According to Techopedia; “a data audit refers to the auditing of data to assess its quality or utility for a specific purpose. Auditing data, unlike auditing finances, involves looking at key metrics, other than quantity, to create conclusions about the properties of a data set.”
In our case, when we discuss data auditing, we are talking about the specific act of creating a log of all your data transactions (also called an audit trail). This enables organizations to:
- Ensure the end-to-end integrity of data activities by identifying when modifications are made.
- Detect and analyze intentional and accidental breaches in user behavior.
- Monitor and analyze the database activities of any user.
- Keep track of changes and updates made to data.
“Where ever business logic can be implemented, a data audit can be used to make sure the quality of the data is consistent,” the blog Making Data Meaningful states. While the concept of data auditing is not new, the processes and applications being developed to provide data auditing/automated data auditing are. Data auditing is one way organizations can control their data quality and ensure the success of their data strategy.
So other than the benefits listed above, why is data auditing so important? We want to enlighten you, so we have highlighted just 4 reasons. Here they are:
Business users aren’t perfect, they are just human. That means that when data is being inputted, there is a chance that it involves errors. According to a study done on human error rates, it can be as high as 10%. Human error affects data quality and customer service. What makes it worse is if these errors are hard to find. This is where data auditing becomes very important. A continuous/automatic data audit allows users to find these errors quickly, without the help of the IT department and correct them.
In recent years regulatory legislation has expanded to include IT assets such as data. HIPPA, SOX and PCI all include regulations about data. Certain steps must be taken to ensure that your data is compliant, and that sensitive data is protected. One of these regulations requires that specific data records be kept for a certain number of years. A data audit tool can access these records after they have been deleted from your mainframe, ensuring you are compliant without burdening your systems.
As a consumer yourself, have you ever been on the phone with customer service (most likely angrily) because of an error that they caused (got your appointment time wrong, your technician never showed up, they entered the wrong address, etc.) you will understand the benefit of being able to look up any data change in any data system instantly. Data auditing allows you to search for changes to your data in any system with a variety of search terms, helping you find the right data transaction within seconds. From there you can address any issue as well as hold the right business user accountable. This means faster, better customer service which of course translates to happier customers and more business.
The amount of data organizations collect these days is immeasurable (hence the term BIG data), let alone completely storable without significant cost and burden involved. Imagine having the ability to store your data independently of your main systems and still have it be accessable at a moment’s notice. This is exactly what a data auditing tool will do for you.