What is Data Stewardship?

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Data stewardship is a business function or role charged with the oversight and usage of an organization’s data assets. Data stewardship ensures high-quality data is available to consumers and data governance policies are followed.

What is the Role of a Data Steward?

Below are examples of the responsibilities of a data steward:

  • Ensure data quality standards are met so data is trusted by consumers.
  • Establish rules to govern data security and accountability for data sources and ensure regulatory compliance requirements are applied.
  • Review data governance policies and their application.
  • Participate in a stewardship committee to define and implement best practices.
  • Work with data owners to ensure the needs of consumers are met.

Establishing Success

One of the more challenging aspects of data stewardship is being able to tell if they are effective, so setting up data quality and compliance standards is essential. A successful data stewardship program sets key performance measures, regularly tests compliance, and adjusts policies and practices to meet quality, security, and compliance standards.

The big picture part of the data stewardship function reduces the proliferation of data silos by encouraging users to consume fewer data sources that contain the highest quality data. The data steward is neither a data owner nor a consumer. Data stewardship is an oversight role that operates through consultation and guidance. The data steward is aware of compliance requirements for an organization and the established policies to enforce regulations such as GDPR, retention and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX).

How Does Data Stewardship Benefit Consumers?

Data stewards are advocates of data consumers for data owners, providers and IT organizations. A data steward will ask data producers to tag data with metadata to help consumers find the most authoritative data sources. Metadata can include data quality metrics and lineage. The data Steward sets policies and practices for how often data is refreshed to minimize the incidences of stale data.

How Does Data Stewardship Benefit Data Producers?

Data producers don’t always know that the data they have been using may be available elsewhere in a higher quality form. The data steward provides multiple benefits to an organization, including the following:

  • Help the business gain greater value from existing data assets.
  • Make data more readily available to consumers.
  • Ensure data owners adopt the best data management strategies.
  • Reduce overall audit and cybercrime risk by reviewing security and compliance policies.
  • Encourage the use of metadata to make data easier to find.
  • Support data catalogs and data provenance initiatives to improve data quality and trust in data.
  • Deter uncontrolled data duplication, which maximizes the utilization of the best data sources for decision-makers and business operations.
  • Improve data governance by ensuring adherence to policies.

Managing Data Security

An important aspect of the data stewardship function is to support security requirements. The data steward helps to ensure that data is encrypted, masked, and protected by appropriate access controls.

Data Protection

It is important to regularly review data protection and backups in case of device failure. This ensures that data is available for business continuity and disaster recovery. Although most organizations have backup and recovery policies, they often fail to test their procedures regularly. The role of a data steward is ideal for checking that data protection is in place and regularly tested.

Actian Supports Data Stewardship Best Practices

The Actian Data Platform provides an ideal foundation for storing data for data analytics. The Actian Data Platform includes features that support data stewardship best practices, including protecting data, scaling to large user communities and securing data in motion and at rest. The Actian Data Platform instances can be hosted on-premise and on multiple cloud platforms, enabling data to be warehoused close to where it is created. The Actian Data Platform has hundreds of prebuilt connectors to sources, including NetSuite, Salesforce, and ServiceNow. It is optimized for high-speed query responses thanks to its vectorized columnar database that outperforms alternatives. Actian is ideal for staging data before being published as a data product within a domain.

Try the Actian Data Platform free trial for 30 days.