Azure Data Governance

Big data has become an industry buzzword in every field, from finance to medicine. It promises to extract order from chaos, reveal deep business insights, and improve decision-making. In short, it promises to revolutionize the way you do business. Truth is, with a powerful platform like Azure by your side, big data can help you accomplish much more than this.

But big data also poses many challenges. For example, how can you maintain the availability, usability, integrity, and security of your enterprise data? How can you ensure it’s always high quality? How can you control access to the data and how it is used? These key questions must be answered through the lens of data governance.

In this article, we explore the various aspects of data governance in Microsoft Azure, including data security, privacy, management, and compliance. We discuss the governance tools and services available in Azure, as well as the best practices for maximizing value.

What Is Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft Azure is a leading cloud computing platform. It boasts over 200 different products and services to facilitate storage, virtual computing, networking, analytics, data management, and data governance solutions. Today, over half-a-million organizations depend on Azure to effectively build, deploy, and manage applications and services.

What Is Data Governance?

Data governance is a central element of any cloud computing platform—including Azure. Simply put, it’s a collection of policies and processes for managing, organizing, protecting, and disposing of enterprise data.

What Is a Data Governance Policy?

A data governance policy defines the specific approach to data governance within your organization. A good policy ensures that every byte in your data landscape is accurate, secure, and accessible to those who need it—in real time. Policies vary depending on the type of data in question, such as master data, metadata, transactional data, etc.

What Are Data Governance Principles?

Your data governance policy should adhere to a certain set of guiding principles, known as data governance principles. These high-level principles include things like data quality, transparency, accountability, and others.

What Is a Data Governance Framework?

A data governance framework is a comprehensive and structured outline of your organization’s specific rules, processes, and role delegations surrounding enterprise data. A solid and cohesive framework is key to ensuring that your data continues to drive success. Generally speaking, a framework is comprised of the following components:

  • Data governance policy
  • Data stewardship
  • Data classification
  • Data access and control
  • Data privacy and security
  • Data quality management
  • Data retention and disposal
  • Compliance

Data Governance: Putting It All Together

We’ve covered a lot of ground in the pursuit of governing data. If you’re confused by the nuances of the above concepts, don’t worry. We can clear things up with a helpful analogy.

Say you’re a hiker in the forest. You, as a hiker, represent your organization, while the forest is not a landscape of trees and trails, but rather of big data. Now, suppose you have a compass. That compass is data governance. It is the thing that will let you navigate your data management practices and determine which direction to take.

We know that a compass is naturally drawn to magnetic north. Like magnetic north, data governance principles act as a reference point for your compass, helping you adjust your direction based on its consistent location.

But to get where you want to go, your compass needs a bearing. Your data governance policy is that bearing. It provides the exact direction to follow on your journey.

Finally, your data governance framework is like a map. This map offers a detailed, structured, and comprehensive view of the entire data forest: Policies are trails, waterways are processes, and landmarks are data governance technology.

Azure Data Governance

Data Governance vs. Data Management

There is one final concept we should clear up and that is the difference between data governance and data management. While the two concepts are closely related, there are several key differences you need to be aware of.

As we’ve already seen, data governance refers to the specific policies, processes, and standards as to how data should be used within your organization. This includes things like defining policies regarding the use and management of data, who is responsible for that data, who can access it, and how it should be used.

Data management, on the other hand, focuses on the technical, day-to-day tasks involved in maintaining and actually using that data. For example, managing data covers things like storage and warehousing, integration, processing, modeling, backup and recovery, and metadata management.

Learn more about our some of our Azure services

Managed Azure Services

Managed Governance & Compliance Services

                            Data Modernization Services

AI Governance Services

Azure Data Governance Features and Services

Azure offers a host of data governance platform services to help organizations manage their data assets. Some of the key Azure data governance features and services include:

Azure Policy

Azure Policy lets you create, assign, and manage Azure policies. It helps you enforce compliance according to the standards and regulations your business adheres to.

Azure Active Directory (AD)

A centralized identity and access management solution, AD provides role-based access control. This helps secure all of your data assets, both on-prem and in the cloud, while also providing support for data discovery.

Azure Information Protection (AIP)

AIP is a data classification and protection solution that lets you classify, label, and protect sensitive information based on custom protection rules. It’s an especially powerful defense against data breaches.

Azure Data Factory

This service is all about cloud-based data lineage and integration. It lets you create, schedule, and orchestrate data pipelines to move and transform data from source to destination (both within and outside of the Azure ecosystem).

This dramatically boosts your efficiency, security, and scalability when it comes to data integration. Also includes a data catalog.

Azure Data Lake Storage (ADLS)

ADLS is a scalable and secure data lake solution. It’s designed to help you effectively store and analyze large quantities of data, both structured and unstructured, in a single repository. It’s especially useful as a master data management solution.

Azure Audit

Azure Audit provides you with centralized logging and auditing of various events and actions taken within Azure. This lets you track changes to resources, analyze user activity, and identify potential security risks/compliance issues.

Azure Log Analytics

This is Azure’s cloud-based log analysis solution. It provides insights into your collected data, letting you monitor and troubleshoot your systems. This helps maintain the availability, security, and performance of your resources.

Azure Event Grid

A cloud-based event-routing service, Event Grid lets you route events from multiple data sources to multiple destinations. It’s a highly scalable and reliable platform for event-driven apps and event-based workflows, helping you automate tedious tasks and complex processes.

These are just some of the data governance features and services you’ll find in Azure. Using them will empower your organization to improve visibility, gain control over data assets, reduce the risk of data breaches, and ensure compliance.

Data Governance Principles

9 Azure Data Governance Best Practices

Let’s look at nine key best practices to maximize the value of Azure’s data governance tools.

1. Define data ownership

Establish clear lines of responsibility for Azure data management and ensure that all stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities.

2. Classify data

Classify data according to sensitivity and importance, and establish policies and procedures for how that data should be managed and protected.

3. Implement identity and access management

Use tools like Azure AD to manage access to data and enforce role-based access control.

4. Use data protection solutions

Implement AIP and other data protection solutions to classify, label, and protect sensitive data.

5. Monitor and audit data access

Use Log Analytics and other monitoring/auditing tools to monitor and track access to data, and detect and respond to suspicious activity.

6. Implement data retention policies

Leverage services like Azure Policy to enforce data retention policies, and to securely delete data your business no longer requires.

7. Automate data management processes

Use Azure Data Factory and other tools to automate Azure data management services, such as data ingestion, transformation, and movement.

8. Ensure data privacy

Ensure that personal data is processed and stored in compliance with privacy regulations such as CCPA, HIPAA, GDPR, GLBA, and LGPD.

9. Keep software and systems up-to-date

Regularly update your software and systems to ensure you have the latest security patches and features.

Build A Custom Azure Data Governance Strategy With Atmosera

Effective data governance is essential for organizations to ensure their enterprise data’s security, privacy, quality, and compliance. Data governance platforms like Microsoft Azure offer a comprehensive set of tools and features that let businesses do exactly that.

Whether you’re just starting out with Microsoft Azure or you’re a seasoned veteran, Atmosera can help you achieve your data governance objectives. With nearly three decades of industry experience, we’ve helped countless organizations optimize their data and data governance software.

Contact us today to learn more, or check out some of our success stories.

Stay Informed

Sign up for the latest blogs, events, and insights.

We deliver solutions that accelerate the value of Azure.
Ready to experience the full power of Microsoft Azure?