Home > Articles > Software Development & Management

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

The Information Governance Component Framework

Information governance is a broad discipline that encompasses the definition, creation, use, security, ownership, and deletion of all organizational data. The information governance component framework covers the organizational models and roles needed to define and manage the policies and processes that affect the business and technical creation, maintenance, and usage of data within the enterprise. These components of information governance include the following:

  • Information governance organization component
  • Data stewardship component
  • Data quality management component
  • Metadata management component
  • Privacy and security component
  • Information life cycle management component

Information Governance Organization Component

The information governance organizational component is the “people” aspect of the discipline. It sets the policies for information governance and maintains a staff to support those policies in managing the development and ongoing usage of corporate information. Because information governance is an organizational process similar to accounting or marketing, as mentioned earlier, it requires a staffing structure capable of performing both project and ongoing activities and tasks and fitting into the broader organization. Many information governance programs and organizations fail because of their inability to work within the corporate culture and, when necessary, modify that corporate culture. It also depends on how the organization is organized and how successful its reporting chain is.

The Information Governance Organizational Model

There are several information governance organizational models, all of which revolve around certain key functions, including the information governance council and the data stewardship community function.

The information governance council (IGC) function focuses on setting the vision and goals, providing alignment within the broader organization, and setting the direction for the information governance process. The IGC function includes establishing the policies and procedures for information governance, such as the following:

  • Data as a corporate asset policy
  • Data creation and usage policy
  • Data security requirements policies
  • Data regulatory requirements (e.g., Sarbanes-Oxley) policies
  • Data quality audit policies

The IGC is traditionally organized with key stakeholders from core functional areas such as accounting, marketing, research and development, sales, and production. Often, the department leaders will chair the IGC or provide an advocate. The IGC is traditionally led by a chief data officer (CDO).

The CDO has been an evolving role over the past 15 years and originally was only responsible for the information governance organization in terms of overall direction and day-to-day oversight. In recent years, many organizations have been expanding the responsibilities of the CDO to include oversight and day-to-day management of data development and maintenance functions. The CDO role and responsibility often includes the following:

  • Owning and driving the organization’s data strategy and enterprise-level data vision
  • “Selling” information governance, by driving data ownership and accountability in the business
  • Directing data quality practices across the organization
  • Aligning business and IT to support data quality through consistent business definitions and well-defined data quality ranges in transactional and analytic applications
  • Providing leadership by sitting on executive committees where data programs and projects are approved and sponsored to ensure information governance processes are embedded into those programs
  • Working with other business executives to understand their data quality requirements, objectives, and issues
  • Providing leadership and support to members of the data stewardship community as they define data and metadata
  • Working closely with the information council’s business liaisons to evangelize enterprise data governance within the organization

The success of an information governance organization depends on having the right candidate at the right level in the CDO role.

The data stewardship community function focuses on implementing the information governance policies and processes. It works with the end users to define the business and technical metadata, provides the data quality measures and ranges to be managed to (and performs data quality audits), and ensures that the end users are getting as much value as possible out of the data. The next section of this chapter covers those responsibilities for data stewards in greater detail.

The data stewardship community can be tightly aligned as a group or aggregated by organizational areas, as shown in Figure 1.3.

Figure 1.3

Figure 1.3 Tightly aligned versus aggregated data stewardship community alignment

Where the data stewards are aligned to the organizational area, they are often “solid” lined (direct reporting) to that organizational area, and “dotted” line (indirect reporting) to the IGC.

The Information Governance Reporting Models

The success (or failure) of information governance initiatives are often a direct result of the alignment of the information governance organization within the enterprise. There are many reporting models, but there three are typically found:

  • Aligned to the chief financial officer (CFO)—In this reporting model, the CDO and the IGC direct report to the CFO. This model has been used in both the manufacturing and life science industry. There are many benefits to this alignment that include tying budgets to adherence to information governance standards, tight alignment to financial management reporting (business metadata management), and the usage of financial information (data security).
  • Aligned to the chief risk officer (CRO)—This model is most prevalent in the financial services industry, where adherence to government regulatory requirements and mandates is tightly tied to the common set of data definitions and the ability to demonstrate data lineage (e.g., Sarbanes-Oxley).
  • Aligned to the chief information officer (CIO)—In this reporting model, the CDO and the IGC direct report to the CIO. One of the advantages of reporting to the CIO is the tight alignment to the development and maintenance of the data assets within the organization. Among the disadvantages of information governance organizations aligning within the IT is that business functions tend to view those organizations as technical only and discount the importance of the discipline. This leads to issues in the enforcement of (and lack there of) information governance standards and guidelines within the business functions.

