TechCorner: The Integrity and Security of Data Begins with You

Amanda Keesee, manager of academic technology & training

Higher education lives by the data it gathers. Everything from enrollment rates, to graduation numbers, recruitment information and dollars spent, higher education institutions use data to make decisions that affect the lives of the students and employees on a daily basis. Having confidence in the integrity of the data and consistent access to that data is vital to ensuring processes across the university is able to run and thrive in an increasingly turbulent atmosphere.

Because of this, Data Governance has become a hot topic across the higher education landscape and is something that employees at the University of Central Oklahoma can expect to become a core piece of the day-to-day processes of the university in the future. It is a vital component of any overall data management strategy but what exactly is Data Governance and what does it have to do with you?

Data governance is everything you do to ensure data is secure, private, accurate, available and usable. It includes the actions people must take, the processes they must follow and the technology that supports them throughout the data lifecycle.

Data governance means setting internal standards—data policies—that apply to how data is gathered, stored, processed and disposed of. It governs who can access what kinds of data and what kinds of data are under governance. Data governance also involves complying with external standards set by industry associations, government agencies and other stakeholders. Source

Having solid standards, effective processes and increased security can sound more like a barrier to data management than a benefit; when in fact, putting these pieces into place means the university will have better access, more quickly and more readily to the types of data needed to make accurate and timely decisions. Additionally, with strong data governance, you can manage risk to data security more easily through proper authorization preventing outside forces from accessing personal data or even insiders from accessing data they don’t have the right to see.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and is the perfect time to begin thinking about the data you have access to, the ways in which you interact with that data and the steps you are taking to keep both your personal and the university’s data secure. OIT will be providing opportunities throughout the month for you to learn more about staying cyber-aware and will have increased opportunities to attend the annual required Cybersecurity training offered both in-person and on-demand in the UCO Learning Center.

You will begin hearing more about Data Governance at UCO over the coming months. OIT invites you to actively participate in regular discussions about data security, privacy and access with those in your units and to reach out to the UCO Information Security team if you have questions or concerns about the data in your area.