro level, data governance refers to cross-border data management between countries. This type of data governance is also known as international data governance. At a micro level, data governance is the responsibility of individual organizations. It involves optimizing data collection, storage, analysis and security through every step of the data lifecycle.

Data governance is about creating and following policies and procedures that maximize the value of data to the organization. It is becoming increasingly common for organizations to have specialized roles and teams to manage these data governance expectations. Large enterprises or businesses that need high-quality data frequently have a chief data officer who oversees roles and data-related projects.

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The goal of data governance is to ensure high-quality data is available at every point of the data lifecycle and that the data is aligned with business objectives. Although policies and procedures play a major role in data governance, there are several other aspects to it, such as data usability, data security, data integrity and data consistency.

Key features of data governance

  • Data architecture: The heart and soul of data governance is its architecture, which defines the structure of an organization’s data resources and includes standards, policies, models and rules for data governance.
  • Security: Data governance can’t be successful without proper data security, which prevents or mitigates sensitive data leaks and other security breaches.
  • Compliance: Adhering to regulatory compliance laws is one of the primary principles of data governance; organizations must adhere to regulations for their global regions and industries when using data.
  • Data quality: A key goal of data governance is to ensure high levels of data quality, and this is achieved through the implementation of strict procedures and policies of data governance.

What is information governance?

Information governance is a comprehensive strategy and strategic framework that organizations use to manage information. This not only includes digital information but also physical assets such as servers and computers. Information governance involves a larger scope compared to information management, as it includes all the internal processes and policies related to information.

Although regulatory compliance and legal requirements are the major driving factors behind information governance, it is also used to derive greater value from information to help organizations achieve their business goals. It helps with faster and more informed decision-making, business continuity and operational transparency.

Information governance is a rapidly evolving discipline, especially as businesses continue to use more data and data management tools. Information governance principles can help businesses improve return on investment for enterprise BI, avoid cybersecurity issues, achieve regulatory compliance and reduce the cost of IT infrastructure maintenance.

Key features of information governance

  • Privacy laws, audits and compliance: Organizations use information governance to meet the requirement of privacy and compliance laws; this happens through the implementation of internal policies to store, share and analyze information.
  • Information security: Information governance covers a broad range of security features, including access management, digital signatures, information rights management and data loss prevention.
  • IT governance: The primary focus of IT governance is to ensure that IT investments deliver maximum business value to help the organization meet its corporate objectives.

How do data governance and information governance differ?

Although there is some overlap in what data governance and information governance cover, there are also some key differences between the two IT strategies.

While it is common for the IT department to be responsible for data governance, information governance has a broader scope, especially as it relates to physical equipment. Data governance is focused on the data itself, while information governance is focused on how to use data for business value. This means that data governance helps provide structure and quality to data, while information governance primarily provides relevance and context to the data.

DataOps: Data governance and information governance working together

It is worth noting the differences between data governance and information governance are starting to blur. As organizations look to become more agile through DataOps practices, combining these two concepts makes it possible for businesses to generate value from data earlier in the data lifecycle.

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