Data Stewardship Component

Data stewardship is the “people” aspect of information governance that directly interfaces with the creators and users of data. Data stewards support, maintain, and execute the policies and procedures instituted by the IGC. Data stewards are often organized in communities that are aligned either (or both) by functional areas, such as customer or product, (and) or by departmental areas, such as accounting or marketing. Most information governance tasks discussed in this text are either directly performed by or influenced by data stewards.

Typical Data Stewardship Responsibilities

A data steward’s responsibilities vary widely from organization to organization based on the structure of the information governance process, the maturity of information governance within the enterprise (e.g., perceived important and authority granted to the information governance organization), and how the enterprise has organized its IT function. Typical data stewardship responsibilities are shown as follows and categorized by how data is created, organized, managed, and monitored. These responsibilities include the following:

  • Data stewardship creation responsibilities:

    • Work with the business stakeholder and technologies in the business and technical definitions of data requirements
    • Ensure that the planned data has defined data quality criteria and ranges for critical data entities
    • Ensure that those definitions are captured and stored as metadata
    • Collaborate with IT data architects and modelers to ensure that the captured data requirements are structured correctly so that the intended business users gain the intended value
    • Collaborate with the business users and corporate security on data privacy requirements, user access control procedures, and data-retention policies
  • Data stewardship management responsibilities:

    • Review and approve potential changes to the definitions and structures of the data, ensuring that those changes are appropriately maintained in the metadata management environment
    • Provide ongoing communications on the information governance organization, its policies, and processes
    • Assist/perform “road shows” on evangelizing information governance
    • Work with data management organizations on embedding information governance activities into ongoing processes and activities
  • Data stewardship monitoring responsibilities:

    • Manage and communicate changes to data quality and security controls to business and technical stakeholders
    • Perform ongoing data quality and security audits on critical subject areas and application systems within the organization
    • Manage issues due to technical data quality and definitional understanding inconsistency, including data quality renovation projects

The breadth of information governance within the processes of an organization has led to the development of several types of data stewards and data stewardship-type roles. Most of these are segmented between business and technology roles, each with certain characteristics and responsibilities. The following sections provide a noncomprehensive list of the types of data stewards.

Business Data Stewards

Business data stewards focus more on the interaction of data with the executives and end users of a business function. They tend to focus on the data definition of base and aggregated data. For example, the business definition and calculation of return on net assets (RONA) can be a hotly contested definition between functional areas of an organization and a source of considerable time and effort for data stewards to develop common understandings and agreed to definitions to avoid perceived data quality issues and erroneous reporting. These business data stewardship roles include the following:

  • Departmentally focused data stewards—These stewards tend to align into organizational areas such as accounting, finance, and marketing. They narrowly focus on the definition, creation, maintenance, and usage of data only within an organizational area. Often these data stewards are aligned closer to the executive of that organizational area than with the information governance organization (for example, finance data stewards that report directly to the CFO).
  • Functionally focused data stewards—These stewards tend to align closer to the information governance organizations and are responsible for the definition, creation, maintenance, and usage of data for a functional area such as customer or product that may span many different organizations. For example, the customer domain may cross finance, accounting, marketing, production, and distribution. It requires an understanding of how the definition and process events that impact the concept of customer as a customer are processed from potential to purchaser of the organization’s goods and services. This broader organizational view almost always needs an information governance process to reconcile all the different organizational perspectives.

Technical Data Stewards

Technical data stewards focus more on the technical definition, creation, and maintenance of the data. They tend to report to IT, often the data management group, and provide the interface between IT and the business functional areas. These roles include the following:

