What is data governance & why does it matter?

Pranav Kumar
February 4, 2022

What is data governance?

Data governance, in a nutshell, is a company's policies and procedures for managing its data. To put it another way, data governance is the set of rules that an organisation follows to ensure it is using its data appropriately.

There are two main categories of Data Governance:

Data classification: This is about deciding which data is sensitive and properly labelling it. For example, you might decide that some data should never leave the company and that other data can be shared with partners. Data classification also helps to identify which data should be encrypted in transit or at rest.

Data masking: Masking is used when you want to protect sensitive information from being seen by people who don't need to see it. 

For example, healthcare applications use data masking when medical professionals need access to patient information but shouldn't see specific details like social security numbers.

Why is data governance important?

Data is increasingly seen as an asset for companies, something that needs to be managed and protected like any other corporate resource.

Organisations that don't have a formalised approach for managing their data are at risk for internal disputes about who owns the information or how it should be used. That increases the risk of costly legal battles over intellectual property in the years ahead. 

The three goals of data governance are:

Data integration: ensuring that all business information is integrated into a single database for easy access

Data quality: ensuring that information is accurate, complete and consistent

Information security:  safeguarding sensitive business data to prevent unauthorised access.

With a strong data governance strategy in place, you'll be able to reduce the risk of noncompliance with legal or regulatory requirements that are specific to your industry or sector. Data governance also helps you preserve and protect valuable corporate assets.

When done right, data governance can improve collaboration across your organisation by making it easy for people to access and share information. It can also improve accountability by enhancing transparency into how data is being used.

Best data governance practices for businesses:

  • Define goals and understand benefits
  • Analyse current state and delta analysis
  • Derive a roadmap
  • Convince stakeholders and budget project
  • Develop and plan the data governance program
  • Implement the data governance program
  • Monitor and control


Data governance is one of the core pillars of an enterprise data management strategy. If you’re looking to make sound decisions on the direction your enterprise is taking, effectively managing your data is key to determining what direction you are taking.

Without data governance an organisation's ability to manage their business in a consistent, successful way is compromised.

Pranav Kumar

Excited about digital disruption and exponential impact of emerging technologies; I have a deep passion for technology, business, and progress. I envision a future where an intellectual and responsible use of technology will positively change the future of work, and life.