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Data Access Governance: a Technical Explainer

February 28, 2024
Mark Stone
4 min read

As cloud adoption skyrockets alongside the surge in the sheer amount of data organizations share, managing access to that data can be overwhelming. While cloud makes collaboration and sharing easier than ever, data discovery and risk assessments are even more difficult. 

All organizations, especially regulated enterprises, have obligations to strictly control employee access to private, sensitive data. Many other corporate activities – such as mergers and acquisitions – also need robust internal information barriers. 

Unfortunately, sensitive data is often embedded in places that are both hard-to-find and hard-to-manage — like financial analysis spreadsheets or business forecast reports. 

Which raises this question: How can organizations find, assess, and control business-critical information to build effective information barriers between internal groups? 

The answer is data access governance. 

What is data access governance? 

Data access governance (DAG) is the process of defining and enforcing policies for how data is accessed and used. It includes defining roles and responsibilities for those who have access to data, setting up processes for granting and revoking access, and auditing data access. 

Data access governance also plays an essential role in ensuring that data is used appropriately and protected from unauthorized access, which can be a significant driver of data loss.

On a broader scale, DAG may also include risk assessments, privacy policy implementation, deploying access controls, discovering and classifying sensitive data, and monitoring access to critical assets. Also critical to data access governance is network traffic analysis, security awareness training, and staying current about new threats, tools, trends and compliance requirements

According to Gartner, “Data Access Governance (DAG) solutions have now become critical as they provide data access assessment, management and real-time monitoring for the unstructured and semi-structured data…DAG solutions help to provide the right level of access for users/groups. DAG also helps customers migrate some of their data repositories from on-premises to the public cloud by classifying data and cleaning up permissions beforehand.”

Gartner®, “Hype Cycle for Data Security, 2021”, Brian Lowans, July 27, 2021.

How does data access governance work? 

The first step in the DAG process is classifying the data, which involves comprehensive data discovery, categorization and risk assessment. 

Second, data access governance allows organizations to meet regulatory mandates for information barriers and access governance, and helps establish zero-trust data access controls to prevent customer data loss. 

The next, and perhaps most important, step is to remediate any risk to the data. 

With robust data access governance, organizations should be able to answer these questions:

  • Where is my business-critical content?
  • Is my sensitive data being shared only with those who are authorized to see it?
  • Has data been shared or accessed inappropriately?

What are the benefits of data access governance?

If there’s one universal benefit of data access governance it’s this: it enables organizations to maintain data security by controlling and monitoring access to their data. 

More specifically, here’s a closer look at three key benefits of DAG: 

Stronger regulatory compliance

As the remote and hybrid work model continues to dominate how employees work and promote more data-driven operations, compliance regulations become more crucial. With data access governance, organizations can improve security and compliance while limiting their risk of regulatory fines.

Better risk management 

With robust data access governance, your IT and security teams can gain the confidence that goes along with knowing that: 

  • Sensitive data is not exposed to employees, systems, or third parties that lack proper authorization
  • There is a lower risk of security breaches from external malicious actors  
  • Insiders won’t be able to access data they have no rights seeing 

Better access to data 

Strong data access governance enables users and employees to not only get access to more data, but access to more relevant data that explicitly applies to their role. With data access governance, this data democratization can actually have a positive impact on organizations.

How does Concentric AI help with data access governance? 

Concentric AI is an easy-to-deploy SaaS security solution that provides organizations with agentless connectivity to a wide variety of data repositories so you can govern access to your data — wherever it resides.

Concentric AI’s powerful deep learning technology improves data access and activity governance by giving you an unparalleled contextual understanding of your structured and unstructured data. The solution can help enterprises remediate data vulnerability issues, meet access and activity governance regulations, demonstrate control to auditors, and implement zero–trust access practices – all without complex rules or relying on end-users. 

Concentric AI’s advanced deep learning capabilities go beyond rules, pattern matching or folder-based controls to protect against careless sharing, compromised users, or insider threats.

Our solution improves data access governance across all your data stores by connecting to on-premises unstructured data storage, structured databases, and messaging and email applications. This means the solution can discover, categorize and monitor data wherever it is stored (and sprawled). 

How does Concentric AI’s solution work? 

Concentric AI Semantic Intelligence solution uses sophisticated machine learning technologies to autonomously scan and categorize data. The MIND™ deep learning- as-a-service capability means you will always have the latest AI models for fast, accurate discovery and categorization.

Risk Distance™ analysis comprehensively identifies inappropriate sharing, including link sharing, sharing with internal and third parties and sharing with personal email addresses.

Our easy, autonomous remediation fixes access issues and reduces odds of a governance violation.

Why not give us a try using your own data? Contact us today to see firsthand how data access governance can be easily deployed in your organization. 


Libero nibh at ultrices torquent litora dictum porta info [email protected]

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