Where Does Data Governance Fit Into Hybrid Cloud?

Where Does Data Governance Fit Into Hybrid Cloud?

At a time when artificial intelligence (AI) and tools like generative AI (GenAI) and large language models (LLMs) have exploded in popularity, getting the most out of organizational data is critical to driving business value and carving out a competitive market advantage. To reach that goal, more businesses are turning toward hybrid cloud infrastructure – with data on-premises, in the cloud, or both –  as a means to tap into valuable data. 

But for all the excitement and movement happening within hybrid cloud infrastructure and its potential with AI, there are still risks and challenges that need to be appropriately managed—specifically when it comes to the issue of data governance. Inherently, a hybrid cloud infrastructure allows data to move between environments, which can make that data vulnerable to not only security risks but also lapses in compliance with internal standards or external regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPR) and even the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

The need for effective data governance itself is not a new phenomenon. It’s something that’s always been an important task alongside everyone’s day-to-day workflows. It’s also something that, unlike other projects, is always happening. With hybrid cloud infrastructure firmly cemented as the preferred approach to data infrastructure, governance needs to be at the top of every to-do list. 

Barriers to Good Data Governance Remain

A Cloudera survey found that 72% of enterprise leaders agreed that data governance was an enabler of business value. But whether it’s a lack of buy-in from leadership, a disparate set of tools and users, or increasingly siloed data, a broad range of complications can prevent data governance measures from being comprehensive and impactful. As hybrid cloud architecture leads the way, data silos—a challenge that most IT leaders are all too familiar with—have increasingly been a pain point when managing governance. Any time operations are run through a hybrid architecture with multiple environments, it becomes difficult to maintain a holistic view of what’s happening across the organization as a whole, with different workloads running in isolated pockets, if things like data access and visibility are not managed effectively.

This, understandably, presents a major challenge when it comes to ensuring data governance practices are effectively implemented—even in the most data-driven organizations. The Cloudera survey found that over one quarter (26%) of enterprise practitioners reported they had anywhere from 51 to 100 data silos spread across their organizations. To break those silos and achieve a meaningful, comprehensive level of data governance, both large enterprises and data-driven organizations must prioritize and fully integrate solutions that help boost data visibility in a hybrid setting while also ensuring consistent compliance with both business-level data guidelines and external regulation.  

Establishing Comprehensive and Impactful Data Governance

So, how should organizations go about data governance in a hybrid cloud? Some IT and business leaders attempt a more fragmented approach to governance, but while somewhat effective, that can create ‘islands’ of perfection—a place where governance appears to be happening effectively, leading IT leaders to assume it’s not as much of a concern. While these islands may seem sound up close, at an enterprise level, they become fragmented, isolated, and prone to collapse should governance change in other areas. Ultimately, the key to good governance must leverage solutions and architectures that provide an enterprise-level, unified, viewpoint of governance and data visibility. 

In a hybrid cloud setting, data gravity sees smaller bodies of data pulled in toward larger ones where the center of gravity exists. Creating, managing, and maintaining each of those connections adds up over time and hinders data governance efforts. That’s where adopting the right hybrid data platform can help transform those operations and achieve a true hybrid cloud experience. With the right solution, businesses gain the ability to leverage architectures like a data fabric—a type of data architecture designed to give a unified view of data across an organization, regardless of where data is stored or how it is structured. 

It also infuses automation into data management, handling not just the unlocking of data but also the sorting and investigating of information, determining what goes where and who needs access, bolstering internal guidelines and access rules that feed back to data governance. In the context of comprehensive data governance, implementing a data fabric has become a vitally important first step. 

Learn more about how Cloudera can help guide you on your journey toward comprehensive data governance. 

Wim Stoop
Director Product Marketing
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