  • Analytic data stewards—These data stewards focus on the definition, maintenance, and usage of data generated from BI environments. Because much of this data has been transformed from its raw state through calculations and aggregations, one of the major tasks of these stewards is ensuring that the stakeholders agree to the common definitions and calculations of this data. They often work with the IT developers and end users in the definitions of the key performance measurements, calculations, and aggregations that make up the reporting. These are also the data stewards that work very closely to ensure that the information used for regulatory reporting meets the technical requirements of correctness and security.
  • Metadata management stewards—These individuals have a very specific data stewardship focus on capture, maintenance, and versioning of the various types of business and technical metadata. They play a role that transcends IT’s data management organization and the IGC in managing the metadata environment. For those organizations that have established a commercial or homegrown metadata management repository, these data stewards are responsible for the capture, versioning, and maintenance of the different types of metadata. Later this chapter provides a broader definition of the different types of metadata that are created and managed.
  • Data quality analysts—These specific-purpose data stewards concentrate on the data quality aspects of a functional or organization area within an information governance organization. They assist in the definition of the data by focusing on what the data quality criteria are for critical data elements (for example, what the technical and business domains and ranges are). They also approve the critical data elements to meet the project’s data quality requirements. They manage and perform the ongoing data quality audits and renovation projects on behalf of the information governance organizations.

Note that these are simply types of roles; in certain organizations, the same individual will perform any number of these data stewardship roles. The number and definition of the types of roles are also a function of the information governance maturity within an organization. The more mature the information governance, the more delineation will be found within the types of data stewardship roles.

Common Characteristics of Data Stewards

Regardless of type, certain common characteristics are found in all data stewards, such as a deep understanding of the underlying data and the processes and business rules that create that data; they are usually the data experts. Good data stewards tend to have deep industry expertise; they are very experienced practitioners in the industries that they work in. For example, a healthcare data steward understands the critical nature of ICD-10 codes, whereas a banking data steward is familiar with the regulatory requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act. They are by nature data evangelists, often with a deep passion for the data and its definition. Good data stewards tend to be 40% trained and 60% passion.

Understanding that the data steward is the performing “people” part of information governance ensures that when information governance activities and tasks are performed in development and ongoing operations, data stewards will in most instances be a primary or secondary performer.

Data Quality Management Component

Data quality management is the definition, supervision, and when necessary, renovation of data to the business and technical ranges. Data quality management is one of the most visceral aspects of information governance. It is also “threads” through each of the “people, process, and technology” aspects of information governance. For example, organizational reactions to perceived or real data quality issues have cost organizations millions of dollars in regulatory fines, cost executives their positions, and are one of the primary reasons companies start information governance initiatives. However, despite all the press, it is still one of the least understood areas of information governance.

What Is Data Quality?

Data quality is the commonly understood business and technical definitions of data within defined ranges. It is measured by how effectively the data supports the transactions and decisions needed to meet an organization’s strategic goals and objectives, as embodied in its ability to manage its assets and conduct its core operations.

The level of data quality required to effectively support operations will vary by information system or business unit, depending on the information needs to conduct that business unit’s operations. For example, financial systems require a high degree of quality data because of the importance and usage of the data, but a marketing system may have the latitude to operate with a lower level of data quality without significantly impacting the use of the information in measuring marketing success. Because the purpose varies, so does the bar used to measure fitness to purpose.

Causes of Poor Data Quality

Causes for bad data quality can be categorized as business-process and technology-process data quality issues, as demonstrated in Figure 1.4.

Figure 1.4

Figure 1.4 Examples of bad data quality types

Technology-driven poor data qualities are those types that are caused by not applying technology constraints on either the database or data integration. These types include the following:

  • Invalid data—Data that in incorrect in that field. For example, by not applying constraints, alphanumeric data is allowed in a numeric data field (or column).
  • Missing data—Data that is missing in that field. For example, by not applying key constraints in the database, a not-null field has been left null.

Business-driven bad data qualities are those types that are caused by end users inaccurately creating or defining data. Examples include the following:

  • Inaccurate data—Invalid data due to incorrect input by business users. For example, by inaccurately creating a record for Ms. Anthony Jones, rather than for Mr. Anthony Jones, poor data quality is created. Inaccurate data is also demonstrated by the “duplicate data” phenomenon. For example, an organization has a customer record for both Anthony Jones and Tony Jones, both the same person.
  • Inconsistent definitions—Inconsistent data is where stakeholders have different definitions of the data. By having disparate views on what the definition of poor data quality is, perceived bad quality is created. For example, when the sales department has a different definition of customer profitability than the accounting department.

The Data Quality Framework

Most EIM functions have an architecture or framework by which to understand that function; data quality is no exception. The data quality framework illustrated in Figure 1.5 is a multidimensional reference model to explain and define data different dimensions of data quality. The first dimension defines the key data quality elements, or what data within an organization or application is important to measure quality. The business and technical dimensions provide the rules that measure how well a data element meets a company’s data quality goals and ultimately provides trusted and critical information.

