Prioritizing Data Management and Security in a Growing Business

Prioritizing data management in your business is a critical step in the future growth of that business, learn more in this post.

Prioritizing Data Management

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Many things can disrupt the flow of a growing business. But unmanaged, exposed data is at the top of the list. 


Data plays a significant role in almost every business decision. In addition, it guides the way you interact with and support your internal team, customers, and external partners. Mismanaging and neglecting to protect such critical information can lead to harmful decisions and interactions that alter your company’s future. 


Putting more effort into data management and security is critical for growing businesses. This article will help you navigate what exactly that entails. Let’s first discuss prioritizing data management. 

Prioritizing Data Management 

As much as we appreciate business growth, it comes with more data. Not being prepared to manage it effectively can lead to significant setbacks in your company, including inefficiently allocating resources or making tech decisions that halt your team’s productivity.


Here’s what to do to better your data management strategy and make working with more information more seamless.  

Create a data-rich culture 

A data-rich culture uses data to back its decisions in every department across the entire organization. Instead of data collection and analysis being a “marketing thing” or an “IT thing,” it’s at the core of how each person in the organization approaches decision-making. 


For data management to be the best it can be, you must create a data-centric culture. When each person understands data’s role and importance in your company, they’ll be more inclined to treat it with caution and care. 


Create some literature around your company’s values regarding data. Share its role in each department and how efficient use of it can enhance them. 


More importantly, discuss how each person is to use data for decision-making. This section will develop over time, and your team will need training to adhere to it. Still, get as detailed as possible about the beliefs they should adopt and behaviors they should display regarding data. 

Define why you’re collecting data 

Just like everything else in your business, there needs to be a purpose for collecting data. Not only will this make the organization and management process easier, but it will also ease the burden of extracting meaningful insights from your data. 


If you haven’t already, write down why you’re collecting data and what you want to do with it. When you or your team need access to specific data, you’ll know where to get the information you need. And if you need to move the data around, you’ll know where to put it for the most efficient use. 

Create a system for collecting and filtering data 

How will you collect data? How will you distribute it to the appropriate places and people? These are two questions that seem simple but are pretty layered when you start answering them. But both must be answered to create a straightforward system for collecting and filtering data.  


Properly handling data is almost impossible if the information you’re collecting is inaccurate and going to the wrong places. 


So, if need be, refine how you collect data first. Analyze the efficiency of your current data collection tools and the platforms you’re collecting data on. 


After that, take note of where your data goes. Does everything go to a central system, or does the data stay with the tools or platforms that collect it? Even further, how does processed data reach the appropriate department or team member? 


It may be time to implement an all-in-one data collection and analysis tool, a database management system, or both. 

Get multiple perspectives on your data 

It’s an incredible ask of anyone to take on data management by themself. Datasets are way too vast, come way too often, and you’re trying to achieve way too many things with them for this to be an ideal situation. 


Of course, many businesses have to start with a one-person data management team. But growing companies shouldn’t continue that way. Instead, you should create a workflow that allows multiple perspectives on your data. Even if it means hiring data specialists. 

Hire data specialists 

We aren’t saying you should make everyone on your team a data analyst. But we are saying that managing more organizational data needs to be in capable hands. That’s where a data specialist comes in. 


Generally, a data specialist oversees database performances, creates new databases, interprets data, and turns it into actionable insights. Having one or two on your team can transform how you collect, store, organize, and use data. 


You could take it a step further and hire a data management specialist. This individual is the point person for managing data in a particular department. Their ability to analyze and validate the data collected, as well as organize it straightforwardly, is critical for successful data management. 


Although 97% of respondents in this report acknowledged challenges in finding talented data scientists, architects, analysts, and engineers, you can validate the time and effort spent recruiting with the results these professionals can generate regarding data management. 


Determine the specifics of the kind of data professional your management strategy needs. Next, create a job posting and application that cater to your ideal candidate. Be sure to shop that job posting around on job search engines, your website, social media profiles, and your email list. 


Then, take candidates through an extensive interview process. Ask questions that help you get a feel for their data literacy and how they can take your data management process to the next level. 

Focus on keeping your data clean 

Your data’s influence will eventually fizzle out if you adopt a “set it and forget it” approach to managing it. Data is always-collecting and ever-changing. So, you must have a hands-on approach to ensure it stays clean. 


Cleaning data refers to removing inaccurate, incorrect, and duplicate data from a dataset. When you think about how large some datasets are, cleaning them is the last thing you want to do. But it’s not a choice if you want to prioritize data management. 


