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The Role of Data Governance Against Cyber-Attacks

Billigence’s APAC Lead for Data Governance, Graham Pearman, recently caught up with Collibra’s Co-founder and Chief Data Citizen, Stijn Christiaens, to discuss the role Data Governance can play in protecting organisations from cyber-attacks. Stijn provided his perspective to highlight the power of Collibra in protecting the data assets of Australian companies, and it came ‘from the most unlikely of places’.

Here’s what Stijn had to say:

‘When people ask me about how Collibra helps to protect against cyber-attacks; I ask them to picture the scene in this Lord of the Rings. The Uruk Hai are trying to breach the defences at the castle known as ‘Helm’s Deep’. The elves and men inside the castle walls are protecting themselves from attack, so the Uruk Hai do precisely what most cyber attackers will do, which is to find a weak point or vulnerability in the defences and strike there with speed and force.

Unfortunately, like most companies, there are only so many defences available to guard the perimeter – and these are often spread thinly. Without a map of the castle, including its weak spots; you simply don’t know where to prioritise your defences. The same is true for your data landscape. You need a living map of where your data sits, and where it flows, so you can prioritise defences on your most important data assets.

Data Governance in this scenario, provides that map, and the subsequent knowledge about the castle makes it easier to defend. Now armed with deeper knowledge, this allows organisations to better understand their vulnerabilities and therefore have a better defensive strategy.

With effective Data Governance therefore, companies are better positioned to defend themselves from cyber-attacks, because they know where their most valuable data is. This means they can place their assets in highly secure areas and concentrate their defences accordingly. This reduces vulnerabilities and mitigates the risk of a data breach affecting sensitive or highly protected data’.

Cyber Attacks in Australia

The advent of a number of high-profile data breaches in Australia has created a dramatic rise in interest within the sphere of Cybersecurity. According to the Australian Computer Society, businesses are now “girding corporate communications teams with cyber security specialists as executives watch the cyber security disasters.”

In its summary of recent events, the AICD notes that “Cybersecurity is consistently cited as the number-one issue that is keeping Australian directors awake at night,” and offer their readers a well-considered five-point plan to help organisation’s address their cyber security concerns. But, in our estimation, the Plan could go further to include one crucial aspect of defence – which is Data Governance!

The core objective of cybersecurity is to protect organisations infrastructure and the data it holds from unauthorised access, damage, and attacks. Meanwhile, Data Governance – as an essential ally to Cyber, provides organisations with a framework for defining what data assets it has, where the data resides and under what circumstances it can be used. This knowledge allows organisations to better defend itself from cyber-attacks whilst continuing to allow its users to access data with the right guardrails.

Data governance is critical for implementing a security strategy, if organisations are unable to determine the value, location, and accessibility of its data then it’s nearly impossible to allocate the resources required to protect it. To put it simply, only when you can define the sensitivity of a data set can you assign appropriate information security controls to keep it secure and protected. This is why data governance is essential in contributing to an effective cybersecurity strategy.

About Collibra

Collibra allows organisations of all shapes and sizes quickly connect to their data sources to build out data catalogues, providing rich context by connecting business, technical and privacy metadata with quality and column-level lineage. This allows organisations to take stock of their data assets and better understand if there are risks relating to data being stored in unsecure or vulnerable locations. It quickly and efficiently builds a detailed map of your data assets and an invaluable understanding of how those assets move between systems.

Our Insights

Data Governance is no longer a buzzword, it’s an essential initiative for high quality data and security. Billigence has seen an upward swing in demand for Data Governance solutions globally. The demand is primarily driven by the onset of tougher and more stringent regulations for data compliance. Coupled with this is a growing realisation that efficiency and profitability is increasingly dependent on the availability of high-quality data to drive business intelligence.

About Billigence Data Governance

As Collibra partners, we have certified consultants with in-depth knowledge and expertise across a range of leading industries and disciplines. We work with our clients to deliver exceptional solutions that unite their business and instil trust in their data for every use, every user and across every source.

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