A new report has unveiled the primary concerns that corporate Australia has about its data governance.
According to the “Digital Trust – Corporate awareness and attitudes to consumer data” report, produced by Governance Institute of Australia and CSIRO’s Data61, risk to brand and reputation from mishandling data, a disconnect between IT leaders and business executives, and difficulty in putting a value on data are the most prominent risks for Australian corporate entities.
Based on a survey of Australian governance and risk professionals, the report purports to uncover key areas of concern and risk for corporate Australia as they navigate an increasingly complex data governance landscape.
Among the report’s findings was that there is a “disconnect” between IT and business leaders regarding the risk and opportunity of consumer data, as well as uncertainty over who is responsible and accountable for the data governance strategy.
It is difficult, the report continued, “to put a value on data”, but noted it is an important step when evaluating the risk managing of said data.
Elsewhere, organisations that value consumer data are more likely to consider it in their strategies and business models, the report said.
“Organisations with a data governance strategy are more likely to be aware of the risks in handling consumer data and they are significantly more likely to recognise that mishandling consumer data presents a high risk to brand and reputation,” it found.
Moreover, there is “inconsistency” in data governance reporting chains and expectations of who is responsible for managing consumer data issues, and respondents to the survey were “more concerned” about the risks of damage to brand and reputation than cybercrime or disruptions when it comes to innovating and legislative or regulatory change.
CSIRO’s Data61 senior research consultant Rob Hanson, who was the lead author of the report, said: “In an environment of rising cybercrime, increasingly valuable consumer data, and a maturing regulatory environment – forming a strong chain of data governance, underpinned by trust, appears to be a very necessary capability.”
The age of coronavirus has, he proclaimed, added “extra complexity and urgency” for robust governance capabilities.
“COVID-19 has forced a more rapid adoption of digital services. Consequently, confidence, trust and privacy are all critical for consumers to have in the businesses that they interact with. Trust-enhancing technologies, including cyber security and privacy-enhancing services, are a key enabler of good governance and mitigating risks while maintaining a competitive advantage,” he outlined.
Governance Institute of Australia CEO Megan Motto added that the report has reinforced that data governance must be driven from the top and a data governance strategy is imperative.
“Strong oversight from board and management is essential for good data governance,” she said.
“This means ensuring a data governance strategy is in place that includes data modelling, removing duplicated data and cleansing data to remove redundant and corrupt data. A board simply cannot afford to be disconnected any longer from their organisation’s data management strategy. To do so is a recipe for serious brand and business failure.”