Why a Data Doctrine is Essential for Data Interoperability

  • July 06, 2023

Making the most of data that is readily and strategically made available is critical to any organization’s success. But an organization’s approach to data must rely on a data governance strategy that outlines data management and security policies without losing focus on data usage and business purposes. As the volume of data increases across industry sectors, the need for data interoperability becomes critical.

True data interoperability implies both syntactic and semantic interoperability. Syntactic interoperability refers to the ability of two or more systems to communicate and exchange data via a common — even if the two systems exchanging the data are using different technology stacks. Semantic interoperability refers to the ability of those systems to understand and parse that data.

Interoperability and data doctrine inclusion

The usefulness of data that is collected by hospitals, cars or phones is dependent upon its legibility. For example, institutions like hospitals are working with a lot of data, but they have challenges with securely storing and sharing the data. They need a robust platform through which they'll be able to make it more interoperable. Enterprises should be able to rely on a strong data doctrine to optimize the process of securely sharing data in a way that allows it to be effectively used.

To recap from my earlier post, which makes the case for data doctrine, a data doctrine is a set of governance principles that guide how data is architected, created, acquired, distributed, processed and used throughout its entire lifecycle. These principles can then be applied to standardization, harmonization, ownership, classification, responsibility, access, integrity and retention of enterprise data. With a data doctrine and an understanding of the need for a data community established at the onset, organizations can focus on additional constructs to further the position of data governance.

Protecting the data that is collected, stored and shared via a stable and universal platform would also reduce the risks associated with data loss and degradation. It's critical to maintain the quality of data throughout its lifecycle while keeping it encrypted. This is where technologies like homomorphic encryption and attribute-based encryption (ABE) can play such a vital role. Under attribute-based encryption, we can transfer all the policies and attributes directly from the application to the level of data itself. So, in the future, when we shift data to any data storage, we'll also be able to store it in an encrypted and secure form.

Be prepared to follow data privacy regulations

One of the consistent challenges within the regulatory space is that new data regulations are being introduced with increasing frequency. Compliance with data privacy regulations is absolutely critical when enterprises are dealing with sensitive data. A data doctrine should make compliance with new regulations and standards swift and efficient. To take full advantage of data that is in use today and which will be generated in the future, we'll have to be able to access it safely, securely and effectively. The data must be protected from those who shouldn't be able to access it, but readily available to those who should. The task of ensuring data governance is becoming increasingly vital to both security and IT teams.

Establish data interoperability in your organization

To summarize, true data interoperability can be established by,

  • Creating and nurturing a data doctrine that facilitates the exchange of data with consideration of regulatory and compliance requirements.
  • Defining the criticality of your data and access strategy for selected systems and key resources.
  • Laying the foundation of your data security program with interoperability in mind.

In case you haven’t already read it, please make sure that you read my earlier post on the case for data doctrine, which acts as a precursor to this blog on data interoperability.

I'd love to learn more about how you approach data security at your organization, get in touch with me and explore our end-to-end cybersecurity services.

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Oliver Forbes

Oliver is the Data Security and Network Security Product Leader at NTT DATA. He has more than 15 years’ experience in delivering cybersecurity solutions by stitching together unique product narratives that solve the biggest challenges. As an innate cybersecurity thought leader, he's developed cybersecurity strategies and architectures to help companies across multiple industry sectors bolster their most fundamental defenses. Additionally, he advocates conveying deep-seated points of security to empower and enable an invested cyber community by speaking on the global stage for RSA and Cloud Security Alliance and contributing multiple blog articles, whitepapers and cybersecurity artifacts.


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