Who Owns Your Data?

October 6, 2014

Do you know who owns your data? Who’s the person in your organization that’s responsible for that HR share with a “salaries.xls” on it? Who should you talk to about that server that’s on its last legs and needs to be replaced? Who’s the right person who can make decisions about that server or data?

Data ownership is not static. Employees come and go and managing ownership through static lists, databases or custom applications is a never ending battle to keep those tools up to date. Those tools are static and often require manual changes. The data is outdated almost as soon as it’s saved.

Ownership is dynamic and the tools that we use to manage ownership need to be just as dynamic. Who’s accessing the data? Who’s updating or creating files? Who do these individuals report to?

Data doesn’t lie. Can you answer the following questions?

  • Who’s opening the most files?
  • Who’s writing the most files?
  • Who’s writing the most times in a share?
  • Who’s reading the most times in a share?
  • Who’s the most common manager across the users who have activity on a share?

While the answers to these questions are not guaranteed to get you the proper owner of any data asset in your organization, they do provide evidence that point to who the owner might be. There are always going to be exceptions and business rules that may outweigh the data. The key is finding the right balance between the data and the business rules.

Answering these questions in a meaningful way is not easy, but it’s paramount in getting the answer to the deceptively simple question: Who owns my company data?

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