Figure 1.5

Figure 1.5 The dimensions of the data quality framework

Understanding all four aspects of this framework will help you determine what information governance activities and tasks must be performed to ensure the levels of data quality desired by an organization.

Key Data Quality Element Dimension

Within an organization, certain data elements are critical to the business and so the data quality of such should be identified, defined, and measured. These key data elements can be both base element data (for example, customer name) as well as derived data (for example, net profit).

These key data quality elements are often defined as such during data definition activities such as data modeling. Once identified as a key data quality element, the technical and business data quality criteria for that element are identified and defined in terms of ranges of compliance to requirements of a business. For instance, the key data quality element birth date has a business data quality criteria defined as a date range, as follows:

  • Birth date = Range: from 0 to 140

This business user-defined range reflects the probability that most people simply do not live beyond 140 years.

Although a relationship exists between relational key constraints, mandatory data, and key data quality elements, that relationship is not one to one. Not all mandatory and constraint data is necessarily key data quality data.

For instance, a customer ID column may be both mandatory and a primary key constraint, but not a key data quality element based on that element’s importance to the organization.

Business-Process Data Quality Dimension

The business-process data quality dimension refers to the data quality criteria based on the business definition and business rules defined within the data. It contains the business defined ranges and domains that are a direct result of a business decision.

It is the lack of formal definition or misunderstanding of the different interpretations that create the inconsistent definitions and different business rules for similar data within each line of business (LOB), with each LOB having its own understanding of what that data element is. For example:

  • Marketing definition of net assets = Assets – Expenses
  • Finance definition of net assets = Assets – Expenses + Owners equity

Hence, with disparate views on what the definition and business rules of a data quality element are, when information is compared from different LOBs, the perception of bad quality is created, as shown in Table 1.1.

Table 1.1 Business Dimension of Data Quality



Examples of Poor Business Data Quality


The data element has a commonly agreed-upon enterprise business definition and calculations.

Return on net assets (RONA), net present value (NPV), and earnings before interest, taxes and amortization of goodwill (EBITA) are calculated using different algorithms/equations and using different source data for each algorithm/equation for multiple departments within an enterprise.

Applying a consistently agreed-upon common business definition and rules against the data elements provides the insurance against inconsistent data quality issues.

It is the management of the common understanding of business definitions throughout the data stewardship community that is so critically important to not have misunderstood reporting issues.

Technical-Process Data Quality Dimension

The technical-process data quality dimension refers to the data quality criteria found in the technical definition of the data (for example, as defined in both the entity integrity and referential integrity relational rules found in logical data modeling). Table 1.2 describes key aspects of this dimension.

Table 1.2 Technical Dimensions of Data Quality



Examples of Poor Technical Data Quality


The data element passes all edits for acceptability.

A customer record has a name that contains numbers.

The Social Security Number field should be a numeric integer but is populated with alphanumeric characters instead.


The data element is unique; there are no duplicate values.

Two customer records have the same Social Security number.


The data element is always required or required based on the condition of another data element.

A product record is missing a value such as weight.

Married (y/n) field should have a non-null value of y or n, but is populated with a null value instead.


The data element is free from variation and contradiction based on the condition of another data element.

A customer order record has a ship date preceding its order date.


The data element represents the most current information resulting from the output of a business event.

A customer record references an address that is no longer valid.


The data element values are properly assigned (e.g., domain ranges).

A customer record has an inaccurate or invalid hierarchy.


The data element is used only for its intended purpose, i.e., the degree to which the data characteristics are well understood and correctly utilized.

Product codes are used for different product types between different records.

Each of these technical data quality rules are enforced against the key data quality elements with different methods. Many of the rules are enforced with simple relational database rules such as entity and referential integrity. For instance, the precise dimension is enforced in the relational database by applying the primary key constraint.

Within each of these dimensions, technical data quality rules are applied against key data quality elements, as shown in Figure 1.6.

Figure 1.6

Figure 1.6 The applied technical data quality rules in a data quality workbook

Data quality is not just about the structure and content of individual data attributes. Often, serious data quality issues exist because of the lack of integrity between data elements within or across separate tables that might be the result of a business rule or structural integrity violations. Ultimately, the degree to which the data conforms to the dimensions of the data quality framework that are relevant to it dictates the level of quality achieved by that particular data element.

Data Quality Processes Dimension

The data quality framework provides the structure to instantiate the policies and procedures developed and agreed to by the IGC and provide the basis for data stewards and development teams to define the processes to capture and prevent bad data quality. Examples of these processes are found in the next section.

