How Automated Data Lineage Improves Governance and Compliance

Organizations that work with data need to have governance and compliance measures in place. Learn about the benefits of automated data lineage here.
Last updated
May 2, 2024

All organizations that generate and collect data need to have data governance and compliance measures in place. The governance and compliance standards may differ across industries, but the consequences of failing to adhere to regulations are often similar. Consequences can include heavy fines, legal penalties, loss of reputation and customer trust, and more.

Of course, data governance and compliance aren’t always simple. But, you can make it much easier to adhere to compliance regulations by implementing automated data lineage. In this blog, we’ll talk about how automated data lineage improves governance and compliance and the benefits of implementing it in your organization.

Why Is It Important?

Needless to say, governance and compliance are critical facets of data management. However, as data landscapes become more complex, it can be difficult to maintain and enforce the proper governance and compliance measures. Data lineage processes can help, but manually tracking lineage is resource-intensive and time-consuming. This is where automated data lineage comes in.

Automated data lineage is the process of tracking the lifecycle of data assets. This includes the origin of data, transformations, movement across applications and systems, and destinations. Without data lineage processes in place, it can be difficult for organizations to pinpoint where data errors and inaccuracies are coming from and where data is going. 

Automated data lineage allows your team to see end-to-end lineage across your entire data stack, increasing transparency and visibility into your organization’s data. Automated tools can also immediately notify both downstream and upstream owners of critical errors, so they can be resolved right away.

Automated data lineage helps organizations to streamline regulatory compliance processes. Regulatory policies such as GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and SOX demand that companies are able to maintain accurate records of data assets, tracing lineage at every stage of a data assets lifecycle. Automated tools can create documentation and compliance reports on demand, allowing you to remain compliant with the necessary regulatory bodies.

In short, increased visibility, traceability, and quality improve your data governance and compliance overall. Automated data lineage enables all of this and more, making it increasingly valuable in the modern data-driven organization.

What Are the Benefits?

We briefly touched on the benefits of automated data lineage above, but it’s well worth taking a more in-depth look into each of these benefits. Let’s take a look at the top advantages of automated data lineage in relation to data governance and compliance before we dive into some best practices.

Enhances data transparency and visibility

First and foremost, automated data lineage enhances data transparency and visibility. When you have a clear overview of how data is used, transformed, and stored, you can improve the consistency and quality of your data. This also allows users to trace data flow from origin to destinations across your entire data stack, which provides stakeholders additional insight and information to drive decision-making.

Automated data lineage also provides comprehensive metadata, including data quality metrics, data lineage relationships, and data transformation rules. This information helps stakeholders identify data dependencies, data usage, and data ownership, among other critical data-related issues. Additionally, enhanced data transparency and data lineage allow teams to make informed decisions about data security, reducing overall risk and protecting sensitive data assets.

Streamlines regulatory compliance processes

Another primary benefit of automated data lineage is its ability to streamline regulatory compliance processes. As discussed before, failure to adhere to regulatory compliance requirements can result in a number of severe consequences that can be extremely damaging to a business.

Automated data lineage takes the guesswork and manual processes required to track and report lineage to demonstrate compliance with GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and more. Businesses don’t have to spend inordinate amounts of time responding to regulatory inquiries with these automated measures in place.

Along with reducing the time and resources needed for reporting, organizations can also proactively address potential compliance issues as they arise. Knowing how data flows through an organization allows data governance stewards to identify areas of improvement and resolve potential compliance issues before they become a problem. Rather than going through the arduous process of identifying these issues without tools, automated data lineage software can automatically alert users to errors, saving time, money, and headaches.

Mitigates risks

Ultimately, compliance regulations are in place to mitigate risk. These strict policies and regulations ensure the protection and proper usage of data collected, and data governance strategies ensure organizations can adhere to them.

