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The 'Big Data' Conundrum

"What should we manage, and how?"

For organizations involved in information governance, performing such activities on traditional structured data is enough of a challenge; when external and internal unstructured data are added, the task becomes downright daunting. One major information governance challenge is that so much of the external Big Data is used to analyze and run the business, without the technical and business data-quality controls that can be placed on internal structured data.

The major challenge for any new information governance organization is realistically and pragmatically reviewing the types of structured and unstructured Big Data in the organization, and then developing a strategy for each type. Each type of data will have a unique set of discovery, control, and usage patterns in the organization, with significant information governance impacts on data ownership, data stewardship, data quality, and metadata management. One of key information governance challenges in Big Data comes from an information security perspective. Since many of the new sources of Big Data come from outside the organization's firewall, each new source of data should be reviewed to determine whether the data is safe to use:

  • Are safeguards on the data sufficient to ensure that bringing it into the organization is safe?
  • Should the data be viewed only from outside the firewall?

That source should be assessed further in terms of safe usage:

  • Is the Big Data legal to use?
  • Is the data copyrighted, or in the public domain?

These are just a few the information governance challenges in the era of Big Data.

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