Data Quality Checkpoints

Capturing and renovating bad data that has been defined in the context of the data quality framework can be prevented by determining key data quality criteria and building those rules into data quality checkpoints. There are two types of data quality checkpoints:

  • Technical data quality checkpoints—Technical data quality checkpoints define the data quality criteria often found in both the entity integrity and referential integrity relational rules found in logical data modeling. They address the invalid and missing data quality anomalies. Technical data quality criteria are usually defined by IT and information management subject matter experts (SMEs). An example includes the primary key null data quality checkpoint.
  • Business data quality checkpoints—The business data quality checkpoints confirm the understanding of the key data quality elements in terms of what the business definition and ranges for a data quality element are and what business rules are associated with that element. Business data quality checkpoints address the inaccurate and inconsistent data quality anomalies. The classic example of a business data quality check is gender. A potential list of valid ranges for gender is Male, Female, or Unknown. This is a business definition, not an IT definition; the range is defined by the business. Although many organizations find the three values for gender sufficient, the U.S. Postal Service has seven types of gender, so their business definition is broader than others.

Types of Data Quality Processes

The final aspect of the data quality framework are those processes that ensure good data quality or prevent bad quality from being created and those that find bad data quality for renovation.

Ensuring data quality is typically a result of solid adherence to the definition of data quality criteria from both a business process and data design perspective. As a result, there are preventive data quality best practices that focus on the development of new data sources and integration processes, and there are detective data quality best practices that focus on identification and remediation of poor data quality. Both of these types are found in the tasks and steps of the data quality life cycle, which is discussed in Chapter 11, “Ongoing Data Quality Management Processes.”

The understanding of what data quality is, the framework for which it is defined, and how to capture data quality is critical to understanding one of the important “process” components of information governance, especially in terms of ensuring the right data quality processes are built and then monitored in ongoing operations.

Metadata Management Component

The metadata management component is one of the process and technology aspects of information governance that captures, versions, and uses metadata to understand organization data. It is the “database” for data stewards and other types of users to store, maintain, and use the business and technical definitions of the organization’s data.

What is metadata? Metadata is defined as “data about data,” but it can also be explained as another layer of information created to help people use raw data as information. Metadata provides context to raw data; it is the business and technical rules that provide that particular data element meaning, as illustrated in Figure 1.7.

Figure 1.7

Figure 1.7 Types of metadata: Business and structural

Metadata is created whenever data is created, either in transaction processing, master data management (MDM) consolidation, or BI aggregations. Each event creates a type of metadata that often needs to be captured and managed. For example, when a data element is created, it contains information about what process was used to create it, along with rules, formulas, and settings, regardless of whether it is documented. The goal is to capture this metadata information at creation to avoid having to rediscover it later or attempt to interpret it later.

The discipline of metadata management is to capture, control, and version metadata to provide users such as data stewards the ability to manage the organization’s data definitions and data processing rules in a central location. The application to capture, store, and manage metadata is a metadata repository, which is a metadata “database” for use by stakeholders such as data stewards.

Metadata can be composed of any information that describes the actual data itself. For data warehousing purposes, metadata has been classified based on the purpose created and the functions it is used for and can be classified into the types or categories. In each of these categories, there are relationships. For example, navigational, structural, and analytic all require the business definitions in the business metadata to provide context to the data, as demonstrated in Figure 1.8.

Figure 1.8

Figure 1.8 The categories of metadata

Business Metadata

The business category of metadata defines the information that the data provides in a business context. Examples of business metadata include subject area definitions (e.g., product), entity concept definitions, business attribute names, business attribute definitions, business attribute valid values, data quality rules, and business rules. Business metadata is found in transactional data master data. One of the primary sources of business metadata includes conceptual data models, logical data models, and business process rules engines.

Transactional Metadata

Transactional metadata contains the business and technical data definitions and business rules used in creating transactional systems. Transactional metadata is the source of all downstream uses of information, and when it is poorly defined or enforced, it is the major source of data quality issues.

Structural Metadata

Structural metadata contains the logical and technical descriptions of the permanent data structures within the EIM infrastructure. This metadata includes structures such as flat files and hierarchical and relational databases. Structural metadata contains both logical and technical metadata, as shown in Figure 1.9.