Automated data lineage provides an end-to-end view of data lineage, so organizations can detect issues and discrepancies at any stage of the data lifecycle. This, in turn, helps mitigate the risk of data breaches, compliance breaches, and other risks.

By monitoring data changes at every stage of the lifecycle of data assets, automated data lineage tools can alert users to suspicious or unauthorized activity. While prevention is paramount, it’s equally important for organizations to quickly detect cyber threats when they do occur. This can greatly reduce damage and prevent the problem from snowballing.

In short, automated data lineage greatly improves an organization’s ability to be proactive in mitigating risk. But it can also help organizations be more reactive when other measures fail.

Enables data traceability

As we’ve learned, data lineage traces data from origin to destination. You get a comprehensive view of how data is collected, transformed, and used in your organization across your entire data stack. This level of advanced traceability helps in numerous areas of data governance.

For example, if a regulatory body requires you to prove that only authorized users have access to sensitive data, you could easily produce a report and documentation that shows who accesses sensitive data and how it’s used.

Automated data lineage allows you to trace data to a granular level, which is incredibly helpful for reporting, audits, and even emergency events like data breaches. When a breach occurs, you can trace where the data was accessed quickly and mitigate the severity of the breach. You can also trace errors and inconsistencies to the source, so you can resolve or eliminate the origin points of bad or inaccurate data.

Ultimately, data traceability helps with nearly every facet of data governance. Automated data lineage makes data traceability easier than ever, no matter how many data sources you have or the size of your organization.

Data Management and Compliance Best Practices

Implementing data management and compliance best practices can help your organization ensure data security, privacy, and compliance with industry standards and regulations. Here are some of the best practices to follow:

  • Define and maintain data standards - Make sure you have well-defined data quality standards in place. You want your data assets to be as accurate and consistent as possible. Using data cataloging tools and creating a data dictionary can help your teams understand what is expected and how to maintain standards.
  • Establish data governance policies - It’s essential to establish comprehensive data governance policies and implement a data governance strategy to enforce those policies. It helps to create a framework for data privacy and security and use tools to automate these processes.
  • Implement policies at every data lifecycle stage - Make sure you have governance policies in place for every stage of the data lifecycle. This will help ensure end-to-end compliance from origin to destination.
  • Implement access controls - Access control software can help you protect sensitive data and prevent unauthorized access.
  • Identify data stewards - Make sure to identify the data stewards across departments and outline their responsibilities for maintaining data compliance and data governance.
  • Conduct regular data risk assessments - Have a process in place for assessing risk on a regular basis. This will help you identify potential vulnerabilities and address them. 
  • Use automated data lineage - Automated data lineage tools like Secoda will ensure you have transparency and visibility across all of your data systems. If you want to improve your data governance and compliance measures, automated data lineage can be incredibly useful.
  • Stay up to date with industry regulations - Remember to continually update your processes to meet any changes to industry regulations. As compliance measures like GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and others continue to evolve with the times, it’s important to ensure your organization updates its governance policies to keep up.

Staying up to date with industry best practices will help you stay ahead of the curve and update your data governance policies and processes as necessary. As we’ve discussed, the investment in thorough data governance and compliance processes is well worth it, as it allows you to avoid bigger problems down the line. Using the right tools, such as automated data lineage platforms, will allow you to improve these processes in a fraction of the time.

Try Secoda for Free

Secoda is your all-in-one solution for automated data lineage, AI-powered data management, data analysis, data cataloging, and much more. Secoda’s automated data lineage tool can eliminate the need for your team to do many of those tedious, error-prone data governance tasks. You’ll get to see end-to-end lineage across your entire data stack, which will streamline and simplify your impact analysis processes. 

Secoda allows your team to identify the impact of changes down to the table, column, or report level. Used no-code integrations, you can set up schedules, permissions, and additional settings for recurring data extractions to keep everything up to date. In short, Secoda will give you visibility into your data lineage like never before. Ready to learn more? Schedule your demo or try Secoda for free today.

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