Trends in Data Governance and Security: What to Prepare for in 2024

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Read more about author James Beecham.

Organizations learned a valuable lesson in 2023: It isn’t sufficient to rely on securing data once it has landed in a cloud data warehouse or analytical store. As a result, data owners are highly motivated to explore technologies in 2024 that can protect data from the moment it begins its journey in the source systems.

From automating data access and policy enforcement to protecting sensitive data from the data center to the cloud, CDOs, database administrators, and line-of-business teams need to better govern and secure data next year. More importantly, as artificial intelligence continues to evolve, organizations will take drastic efforts to better understand how to successfully leverage this groundbreaking technology to help safeguard their data and keep it from being improperly used. 

To that end, expect to see the following trends in data governance and security emerge in the coming year: 

1. Data governance will “Shift Left”: 2024 will be the year when data access governance and security will “Shift Left.” Here, organizations will implement data governance and security measures earlier in the data journey, to the left of a cloud data warehouse, which will not only protect sensitive information, but will also improve the overall quality of the data collected. With the increasing number of regulations regarding data privacy and security, companies that prioritize data governance and security early on will be better equipped to comply with these regulations. In 2024, expect to see a surge of companies prioritizing shift left data governance and security – allowing them to initiate strong data access governance and data security capabilities available on cloud data warehouses and lake houses and extending them back to the data as it leaves source systems. 

By achieving data access governance and data security practices further left in the data stream, data users ensure that the proper policies are attached, and applied, throughout the data journey to the cloud and to the data users themselves. This will be critically important in 2024, because sensitive and regulated data left unprotected prior to reaching the cloud data warehouse means that data is at a high risk of exposure.

2. While AI and LLMs continue to increase in popularity, so will the potential danger: With the rapid rise of AI and LLMs in 2023, the business landscape has undergone a profound transformation, marked by innovation and efficiency. But this quick ascent has also given rise to concerns about the utilization and the safeguarding of sensitive data. Unfortunately, early indications reveal that the data security problem will only intensify next year. When prompted effectively, LLMs are adept at extracting valuable insight from training data, but this poses a unique set of challenges that require modern technical solutions. As the use of AI and LLMs continues to grow in 2024, it will be essential to balance the potential benefits with the need to mitigate risks and ensure responsible use. 

Without stringent data protection over the data that AI has access to, there is a heightened risk of data breaches that can result in financial losses, regulatory fines, and severe damage to the organization’s reputation. There is also a dangerous risk of insider threats within organizations, where trusted personnel can exploit AI and LLM tools for unauthorized data sharing whether it was done maliciously or not, potentially resulting in intellectual property theft, corporate espionage, and damage to an organization’s reputation.  

In the coming year, organizations will combat these challenges by implementing comprehensive data governance frameworks, including, data classification, access controls, anonymization, frequent audits and monitoring, regulatory compliance, and consistent employee training. Also, SaaS-based data governance and data security solutions will play a critical role in keeping data protected, as it enables organizations to fit them into their existing framework without roadblocks.  

3. “Do-it-yourself data governance will accelerate security breaches and compliance errors: In 2023, many companies turned to do-it-yourself (DIY) data governance to manage their data. Yet, without seeking the help of data governance experts or professionals, this proved to be insufficient due to compliance gaps and the data security errors it leaves in its wake.  

While do-it-yourself data governance seemed like a cost-effective solution, it has serious consequences for companies leaving them exposed to data breaches and other security threats. This is because DIY data governance often lacks the comprehensive security protocols and expertise that professional data governance provides leading to both data breaches and other security threats. Worse, the approach often involves piecemeal solutions that do not integrate well with each other, creating security gaps and leaving data vulnerable to attack. As a result, DIY data governance may not be able to keep up with the constantly evolving data privacy landscape, including new regulations and compliance requirements. 

Companies that rely on do-it-yourself data governance are exposing themselves to significant risks and will see the repercussions of this in 2024. The importance of well implemented data governance practices in the coming year cannot be overstated. Next year, more companies will engage in SaaS-based data governance solutions that are able to scale with their business to ensure the security and integrity of their data.

4. With increased data sharing, comes increased risk: Two things will drive an increased need for governance and security in 2024. First, the need to share sensitive data outside of traditional on-premise systems means that businesses need increased real-time auditing and protection. It’s no surprise that sharing sensitive data outside the traditional four walls creates additional risks that need to be mitigated, so next year, businesses need – and want – to ensure that they have the right governance policies in place to protect it. 

The other issue is that new data sets are starting to move to the cloud and need to be shared. The cloud is an increasingly popular platform for this, as it provides a highly scalable and cost-effective way to store and share data. However, as data moves to the cloud, businesses need to ensure that they have the right security policies in place to protect data, and that these policies are being followed. This includes ensuring that data is encrypted both at rest and in transit, and that the right access controls are in place to ensure that only authorized users can access the data. 

In 2024, to reduce these security risks, businesses will make even more of an effort to protect their data no matter where it resides.

5. The increase in data consumption will create the need for centralized and streamlined data access: The anticipated growth in data consumption and data sources in 2024 will create a greater need for centralized and streamlined data access. The rapid expansion of data sources and the volume of data being generated will make it even more difficult for organizations to manage and utilize data effectively, making data access governance and streamlined security a priority.  

In the coming year, organizations will centralize data access to improve their decision-making processes, providing users with accurate and up-to-date information on the data they have stored. As the amount of data increases, they will also use this to keep tabs on their stored data to understand who is accessing it, and how frequently. Using a system where data can be easily searched, sorted, and accessed, enables business users to quickly find the information they need and ensure that data access is granted only to those that are approved to receive it.