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Low-Code Data Management and Data Governance

Written By: Mike Lemire
October 20, 2020
4 min read

The Importance of Data Management, Regardless of Tech Stack

Forward thinking CIOs and IT leaders are increasingly deploying low-code solutions enabling teams and business units to improve a broad array of business processes and integrate a diverse ecosystem of digital assets. As with any IT system, these same leaders are also responsible for the digital information which is collected, processed and stored. After all, digital information is the foundation upon which most businesses operate today, so for those progressive IT leaders, low-code data management is a growing area of expertise.

Whether the technology stack is a low-code application, or a custom application hosted on prem or in the cloud, organizations will consistently need to solve the same challenges – making information available, retaining or deleting it – and ensuring proper access and security to an organization’s data. Collectively, these responsibilities – codified in an organizations standards and policies – are what are referred to as Data Governance. The technical controls which enable the implementation of Data Governance are commonly called Data Management.

As with any IT system, each new application, workflow and digital process introduced in a low-code environment entails the collection, processing and storing of digital information. Therefore, it is critical that IT leaders consider what, if any, Data Governance and Data Management features and capabilities are available and important to their teams.

Data Classification’s Role in Data Governance

An important component of Data Governance is that every organization has a Data Classifications matrix. In a Data Classifications matrix, each organization has a standardized method to classify the data it collects and holds based on data sensitivity. That in turn informs administrators and users with access to data how that data should be treated and secured. A widely used sample Data Classification matrix is shown below:

SensitivityData Classification
High Confidential
Medium Internal Use
Low Public

In that standard matrix, data labeled Confidential is the most valuable to the organization, whereas Public information may be shared, well, publicly. If information is not labeled, how can users understand the sensitivity of data and to what level it should be handled and protected? A Data Classification matrix, along with data handling guidelines or policies, inform users who interact with data how that data must be protected and how widely it may be shared.

Conceptually, Data Classifications and Data Labeling are easy to understand. However, the implementation of Data Classifications can be a real challenge for IT administers and users alike whether the system is low-code, cloud or on-prem.

Structured vs. Unstructured Data

Unstructured data, generally, is data which is not organized in a managed way like a database. Files and documents shared around via email, messaging and file sharing systems are unstructured. Structured data is comprised of clearly defined data types whose pattern makes them easily searchable. An online database like Quickbase is structured.

It is typically easier for system administrators to implement Data Classifications in structured data than unstructured data, since unstructured data is largely reliant on the users to label data themselves.

However, just because data is in a structured format does not mean it is easy to implement Data Classifications and Data Labeling. In fact, most structured data systems do not provide an easy way to label data.

Data Classifications and Data Labeling in Quickbase

At Quickbase, we’re always thinking of how we can help IT administrators leverage Low-Code while maintaining enterprise Data Governance and Data Management. With our release of Data Classifications and Data Labeling, we’re giving Quickbase administrators an easy way to do 2 important things:

  • Apply your unique Data Classification matrix to your Quickbase realm. We realize each organization is different and we serve many industries. We provide a default Data Classification matrix (Confidential, Internal Only), to every customer implementation which can be modified and expanded upon. For example, a health care organization may want to label application which contain HIPAA data “HIPAA” to clearly mark sensitive data.
  • Easily and readily apply your Data Classifications to your Quickbase applications. The Quickbase administrator within your organization can apply and modify the Data Classifications assigned to your all the applications in your organization.

By leveraging Data Classifications and Data Labeling in Quickbase, Quickbase administrators have a high-level view over which of their Quickbase applications contain the most sensitive information and require the highest levels of governance and review.

As we help organizations be more agile by utilizing low-code development, it is important to us that we provide the tools which enable IT teams maintaining appropriate Data Governance and Data Management capabilities. Our Data Classifications and Data Labeling feature is designed to do just that!

For more information about Data Classification, please see this Community Blog Post about Data Classification functionality in Quickbase.

Written By: Mike Lemire
Mike is the Compliance and Information Security Officer at Quickbase. Previous to Quickbase, Mike managed the Information Security programs at Yesware, Acquia and RiskMetrics and has held management and technical positions at Pearson Education, JPMorgan and Time, Inc. Mike earned his B.S. from New York Institute of Technology and has attended postgraduate education at Columbia and Boston University. Mike was certified as a CISSP in 2006.

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