Guide: Data Management

What are Data Standards and Why Do You Need Them?

Data is considered to be the new oil of the 21st century, and everyone has come around to realizing how integral it can be for their business. However, simply having or using data isn’t what gets you over the finish line. 

The key to success lies in the efficient organization and processing of the data, as well as making it accessible and easier to comprehend for various teams. This can be achieved with the help of data standards.

This article discusses:

 

This is part of our comprehensive data management guide.

Definition of Data Standards

Data standards are the predetermined merits that govern how data is managed, used, represented, formatted, defined, transmitted, structured, and tagged. They refer to technical specifications or recorded agreements that describe how data should be stored or exchanged across different systems, so that several problems and roadblocks can be eliminated.

Data standards consist of several components, which are discrete units of the complete package. Several components are pieced together to make a data standards package, and a large number of components packaged together are referred to as a data standards framework. Some of the common data standards components include data type, identifiers, format, schema, or application programming interface (API).

Are Data Standards Beneficial?

Data standards provide a wide range of benefits for organizations, and they are also beneficial in improving the data quality for better and more insightful decision making. Moreover, they allow for the reuse of data elements, thus reducing redundancy and enhancing reliability while also bringing down cost.

Here are some of the other benefits of defining and implementing data standards:

  • They are designed and implemented by industry experts in order to solve various business problems, which means that they are the best solution
  • Although they are complex to develop, they can be more cost-effective in the long run, since they provide the entire organization with a standardized format to follow
  • They foster better understanding and transparency for the data, which can also be reused
  • They can also facilitate access since the standardized codes and data structures can also be used to retrieve data
  • They make it possible for data and software to be reused for several purposes
  • They can be used to map unstandardized data much more efficiently
  • They provide consistent results in the data retrieval process

Examples of Data Standards

Data standards are developed and implemented by organizations, educational institutions, and even government agencies, to maintain a proper flow and use of data.

For instance, universities make use of data standards in everything, including their admissions data, student database, contact information, addresses, academic records, and much more. All of the information is categorized into different sections and subsections, i.e. ID, names, addresses, telephone numbers, email, gender, calendar dates, Social Security numbers, prefix codes, etc.

Similarly, organizations design and implement their own data standards in order to maintain uniformity across the data that is collected, processed, and shared across different systems. Apart from this, data standards are also implemented across businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, etc.

The Importance of Data Standards

Data standards are highly crucial for any business or organization that wants to structure its data and maintain higher data quality for decision making. They provide a uniform and standard framework that can be used across various companies, systems, databases, and even institutions. 

Data standards can also be industry-specific and can be designed and implemented with the help of industry experts who know how data should be structured. Moreover, data standards are important for maintaining consistency within code sets, and they also allow data and code to be reused in different projects and systems. 

In essence, the implementation of data standards also makes it easier for data managers and scientists to maintain uniformity across the entire data of the organization. This way, as more and more data keeps getting collected and processed, they won’t have to worry about the formats and standards from time to time.

Data Standards in Data Access

Data standards are closely aligned with data access, which refers to an individual’s ability to access or retrieve data stored in a database or repository. Data standards are also used in order to enable organizations and individuals to understand the type of data they can access, as well as the format in which the data should be retrieved and used.

Basically, data access standards are useful in creating, retrieving, modifying, or updating valuable information from a service or application. This information is also to perform further operations such as creating or modifying resources.

Data access is also a vital facet of any organization, and it helps data managers protect valuable data from getting compromised or exposed to unauthorized people who have malicious intent. Therefore, enforcing stricter data standards would provide a predefined set of instructions that would always be invoked whenever data access protocols have to be implemented.

Data Standards and Data Governance

Data standards are applicable and implemented across the entire spectrum of data operations, including data governance.

Data governance refers to the process of overseeing the availability, usefulness, integrity, and security of the data in enterprise systems. It also encompasses internal data standards and policies that also determine how the data will be used.

Since there are new data privacy regulations and laws enforced all over the world, it has become even more critical for organizations to adhere to data standards in order to optimize decision making.

The data standards implemented in data governance are also crucial for avoiding the improper or erroneous use of data, which is why data architects, data analysts, business users, and other employees should be familiarized with the data standards used in this process.

To learn more about data governance, read our essential data governance guide.

Summary

This concludes our guide on data standards. In a nutshell, they are integral to all sorts of organizations, and they make it easier for businesses to make complex operations simpler. Moreover, they allow for more efficient and optimized use of data to drive business decision making and optimize efficiency and productivity.

Satori, The DataSecOps platform, provides a security layer for data access, whether it’s databases, data warehouses, or data lakes. Among the capabilities you will enjoy are: 

 

To read more about Satori:

This article was originally published at

February 20, 2022