Although huge amounts of data are being generated within organizations, few have formal strategies in place to effectively manage that data. There is a general lack of awareness of what types of data exist, where it’s housed, who uses it, and for what purposes. In addition, organizations don’t understand how poor their data quality really is.
Taking a proactive approach to data auditing is something every organization needs to do. Data is one of the organization’s largest assets. In order to utilize it effectively and benefit from it, data requires effective management in the form of policies, procedures, standards, and ownership. Audits will not only promote higher levels of data quality, they will also positively impact data security and compliance to regulatory laws and regulations.
Data audits will also identify where data owners and stewards may be required, any extraneous data sources that internal departments or lines of business’ may be using without IT’s knowledge, and the location of all data sources within the organization.
Audits don’t need to be a painful experience. Keeping things simple and sticking to a data audit framework is the secret to a successful audit. Organizations that perform audits on a regular basis will have a comprehensive inventory of all data assets, a clear understanding of any data issues that exist, and where data ownership and accountability may be lacking. It’s in every organization’s best interest to perform regular data audits.
To complete your own data audit see Info-Tech’s Integrate a Data Audit into the Data Management Plan.