Figure 1.9

Figure 1.9 Structural metadata example

Logical metadata consists of data models and entity, attribute, and relationship metadata. A level of overlap exists between business and logical metadata (for example, business attributes and physical attributes). Business attributes are defined by the business to describe an aspect of an entity. A physical attribute is defined by a data modeler or application database administrator to describe an aspect of the physical store of data. Some organizations only retain and manage the one type.

The technical metadata is the physical structures themselves (for example, databases/file groups, tables/views/files, keys, indices, columns/fields, source columns/fields, and target columns/fields). Often this type of information is found in Database Definition Language (DDL).

Navigational Metadata

Navigational metadata describes the process rules and data formats of the data extraction, transformation, and movements, as illustrated in Figure 1.10. Examples of navigational technical metadata are derived fields, business hierarchies, source columns and fields, transformations, data quality checkpoints, target columns and fields, and source and target locations. Primary sources of navigational metadata include data profiling results, data mappings, logical/physical data integration models, and data quality criteria workbooks.

Figure 1.10

Figure 1.10 Navigational metadata example

Commercial data integration software vendors have addressed navigational metadata from two perspectives:

  • Integrated software suites—IBM, Ab Initio, and Informatica have integrated profiling and data analysis tools into their design and development suites. This includes data mapping.
  • Metadata repositories—The same vendors have metadata repositories for navigational metadata as well as the capabilities to integrate other types, which is discussed later in the chapter.

Analytic Metadata

Analytic metadata, shown in Figure 1.11, consists of the metadata that is used in a reporting and ad hoc environment and includes the following:

  • Report data elements—Within the report itself, the definition of the report-level data elements displayed on the report or in the ad hoc query environment is metadata to be created and managed. These elements are often the same technical and business definitions as the data warehouse or dimensional data mart.
Figure 1.11

Figure 1.11 Analytic metadata example

Primary sources of analytic metadata include OLAP and reporting packages metadata environments.

Master Data Metadata

Master data metadata crosses both transaction and analytic application definitions that describe the core business domains of an organization. Master data provides transaction and analytic data the context of the organization for core domains such as party-customer, product, and account, as shown in Figure 1.12.

Figure 1.12

Figure 1.12 Master data metadata example

Operational Metadata

The operational category of metadata describes the transaction and data integration application’s job description through statistics, giving a full technical view of the environment. Examples of operational metadata include jobs statistics and data quality check results.

Whereas the prior categories are primarily used by business users, data stewards, and data management professionals, operational metadata is used by production support and systems administration for troubleshooting and performance tuning.

Sources of operational metadata include transaction and data integration job logs being generated either by the data integration jobs or the production scheduler.

Metadata Users

Metadata provides value at a variety of levels to a range of users but can typically be divided into three categories:

  • Business users—Business users of metadata need to understand the business meaning of the data in the systems they use. In addition, they need to know the business rules and data access rules that apply to the data. Data stewards (either business or technology) are usually classified as business users due to the creation, maintenance, and usage patterns of metadata.
  • Technology users—IT professionals who are responsible for planning and building the transaction and analytic systems need to understand the end-to-end picture of the data to manage change. These users leverage the technical metadata for the technical information about the data environment, such as physical data structures, extract-transform-load rules, reporting information, and impact analysis. Examples of technology users include data modelers, service-oriented architecture (SOA) architects, data-integration architects, BI architects, designers, and developers.
  • Operational users—IT operational professionals are those who are responsible for day-to-day operation of the data environment and are users of operational metadata. Operational metadata can assist them in identifying and resolving problems as well as managing change in the production environment by providing data information about the data integration processing and job processing impact analysis.

Managing Metadata

Because metadata is created in many places during the development of a system, it is important to understand and govern all the categories of metadata in the metadata life cycle. Information management professionals have had the goal of a centrally managed metadata repository that governs all metadata, but that vision is difficult to achieve for a variety of factors. The reality is that metadata is created in many different tools used to develop data structures and process that data, as shown in Figure 1.13.

Figure 1.13

Figure 1.13 Centrally managing sources of metadata

At best, a centralized metadata repository should enhance metadata found in local repositories. A metadata repository should consider the following:

  • Where it will be stored—Identify the data store requirements (e.g., commercial metadata repository, homegrown relational database).
  • What will be stored—Identify metadata sources.
  • How it will be captured—Identify load mechanism, CRUD (create, read, update, delete) requirements, administration requirements, and audit and retention requirements.
  • Who will capture the data—Identify the roles and responsibilities for managing the repository and levels of users.
  • When it will be captured—Identify capture frequency, history, and versioning considerations.
  • Why it will be captured—Identify the benefits of the requirements and the specific questions this metadata will answer and provide reporting/browsing requirements.

