Data Governance Moves up the Agenda

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From the perspective of an IT manager, end users are always in a state of rebellion. But with the advent of Web 2.0 applications and the rise of employee-owned devices in the enterprise, the rebels are winning.

Of course, IT managers will naturally want to ramp up compliance and security to try to keep everybody in line. But as we all know, productivity usually trumps those issues, so the question is where can IT find another line of defense to at least secure the data that people access on all kinds of applications and devices?

Raphael Reich, senior director of marketing for Varonis Systems, a provider of data governance software, thinks these trends are going to force companies to get more serious about protecting data. That means, he says, on the one hand identifying and protecting sensitive data, and then making sure business users know it's their responsibility to determine who should have access to it.

After all, Reich notes, it's unreasonable to expect IT organizations to know which data is important to the business. Most IT people will never be able to identify sensitive corporate information largely because there is just too much information floating around the system. The best IT can do, says Reich, is identify who owns that data and advise them about how to secure it.

Of course, the people who own the data are the same people that want to access it using any application and device they please. So the real challenge for 2010 will be finding a middle ground when it comes to securely accessing data that everybody can live with.