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Data is the most important asset of an organization and it’s growing fast. With massive amounts of data coming from different sources, data governance has evolved into a key management challenge, a challenge squarely placed on storage admin’s shoulders.
Privacy awareness, data allocation, metadata, data security, and cloud integration are now data governance variables that storage admins need to consistently monitor. Ensuring your data estate is well managed helps companies avoid problems while also bringing competitive value.
In this article, we examine the most important data governance challenges storage admins face today and how Cloud Data Sense can help.
Use the links below to jump down to the sections on:
- Data Governance Challenges for Storage Admin
- How Cloud Data Sense Can Help Storage Admins
Data Governance Challenges for Storage Admin
While every company has its own unique roadblocks when it comes to data governance, there are some key challenges that storage admins will have in common. Here are some data governance challenges that storage admins and their organizations face today.
Contending With Siloed Data
With data volumes growing rapidly, data segmentation can happen very easily. But what exactly is a data silo and how can it affect an organization?
A data silo is a data repository that is not easily accessible from other departments or apps within the company. Silos can easily contain data that is inconsistent or duplicated across departments and application repositories.
As an example, a company’s marketing department could be using an app to store campaign information while the sales department could be storing their sales data in another. This can present an issue when the company needs to cross-reference the data collected from the marketing campaign with the sales results.
Silos can also be created through the use of different applications. In particular, using multiple SaaS offerings tends to create silos as these services likely will not integrate with one another.
Siloed data can interfere with this otherwise straightforward objective, resulting in:
- Higher IT infrastructure costs due to duplicate data and applications.
- Uninformed decision-making due to limited data visibility
- Poor collaboration across teams and departments.
Working With Limited Resources
Establishing a data governance framework comes with a cost, and organizations must be able to allocate the necessary resources—both budget and teams—to execute such a program. However, these teams are generally made up of staff members who have other main duties, such as storage admins.
Storage admins often hold more responsibility as they are the ones with deep dive access to all the data estate. Gaining this deep dive access means that data must be mapped and categorized. This often requires complex scripts or different tools in order to map and qualify all the data.
Storage admins wind up devoting enormous amounts of both time and resources into completing these tasks, time that they ultimately could have spent devoting to other critical jobs.
Retaining low-quality data
Storage admins need to ask the right questions to assess the quality of existing data sets. A storage admin needs to answer a number of questions about the data on hand:
- What was the objective for collecting this data?
- Is this data necessary for the business to keep on hand?
- Does the quality of the existing data align with the organization’s goals and requirements?
It is important to draw a line between relevant and outdated data or non-business related data. Having irrelevant data in primary storage can be a considerable cost. The storage devoted to sub-par data could be better used to provision mission-critical workload storage, especially in a rapid data growth environment.
Outdated data can have short-term operational impact as this could lead to providing a particular service incorrectly for an existing customer or having to dedicate additional time in catching up and re-entering the information.
In general, retaining poor data quality can represent a higher cost down the road than tackling this challenge at once.
Establishing Data Leadership
Strong data leadership ensures that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and communication flows up and down from data owners to other parts of the organization. This enables upper management to take actions to shape an effective data management program.
At the other extreme is lack of data leadership and failure to define responsibilities early on. As one of the greatest obstacles to successful data governance, this often leads to other serious issues such as data silos and poor quality data.
Lacking Control Over Data
The data estate is often scattered across different applications, databases, and servers. All these workloads can also reside on-prem or in hybrid or multicloud configurations. Keeping control of this data estate can quickly become a challenge for any storage admin.
Such a diverse setup poses difficulties in data management, including:
- Tracking types of data and their location
- Keeping control of who accesses the data
- Establishing role-based access rights
- Aligning with security policies
- What tools to use to implement all of the above
How Cloud Data Sense Can Help Storage Admins
With data growing at an exponential rate, organizations need the right tools to stay on top of their data. Offering AI-based insights, including data discovery, mapping, and classification, Cloud Data Sense helps organizations tackle data governance challenges head-on. Let’s review some of its key features.
Avoiding silos with data mapping to avoid silos
Streamlining data management is fundamental to eliminating data silos. Cloud Data Sense enables a 360-degree view of all the data in your organization by performing deep scans of all the sources in your data ecosystem, such as databases or non-NetApp NFS shares.
Supported data sources include:
- On-premises storage systems
- Cloud-based ONTAP systems
- Non-NetApp file shares
- CIFS shares
- Amazon S3 buckets
- Multiple databases including MySQL, MongoDB, SAP HANA, and more
- OneDrive accounts
- SharePoint accounts
Once this scan is complete, you’ll be able to view your data estate as a catalog of categories, file types, and storage location from a single dashboard.
Data Sense also offers a feature for data relocation. By running customizable data searches, you can detect if a certain type of data, such as customer profiles, is segmented across different silos. This provides you with the opportunity to take corrective actions, such as copying the data to another location.
Leveraging AI for better resource usage
As mentioned above, mapping and categorizing data which resides in multiple sources is not an easy task for storage admins. With Data Sense, that problem can be solved.
With Data Sense’s AI-driven and context-aware scanning, storage admins no longer need to spend hours writing scripts or using different tools to know with precision which type of files reside in which location. They can now view this from a single tool and they are now free to spend this time attending other business needs.
Data Sense’s algorithm relies on artificial intelligence and natural language processing to scan all your content, understand its meaning, and divide it by category, file type, location, size, and sensitivity.
With Cloud Data Sense, data governance managers can deploy a solution to gain insight and report on the organization’s data in just minutes while employing little to no additional overhead.
Automatic data reporting
Data Sense offers a range of automatic data reporting functions that make the storage admin’s job much easier.
- Reports on stale data, non-business data, and duplicate files. Data Sense scans can identify duplicate and non-business data and report it as areas where potential storage savings can be made. You can then choose to either delete this data or tier it to lower cost object storage.
- Data mapping reports that include used capacity, age of data, size of data, and file types for each working environment.
- Data reports on PII and sensitive data found in your storage volumes, which can be used to respond to regulatory demands.
Data Sense supports storage admins by giving them a way to determine whether or not specific data supports the organization’s business objectives.
Single-pane visibility and control
Cloud Data Sense offers a single dashboard that storage admins can use to get detailed insights across the entire data estate, with additional tools to leverage some much needed control. Think of this dashboard as the window you can look through to understand your own data universe.
The dashboard comes with two main tabs showing the main data metrics of your data environment:
- Governance details tab: Just by clicking and quickly viewing this tab you gain insight on storage saving opportunities and data overview information such as file types, age of data and usage capacity from all the data sources in your data estate.
- Compliance details tab: This tab will summarize the personal and sensitive information present across all your data sources. You can obtain further detailed information about it by just clicking on the icons to view files with credit card numbers, email addresses or any other PII.
The additional tools include :
- File tagging and tracking of a particular file evolution or lineage. You can also tag files for further deletion or to change access permissions.
- Assigning users to files or file groups: Helps with delegating tasks such as changing access permissions due to security requirements. For example, you can tag a group of files containing sensitive data with a “Change Permissions” tag and assign those to an IT admin for permissions configuration.
- Customizable search function: The search function allows you to define your own policies to search for specific data sets. These policies are created by applying a list of possible filters. You can then view the results from the Investigations tab.
All these features provide storage admins and data governance teams with the tools required to regain control over their data estate that otherwise becomes difficult to have.
Data governance isn’t easy. Cloud Data Sense gives users multiple ways to assist in any data governance program. It’s easy to deploy and requires no effort or expertise to implement. After just a single scan, data leaders will have deeper insights into their data, insights that will help in making important business decisions.