Summit Spotlight: The Challenge of Implementing Data Governance

With the Egnyte Exchange Customer Summit just over a month away, our presenters are getting ready to share their expertise and knowledge with our Summit attendees. We sat down with Ann Marie Cullen, Egnyte Director of Governance and Compliance, to understand more about her summit presentation, Best Practices for Data Governance.

For starters Cullen wants admins and security teams to understand that governance is a process, not simply a checklist. Creating the right environment to implement and manage effective data governance includes three key elements:

  • Visibility: the key here is to understand what you’re evaluating in your security and compliance efforts. Insight that provides context for your data, and uncovering hidden data is critical to this.
  • Control and protection: having the right tools to safeguard data is undoubtedly critical, but so too is having a mindset and approach to how to protect your critical assets.
  • Operation and maintenance: this is not a set-once-and-forget type of action. The most prepared teams are those that apply AI and learn the behaviors and trends within their environment, and then adapt to meet changing governance needs.

For Cullen, whose role brings her into close contact with customers and gives her a unique view into the trends and needs sweeping businesses, there is one key data governance topic that continues to rise to the surface.

“The big thing that everyone is asking for is more automation,” Cullen says. “There’s a lot that companies need to do, and any extent to which you can automate that as opposed to having someone manually review and make decisions is really beneficial.”

Cullen, whose career-long background in data security includes time with Vontu, Symantec, MobileIron and Ionic Security, is particularly focused on making data governance achievable for customers. When it comes to getting a governance program off the ground in an organization, she emphasizes, “It’s important to define program goals and have a plan to get there. You’re not going to get to 100% on Day 1. But just taking those first steps can go a long way with regulators.”

When businesses gain a little visibility into their data, she shares, it can create pressure to fix everything immediately. But focusing on the data that’s most critical to a business is the key priority, with everything else carefully planned and managed from there.

So who’s Cullen looking forward to connecting with at Summit? She says her session on operationalizing data governance will be ideal for the professionals who administer their company’s content and data programs and for those whose job it is to develop and implement their organization’s governance initiatives-- namely, the people who spend their days worrying about the data of the entire organization.

“Anything we can do to take that burden off of them is the goal.”

Ann Marie Cullen will be presenting on the first day of the Customer Summit, with a breakout session at noon EDT on October 20. To register for the event and check out what other sessions are on the agenda, visit

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Amanda Salem

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