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Seventy-nine zettabytes of data was “…created, captured, copied and consumed” in 2021 alone, according to Statista. (In case you’re wondering, a zettabyte has 21 zeros after it, and is roughly the amount of data in 30 billion ultra-high-definition movies.) That’s a staggering amount of information people and companies are kicking off, and an incredible scope of opportunity for businesses. The trouble is, as companies lock down their data for security reasons, much of the insight it can provide is being locked up, too.
The simple truth is that most companies are sitting on a goldmine of information — it’s just too hard to use, because business leaders have seen thefines andheadlines associated with breaches, and don’t want to take any risks. And that’s a real missed opportunity.
As companies add layer after layer of security, it’s harder and harder to wrangle that data and make it anything more than a cost center to secure. Data-sharing agreements are getting more and more convoluted, due diligence is getting more complicated and difficult to complete and technical risk assessments are both more expensive and taking longer. You need more people involved and/or have to pay outsiders for audits. Finally, access logistics are becoming harder and audits more frequent and disruptive.
Today’s security tools make risk more manageable, but what we really need is data agility — having protections in place, but also having the tools to make information easy to use, as well as an understanding of how to best put it to work.
The key to such agility is having a few essential controls in place.
1. A platform that shields you from your processor partner’s complexity
Secure data sharing services let you collect data once, with one consent agreement that covers every use. Meanwhile, new controlling and processing surveillance technologies like digital contracts can control what data can be used by which partners and stop misuse in real time. Even if your partners have byzantine permissions processes or procedures, it doesn’t matter. Your data platform handles the complexity and gives you meaningful reporting that will keep you apprised of how much of the data is being used where and how, and how much isn’t. These processes should also be highly predictable, completely safe and infinitely repeatable. It’s a game changer for managing data and managing use risk.
2. A clear indication of what analytics are being used
You or your data compliance team need to be able to review and understand with precision any analytics being used. To use a manufacturing analogy, you need to understand not just the final product, but also how the sausage is made along the way.
3. The ability to validate for trusted algorithms
You want to be sure the right people are touching the right data at the right time. Your data platform should be able to look for a fingerprint in code before anything is allowed to happen, and everything should have Zero Trust authentication backing it up.
4. The ability to set limits on what you share
You need to be sure you’re turning over just the data the partner needs, not an entire database, and trust-enabling technologies referred to as “confidential compute” can keep associated processing safe. In short, you should have full confidence that only the data you allow will be used, even for informal analysis.
5. A view on the value you are creating
This one is especially important if you want your data to also increase your revenue. You need to make sure you’re seeing what’s being generated from the results, and understand the value for your partners. This is the only way you’re really going to know what your data is worth and be able to price it accordingly.
When all the right data management platform and processes are in place, risks are manageable and the upside is clear, and that is data agility: the confidence that it’s secure and is only being used in ways that won’t land you and your company in hot water.
In fact, agility maturity means you really don’t need to care who is using your data: You know it will be used correctly and that nobody can screw it up, and that’s a goal everyone can get behind.