Who is the Data Guardian?

The ‘Data Guardian’ may sound like a mythical superhero for the tech lovers’ generation, but they really do exist, in every IT department, in every company. With news on viruses, hacking, and data security breaches reported almost daily, organizations are thinking twice about whose responsibility it is to protect their company’s data. With the vast majority of company data held in IT applications such as Document Management Systems (DMS), Enterprise Content Management systems (ECM), and cloud collaboration platforms, the role of the ‘Data Guardian’ is taken on by IT.

Collaboration is key

As protectors of company data, IT is responsible for enforcing policy and procedures around data usage, minimizing loss, and keeping sensitive information secure. Data is the lifeblood of a whole organization andhe amount being generated is growing rapidly, so the question is; who is responsible for it?

The end user is the master creator of data. They also access it, store it on devices, and share it with whoever they want to. Their interaction with data is near constant but often users do not feel any responsibility for protecting it. Is this right? Should the buck stop with IT alone?

To truly protect data, responsibility must be shared across an entire organization – between both IT and end users. End users create data, so it makes sense for them to determine what information is sensitive, valuable, or critical and to create an inventory of that information, and to classify it. They then need to liaise with the ‘Data Guardian’ to ensure that the appropriate level of protection is put in place. IT and end users need to work together. If files are stored in a cloud collaboration application for example, the business manager would need to ask the IT department to secure it and put controls in place to ensure only specific people can access or collaborate on the document. Doing so reinforces IT’s role as the ‘Data Guardian’.

Letting Go of ‘No’

Relations between end users and IT are not always smooth. Constantly hearing the word ‘no’ from IT when it comes to consumer device usage or social media can frustrate end users. To keep everyone happy, IT needs to educate end users on what’s acceptable and what isn’t, as well as provide appropriate tools that ensure data security but still enable end users to do their job. Workshare Protect Server enables end users to send files via email, while keeping them protected. Sensitive metadata hidden in files is prevented from being inadvertently shared, without the end user having to do anything. The ‘Data Guardian’ succeeds in protecting data, while the end user can perform their jobs without interruption. It’s win-win.