Metadata is an organization’s “encyclopedia” of business and technical definitions for use by data stewards and other key users. Capturing and updating metadata is a very visible an important set of activities in performing information governance.

Understanding that the data steward is performing the “people” part of information governance ensures that when information governance activities and tasks are performed in development and ongoing operations, data stewards will in most instances be a primary or secondary performer.

Privacy and Security Component

The privacy and security component covers all three of the people, process, and technology aspects of information governance to address who has create, read, update, and delete privileges of organizational data. There have been security requirements for data since the beginning of IT, with access and file security on mainframes with ACF2 and RACF security packages. This was further refined with the advent of relational database technologies with role- and column-level security and “locking data” down with schema-level security roles.

Privacy has taken on an equal if not more important (from a legal liability perspective) role with the integration of organizations’ intranets with the external Internet. The ability for nonstakeholders to access critical financial, customer, and employee data has spawned legislation such as personally identifiable information (PII) laws on how data can and cannot be used to identify, contact, or locate an individual. Another example is in the healthcare industry in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) privacy and security law, which seeks to ensure the privacy and security rights of an individual’s health information. These and other such laws have made the role of information governance even more prominent.

A Broader Overview of Security

Information governance security “interlocks” with the broader IT security and general security functions at the data definition and usage level, as shown in the classic Venn diagram in Figure 1.14.

Figure 1.14

Figure 1.14 Information governance security and privacy in the context of a broader security function

As with other information governance components, there is a framework that best describes how security and privacy “threads” into EIM functions, as shown in Figure 1.15.

Figure 1.15

Figure 1.15 Security and privacy framework

Each EIM functional component of the framework in Figure 1.15 requires a thoughtful analysis and implementation approach for each of the dimensions for the business, technical, and external requirements for privacy and security. For example, a healthcare organization’s member data that is collected through a website needs to consider the following:

  • Business privacy and security requirements—Who with the healthcare organization is allowed to access that data?
  • MDM technical requirements—What are the business, technical, and HIPAA (regulatory) rules for integrating this member data with other stores of member data?
  • Privacy and security requirements in analytic analysis—How can the member data collected from the Web be used for member profiling without violating HIPAA?
  • Technical privacy and security requirements for the data warehouse—What technical solution, such as database security, schema security, and user roles, will meet HIPAA requirements for healthcare member data?

Each EIM “functional layer” of data should be determined through stewardship processes in conjunction with the chief information security officer.

Chief Information Security Officer

The critical nature of security and privacy has placed the chief information security officer (CISO) in the IGC as a board member, as shown in Figure 1.3. The CISO works with the CDO in setting security and privacy policies and often works directly with data stewards on project and operational issues surrounding security and privacy. For example, a data steward may need to review proposed security standards with the CISO to ensure that they meet HIPAA requirements.

Understanding how privacy and security is defined for data based on the business, technical, and regulatory requirements is critical in performing information governance.

Information Life Cycle Management Component

Information life cycle management (ILM) covers the process and technology aspect of information governance that addresses the entire life cycle of a set of data, including creation, retention, and deletion. It covers the business rules on how long data is to be kept and in what format. Due to the very technical nature of ILM, it is as much a data management discipline as it is a component of information governance. Despite the commoditization of computing CPU and disk storage, retaining vast amounts of data that can easily be into the hundreds of petabytes can run in the range of $50 million to $100 million per year. Based on usage and legal requirements, data can be cycled from traditional “hot” storage to cheaper archived storage that can still be accessed as needed (thus saving considerable amounts of money).

It is important for data stewards to consider both the usage and the legal requirements in determining whether to archive or delete old data. For example, a telecommunications company’s data warehouse is required to store 4 years of billing data in its data warehouse. However, for tax compliance, it is required for 7 years; so, a potential life cycle management plan for billing data would be 4 years online and then 3 years offline/archived. After 7 years, the data could be deleted. So, in most cases, the following formula can be used:

Data must be retained for whichever is greater: organizational retention requirements or regulatory retention requirements.

This area of information governance has become much more focused since it provides a much more manageable and cost-effective approach to storing vast amounts of data.

Information life cycle management is one more dimension to consider when defining data and performing data stewardship audits.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account