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What Is Data Control? Types, How It Works & Why You Need It

by Chris Brook on Monday June 3, 2024

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Data control refers to the management and governance of data to ensure data quality, data privacy, and data security. Learn more about what goes into data control in this blog.

The concept of data control can involve policies, procedures, and practices that help control data's authenticity, integrity, validity, reliability, and usability. Data control can also include measures for data access, data protection, data backup, data accuracy and consistency, and timely data disposal.


It is crucial in enabling organizations to make accurate and reliable decisions, protect sensitive information, and comply with data regulations.

Why Do We Need Data Control?

The importance of data control cannot be understated, given its impact on security, compliance, decision-making, and overall business success.


Here are some of the main reasons why we need data control:

  • Protection of Sensitive Information: Data control mechanisms like encryption, access controls, firewalls, etc., help to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, theft, corruption, or loss. 
  • Compliance with Regulations: Many industries have regulations around data handling. Data control helps ensure that data is managed in compliance with these legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Data Integrity: Data integrity is crucial for accurate analysis and decision-making. Data control ensures that the data is accurate, consistent, and reliable. 
  • Improved Decision Making: By controlling access to data, organizations can ensure that the right people have the right information at the right time, leading to better and faster decision-making.
  • Privacy Protection: In today's digital age, respecting and protecting privacy is a legal and ethical requirement for organizations. Data control mechanisms help protect individuals' privacy by ensuring that personal data isn't misused. 
  • Enhancing Customer Trust: By implementing data control measures, organizations show their customers that they value and protect their information, enhancing customer trust and loyalty. 
  • Risk Management: Effective data control can help identify vulnerabilities and manage security risks.
  • Ensuring Data Availability: Data control measures such as data backups and disaster recovery mechanisms ensure data is available when needed.
  • Audit Trail: Data control makes it possible to track all data-related activities, providing accountability and traceability.
  • Improved Operational Efficiency: Data control can help improve operational efficiency and productivity in organizations by ensuring data accuracy and consistency.

The Objectives of Data Control

The main objectives of data control include the following:

  • Protecting Data: The primary objective of data control is to protect data from unauthorized access, modification, or destruction. 
  • Data Quality: Data control aims to ensure data accuracy, consistency, and integrity.
  • Compliance: One of the main goals is to ensure compliance with internal policies and external regulations regarding data handling, security, and privacy.
  • Data Governance: It aims to manage data effectively and set standards and policies for data use within the organization.
  • Accountability: It allows data usage tracking, thus ensuring accountability for any misuse or breach.
  • Risk Management: Through effective control measures, a business can identify potential risks associated with data and take preventative action.
  • Auditing: Data control aids in auditing processes by maintaining records of data processes and changes.
  • Operational Efficiency: Ensuring the right people can access the correct data at the appropriate times can improve operational efficiency and decision-making.
  • Data Privacy: Another important objective is to protect the privacy of the individuals whose data is being used or stored by the organization.
  • Business continuity: Data control also supports business continuity efforts by ensuring data is properly backed up and can be recovered in the event of a disaster.

Data Control Best Practices

  • Data Classification: Identify important sensitive data requiring high-level security measures. Categorize data according to their sensitivity and value to your business.
  • Access Controls: Implement data or attribute-based access controls so only authorized individuals can access certain data. This may include password protection, two-factor authentication, and role-based access control systems.
  • Regular Audits: Perform regular audits and reviews to ensure the data control measures function correctly and detect any potential breaches or issues.
  • Data Encryption: Encrypt sensitive data to prevent unauthorized access. This is especially essential when transmitting data over networks.
  • Backup and Recovery: Create regular backups of your data and have a recovery plan in place in case of data loss. This will help ensure the continuity of your business operations.
  • Data Erasure: Have policies in place for securely erasing data that is no longer needed to prevent it from being misused.
  • Training: Educate employees on the importance of data security control and train them on your organization’s data control policies and procedures.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Ensure that your data control measures comply with all relevant regulations, such as GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, etc.
  • Use of Data Management Tools: Use sophisticated data management tools and software that can help automate the process of data control, saving time and reducing the risk of human error.
  • Regular Updates and Maintenance: Keep all your data control systems up-to-date with regular updates and maintenance to protect against new vulnerabilities and potential threats.

What Are the Benefits of Data Control?

The benefits of data control are numerous and can provide substantial value to an organization, such as the following:

  • Improve Data Quality: With data control, organizations can ensure the data used in their decision-making processes is accurate, consistent, and reliable.
  • Protect Sensitive Data: Strong data control measures can safeguard sensitive information, making it hard for unauthorized individuals to access critical data, thus maintaining confidentiality and compliance with data protection laws.
  • Ensure Regulatory Compliance: It's essential to meet specific data handling standards set by regulatory bodies for certain industries. Data control ensures that organizations stay in line with these regulations.
  • Foster Operational Efficiency: Effective data control can lead to more efficient business operations as it helps prevent data duplication, promotes data sharing, and allows for data management automation.
  • Enhance Decision Making: With high-quality, consistent, and accurate data facilitated by data control, organizations can make informed decisions that support their business objectives and strategies.
  • Promote Data Accessibility: Well-established data controls can ensure that the right data is accessible to the right individuals at the right time, promoting efficiency and productivity.
  • Mitigate Risks: Organizations can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches and other security incidents by controlling who has access to what data. 
  • Increase Trust: Data control practices can also increase trust among clients, customers, and other stakeholders by ensuring that data is managed and used appropriately. 
  • Enable Data Traceability: Effective data controls mean maintaining a clear record of data sources, transformations, and who has accessed the data, enabling a higher level of transparency and accountability. 
  • Support Innovation: Controlled access to high-quality data can facilitate innovation, as teams can use that data to explore new ideas, develop new products, or improve existing services.

The Challenges Encountered with Data Control

Implementing data control in an organization can come with various challenges:

  • Data Accuracy: Ensuring data accuracy is a significant challenge to data control. Inaccurate data can lead to poor decision-making and negatively impact business operations.
  • Data Redundancy and Duplication: Handling duplicate or redundant data can be complex and time-consuming. It can also lead to incorrect data analysis.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Numerous regulations govern data handling and privacy, such as GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, etc. Ensuring compliance with these regulations can be complicated and requires ongoing effort.
  • Data Integration: Integrating data from various sources into a unified system can be complex due to different data formats, structures, and inconsistency issues.
  • Data Volume: The exponential growth of data due to digital transformation can be overwhelming. Managing and controlling large volumes of data effectively is a significant challenge.
  • Real-Time Data Control: Facilitating real-time data control for immediate decision-making can be difficult due to technical limitations or lack of appropriate tools.
  • Lack of Skilled Resources: Implementing and maintaining effective data control requires skilled personnel with knowledge of data management, privacy regulations, and data security. There might be a shortage of such skilled resources.
  • Technological Infrastructure: The lack of proper technological infrastructure to store, handle, process, analyze, and control the data is another key challenge. 
  • Data Ownership: Determining who 'owns' the data and who is responsible for its accuracy, updates, and security can be a complex issue, especially in large organizations.

Here’s How Digital Guardian Can Boost Your Data Control Measures

Regardless of the infrastructure you use to store your data — whether it's a traditional on-premise or operating a CASB (cloud-based access control) solution — data control is a paramount necessity. 

Schedule a demo today to understand how Digital Guardian’s secure collaboration solution can help your organization better protects its sensitive data and intellectual property and share it with third parties.

Tags:  Data Protection

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