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The explosion of unstructured content is undeniable, and this growth is being fueled by businesses. The files that keep the wheels of business turning — documents, spreadsheets, images, PDFs — double in volume every 1-2 years. As unstructured content becomes more integral to business gets done, its value grows too. As it goes with anything of value, it becomes highly coveted, even to the point that others try to steal it. So what is a business to do?

Data governance has quickly become the most popular way for businesses to protect their content, and ultimately, their business.  

In principle, data governance is a set of rules and procedures that dictate how digital assets are stored, shared, accessed, and managed. In practice, data governance often involves developing and implementing a wide-ranging set of policies, technologies, and cultural changes that affect how leadership and rank-and-file employees interact with the digital tools that enable businesses.

When talking to our customers about the impact that a strong data governance solution has had on their business, we identified these 5 advantages:

  1. Support for Regulatory Compliance

HIPAA, FINRA, PCI, SOX, NYDFS, GDPR, CCPA… the alphabet soup of data regulations is dizzying, and dozens of new digital privacy laws are under consideration across the globe. In the growing push for digital privacy rights, there is no industry in the world that won’t soon be impacted. Many of these regulations have conflicting requirements on how data should be treated, but there is one common thread: organizations must understand which regulated content they have and where that content lives. These questions are impossible to answer without a sound data governance program in place.

  1. Discovering Sensitive Data

Sustainable data governance is based on a clear understanding of where your most sensitive content lives. Credit card numbers, health information, home addresses: what is stopping your workforce from storing this information in publicly accessible folders? If you don’t have a data governance program in place, the answer is: nothing. Odds are, your file system houses more sensitive content than you think. Understanding what kinds and how much sensitive data you have is the essential first step in getting control of your content.

  1. Unified Visibility and Control

If step one is about finding the data, step two is understanding who has access to it. Good content governance should provide visibility into where sensitive content lives, who has permission, and how it is being shared. From there, admins can reduce their burden by empowering line-of-business leaders to take long term ownership of data governance in their department.

  1. Unusual Behavior and Ransomware Detection

Companies that have been hit by ransomware attacks or experienced data leaks from malicious insiders or human error have had to learn the hard way just how valuable their unstructured content is. Limiting access to sensitive content on the system can help, but real protection goes one step further. The ability to detect ransomware and unusual behavior, such as downloading or deleting large amounts of data, are two of the best ways to keep your content safe.

  1. Data Lifecycle Management

More content created equals more content stored. The more content you have, the greater your risk of a data leak becomes. It poses some big questions: What should be deleted? How much are you legally required to retain? Good content governance considers the entire data lifecycle and allows organizations to work smarter and spend less time manually deleting or archiving content. Smart archiving, defensible deletion and legal hold are all elements of content governance that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Many organizations avoid implementing a data governance solution because they aren’t sure where to begin. Others believe that their data governance system is working fine, that is until they fall victim to ransomware or are hit with a big compliance fine.

At Egnyte, we believe that every organization can mitigate risk and build a security-aware culture through better data governance. Contact us today for a rapid assessment and get started on the path to sustainable data governance.