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Master Data Management for Compliance: Streamline Enterprise Data Governance

By Gino Fortunato posted 06-14-2021 08:48

The way you manage sensitive data has an important – and potentially expensive – impact on growth.

Europe’s GDPR and California’s CCPA and CPRA are not the only regulations that impact enterprise data governance – although they certainly have the largest jurisdiction and widest scope thus far.

Consider just a few of major examples of other significant regulation:

The list goes on. Enterprises have to contend with dozens of different regulatory frameworks, often simultaneously. Non-compliance can seriously damage an enterprise’s reputation and lead to significant (and entirely preventable) financial losses. The reputation of a business can take years to recover from a severe violation.

But the problem enterprise data governance stakeholders face is a significant one. The more complex the internal structure of the enterprise is, the harder it is to effectively meet compliance standards.

This is especially true for enterprises that expand through acquisition. Compliance reporting often degenerates into a constant race to capture and govern data without the benefit of well-organized infrastructure. It’s a situation that often leads directly to expensive, reputation-damaging compliance violations.

How Master Data Management (MDM) Solutions Impact Compliance

Master data management gives enterprises a single point of reference for all of their customer and other regulated data. This hugely simplifies the compliance problem. The crosswalks in a master data solution give compliance officers a single point of reference to understand where regulated data exists in their enterprise and extraprise.  Compliance officers can use this as a springboard to knowing the content of the various systems in the enterprise including cloud and on premise applications.

It’s impossible to understate the significance of this advantage. A well designed and secure master data management system will make it far easier and less expensive to audit, secure, and standardize multiple applications, data warehouses and other data stores that may feature different technologies, require different skill sets, and be located on different continents.  And doing this with a cloud native solution ensures that the heavy lifting of the compliance is done by the solution provider when they produce compliance reports for you each year.

Well-designed MDM architecture can take this advantage even further. For example, a medical device manufacturer may elect to build and deploy HIPAA-compliant master data management solutions well before it actually needs them. If the manufacturer wants to release a cloud-based patient service portal next year, all of the underlying infrastructure is already there.

Compliant master data management is one of the key elements that gives forward-thinking enterprises a significant growth advantage when compared to their less agile competitors.

Many master data management solutions already incorporate some of the most widely implemented regulatory requirements. These include:

  • Deduplication: Large, consolidated systems often contain duplicate records and accounts, which can skew statistics and reports in unhelpful ways. Many compliance frameworks require organizations to give users power over how their data is used, which is not possible if users have multiple duplicate records.
  • Data Quality: Many compliance frameworks specify specific data types and business rules that enterprises need to adhere to when reporting. However, local data capture isn’t always standard, which means that it falls on enterprises to perform data standardization in order to meet compliance guidelines.
  • Address Enrichment: Consolidating multiple customer records can help enterprises obtain a single, deep view of customer data. Address enrichment is one of the most valuable forms of data enrichment available, especially to commercial and financial enterprises.
  • Hierarchical and Other Relationships: User data can influence broader policy when employees and stakeholders can take user relationships into account. This is especially important when dealing with complex user environments that contain User Groups, Security Roles, and privileged accounts of various kinds.

Giving Users the “Right to Erasure”

One of the major innovations that Europe’s GDPR contributed to the global community was the concept of “erasure rights”. This concept is now a key component of California’s CCPA framework, and is working its way into dozens of other frameworks and jurisdictions around the world.

Giving users the right to erase their records from your database is much easier under a consolidated master data management system.  Workflow around these processes are viable and can be specified precisely. Under a fragmented, ad hoc system made up of many independent parts, it is nearly impossible.

In some cases, regulations require organizations to remove personally identifiable information from publicly available channels. If that data is expressed in different formats on multiple systems, finding and removing it becomes costly and time-intensive.

In both cases, deploying a single master data application that offers a comprehensive, unique point of reference for all relevant data enables compliance. Master data management allows compliance professionals to identify data quality issues, correct them, and have those corrections expressed in processes and operations throughout the entire enterprise.

MDM Use Case: Know Your Customer (KYC) Compliance

Finance enterprises have to collect and submit customer data to regulators before providing financial services to them. The level of scrutiny that new customer records face is growing every year. At the same time, penalties and reputational risk for non-compliance are also growing.

Financial service firms and FinTech enterprises that can better collect, store, and submit KYC data to regulators enjoy a significant advantage over their less agile competitors. This is one of the ways that UK-based FinTech unicorn Revolut managed to offer faster, cheaper financial services to its users than every other bank in the world.

Since compliance requirements are industry-wide, they set a level playing field for enterprises to compete in. But the organizations that treat compliance as an asset instead of a cost are able to leverage new advantages and gain business agility in ways their competitors cannot.

It’s true that implementing compliance is easier for a brand-new company than for an established enterprise with decades of history (and dozens of acquisitions) to its name. The pressure to adapt to changing regulations is even greater when you have to carry heavy infrastructural weight at the same time.  And this is another way that SaaS providers can help as their entire customer base must meet these new requirements.  This spreads the development cost across the customer base and also means that the upgrade can happen with zero impact.

Future-proof Master Data Governance

Enterprise-level master data management solutions incorporate security and compliance into the service itself. This allows enterprises to control and implement compliance policies on demand.

The end result is a compliance orientation that is centralized, agile, and highly scalable. It is flexible enough to respond to regulatory changes without negatively impacting the value that data represents.

Reltio is a Master Data Management vendor that offers security and compliance as an enterprise service. We offer full tracking and traceability for all users and data in our system – find out more about how we can help your organization achieve best-in-class compliance.

Learn More with the Reltio Community

The Reltio Community is a great place to learn more about how to use the Reltio products and connect with Master Data Management peers. Rely on the expertise of Reltio partners, customers, and technical experts.