Today’s public companies know that their most valuable asset is their data. It’s not the capital they own or even the people they employ, but all of the information they collect from customers, employees and the market itself.

Why data is so valuable is another topic of conversation, but there’s no doubt that businesses who have built their empires around controlling vast troves of information are now the most expensive in the world. Take a look at the share price of Google or Facebook if you have trouble believing this.

Many small businesses also rely on data, but a lot of the time they don’t realise that they do. And even when they do see their dependence on data, they don’t manage it or back it up like the pros.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the way that Fortune 500 companies manage their data and what you can learn from them. Let’s take a look.

They Share Metadata To Promote Collaboration

Metadata is data which describes data – a bit of a tricky concept to say the least. But companies that share their metadata tend to do better than those who don’t.

The reason for this is that metadata can be used across departments to create better models of customer behaviour or product performance.

Management also needs access to data that it can interpret. So providing descriptions of data helps to create a useful repository that anybody in the company can use.

They Create A Data Processing Plan

Not all data needs to be kept forever. Some can be destroyed in a controlled fashion. Confidential bulk shredding and regular audits of your current digital data storage banks are a critical way of keeping non-essential data from falling into the wrong hands.

Let’s take an example. Say for instance you run a medical practice and have recently passed one of your patients over to another clinic.

You no longer need their records – that’s now the responsibility of another organisation. So there’s no longer a need for you to keep information about them.

Information should be copied to the new organisation and then destroyed at yours to eliminate risk.

They Use Advanced Analytics Techniques

Data is valuable, but it’s a bit like a traditional gold mine: you have to work hard to find the stuff you want. Programmes like SAS make analysing data at a complex level more manageable.

Not only do these programmes allow the use of regressions, but they also permit bespoke programming, enabling users to evaluate data in unique ways.

They Implement Data Governance Practices

Who can access data and when are major decisions for your company. Because of the risk of data falling into the wrong hands, many Fortune 500 companies have strict data governance policies dictating things like access and security.

Therefore, it’s crucial for all companies to have governance practices in place that protect both structured and unstructured data sets. Policies can include where data can be accessed and who should have the ability to look at specific data streams.

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