Here’s a simple process for cleaning data that you should do at least twice a month: 


  1. Remove duplicate data and irrelevant information 
  2. Fix any structural issues with your data (i.e., typos, incorrect names)
  3. Identify data that doesn’t seem to “fit” based on your goals for this particular dataset and consider removing it 
  4. Deal with missing data 
  5. Confirm whether the changes you’ve made make sense 

How to Elevate Security 

It’s not just critical to collect, process, store, and organize data, but it’s also essential to secure it. Without the proper security measures in place for your data, the growth of your team, customer, external partner, stakeholder relationships, and business overall are at risk.  


A great way to illustrate this is through the increasing use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) tools in business. Companies use VR headsets to make employee recruiting, onboarding, and training more immersive. In addition, remote and hybrid workers participate in virtual tours and work sessions to keep them connected to the rest of the team. 


But as VR and AR use grows, so do the data collection opportunities. If the confidential employee information traveling through these tech tools ever got into the wrong hands, it could ruin your relationships with your employees and your business’s reputation. 


Ultimately, enhanced account security, privacy protection tools, and safety measures are needed to secure the data flowing through your growing business properly. Elevate your security with the following tips. 

Revisit your data 

Revisit your data with your security glasses on. You can assume that all of your company, customer, and other private business information needs to be secure. This step is more about determining how confidential different data is and the level of protection it needs.  


For example, employee phone numbers, addresses, and emails are highly confidential and need extra security measures. On the other hand, your company name and address are public information and probably won’t need the same level of security. 


Go back through the datasets you’ve collected thus far and identify these things for each.

Consider physical and digital copies 

There’s a reason why when you sign an important document, they ask if you want a copy. It’s for security purposes. Just in case the original is lost, there’s a discrepancy in the information, or a fraudulent duplicate document surfaces, that copy is the one source of truth the involved parties can count on. 


It’s the same train of thought when thinking about the documents and data you’re storing. Some digital files should have a paper copy to back them up, and vice versa. Yes, the cloud and other digital storage solutions usually come with backup storage functions. 


But considering secure, physical storage options for your most important data isn’t a bad idea. 

Thoroughly research and incorporate cybersecurity tools 

Top-tier cybersecurity tools are non-negotiable when prioritizing data security. Most of your data will be collected, processed, analyzed, stored, and organized online. 


So, without digital security solutions, your business, customer, and employee information is a click away from being in the hands of a cyberthief, angry employee, or someone else who has no business with it. 


The first step to incorporating cybersecurity tools is thoroughly researching the options available to you. Depending on the data you need to secure, and where you need to secure it, you’ll likely be looking for one of the following tools:


  • Network security monitoring tools 
  • Antivirus software
  • Encryption tools 
  • Firewall tools 
  • Employee monitoring software 
  • Mobile security software 
  • Security vulnerability assessment 
  • A virtual private network (VPN)


Each has a different purpose, and having them all may be what you need. But don’t feel like you have to incorporate every tool or the most expensive ones. Instead, identify your budget and weigh that against the tools available for your specific cybersecurity needs. 

Use at least two layers of protection for your files 

There shouldn’t be a file, dataset, or document accessible through a single action. This should be the rule across your entire organization. What we mean by a single act is typing in a password or entering a PIN code to gain access to data. 


If anything, it should be both. The sensitive nature of your organizational data warrants at least two layers of protection before it’s accessible, maybe more for your most private information. 


For example, you could password protect your PDFs and other files, require an additional code once that password is put in, and then ask for answers to security questions before granting access to organizational data. 


Categorize your data on different tiers based on their level of confidentiality. After that, create systems for accessing data on each tier. And only grant access to those who follow the security measures to a T. 

Ensure everyone becomes security literate 

Your data security measures become much more powerful when everyone on your team understands and abides by them. Instead of just a few people in your organization leading the security movement, your entire organization defends against threats and potential risks. 


Ensure everyone becomes security literate by implementing regular training. Constantly communicate updates to your security measures. Train your employees on how to perform them and what to do in the case of various security threats. 


It isn’t the amount of data that should scare you. It’s the inability to manage and secure it properly that should. Without successfully prioritizing data management and security, your business will succumb to the ever-growing, ever-changing nature of data, never really experiencing its power and influence.  


Prioritizing data management and security won’t be a one-note project. But it’s a much more direct one with the guidance above.