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Improve Data Understanding, Accessibility, & Control With an Automated Data Catalog

By Securiti Research Team
Published August 10, 2023

With the rapid expansion of data across multiple clouds, it is extremely difficult for companies to manually track all the data systems and data that exists within their organization. Business and technical users need to easily search and explore this data to enable analytics that drive business insight. Personal and sensitive data insights are also required for privacy, security, and governance. Companies need a centralized metadata repository that keeps track of what data exists, how it was sourced, where the data is located, as well as insight into the type, meaning, intended use and sensitivity of the data.

A data catalog provides a repository for all the metadata to be stored. It is the tool your users should leverage to identify and locate important data that enables them to drive business value. An accurate, up to date data catalog with comprehensive coverage of your systems, enables users to easily find, understand, trust, and access the data they need, as well as secure and govern the processes around their data.

Automate the metadata management framework

Rather than rely on business users to manually register data assets, organizations should leverage automated data discovery and classification to build a robust metadata management framework that provides insights into the data. The framework can enable organizations to automatically catalog what data exists, where it resides and provide rich metadata context, such as the data type, freshness, meaning, intended use, and sensitivity. It is also critical for the framework to address all data assets, including on-premises systems, SaaS applications, IaaS, and cloud data lakes and warehouses. Whereas traditional approaches focus on structured systems, the vast majority of data now resides in unstructured systems, which are important to include. An automated data catalog is the foundation for a modern metadata management framework that reduces labor and effort, increases accuracy, enhances granular insights and ensures broad coverage.

In playing the role of the centralized repository, a data catalog provides the single source of truth around corporate data. At its core, a data catalog should be able to answer broad scope of questions such as:

  • Where can I find a specific piece of data?
  • Where did the data come from?
  • What is the end-to-end lineage of data?
  • What is the business meaning of a specific data element?
  • How fresh and up-to-date is my data?

Enable data security and privacy governance

Ideally, a data catalog should play a much broader role than just provide information on what data you have and where. It should also answer questions around privacy, security, and governance, such as:

  • What data is sensitive?
  • What are our retention policies around data?
  • How do I access specific data for compliance audits?
  • Can I use this data per company policy?

By answering these questions, a data catalog provides critical context to business users, enabling them to decide whether a particular dataset can be used in line with data privacy, security, and governance policies.

Collaborate using Data Catalog as the source of truth

In the absence of a centralized data catalog, data governance teams and users often collaborate in silos, leveraging spreadsheets and docs to share information about their data. This approach is not scalable nor secure, as information gets lost in files and emails. Additionally, with different teams maintaining their own version of metadata, it becomes harder to collaborate when information doesn’t align across teams.

The data catalog becomes a central tool that enables users to discover datasets and share tribal knowledge with other teams. Data users can leverage domain knowledge to establish a central glossary of business terms and map them to various datasets. The end result is a consistent data taxonomy that can be leveraged company-wide. The solution also enables domain experts across privacy, security, and governance to collaborate and enrich security and privacy metadata, such as data sensitivity and consent requirements.

How Can Securiti Help?

Securiti enables users to automatically leverage data discovery and classification to build structured and unstructured data catalogs that are always up to date. The Securiti Data Catalog is a holistic solution that makes it easier for users to find datasets and review security and privacy metadata to determine the data’s appropriateness for their project.

To learn more about Securiti’s Data Catalog, schedule a demo now.

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