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Certified lead auditor Prabin Litto

Enhancing data security in the cloud

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Certified lead auditor Prabin Litto
Published: 18 Sep 2023

What is the impact of poor-quality data in the cloud and how can quality professionals mitigate this? Lead Auditor Prabin Litto takes a closer look.

For the majority of businesses, ensuring data quality has always been a challenge. Everyone is aware of its importance and most businesses invest a lot of time and money into trying to improve it. But to guarantee data quality in the cloud, every organisation must have a plan for how to achieve this.

Impact of poor-quality data

Poor cloud data quality can have negative effects on companies and organisations for a number of reasons.

Data is the cornerstone for deriving insightful business decisions. Because inaccurate analyses and insights might be made from low-quality data saved in the cloud, the performance and competitive edge of the company could suffer as a result. It can also result in errors that damage a company's credibility and confidence.

Businesses may also fail to meet customer expectations by relying on poor-quality data, resulting in dissatisfaction, reduced customer loyalty and, ultimately, loss of business.

Organisations rely on accurate and timely data to identify emerging trends and customer preferences, and to spot market shifts. If the data being used is inaccurate or outdated, the business might fail to seize opportunities or capitalise on them effectively.

Working with poor-quality data requires extra time and effort to clean, validate and reconcile. This diverts resources away from more value-added activities, leading to inefficiencies and increased operational costs.

"Cloud environments typically consist of a complex ecosystem of services, tools and integrations, and this ecosystem's components must be coordinated and monitored to ensure data quality."

Prabin Litto, Regional Quality and Information Security Manager at Instem and an IRCA Associate Auditor

Many industries are also subject to strict regulations and compliance requirements regarding data accuracy and privacy. Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to violations, fines and legal issues. Poor-quality data can be caused by unreliable analytics, disruptions in the supply chain, and strategic misdirection.

Mitigating the risks

To mitigate these risks, businesses need to prioritise data-quality management. This includes processes for data cleansing, validation, standardisation, and ongoing monitoring.

Businesses can make better decisions, improve results and keep a competitive edge in today's data-driven business environment by making sure the data saved in the cloud is accurate, dependable, and current.

Enhancing cloud data security is crucial to protect sensitive information and maintain the integrity of your information.

Massive volumes of data from diverse sources are handled in cloud environments, making it difficult to ensure uniform quality across the board. This data is distributed across multiple servers and locations, making it harder to track and validate consistently, especially when dealing with real-time updates.

As data flows through cloud-based operations, it may go through several transformations, increasing the chance of introducing errors or inconsistencies.

Cloud environments typically consist of a complex ecosystem of services, tools and integrations, and its components must be coordinated and monitored to ensure data quality; look continuously for anomalies or inconsistencies in the data, and set up alerts for a quick response.

It may be difficult to evaluate and resolve data-quality problems that develop within cloud service providers' systems because of their limited access to the underlying infrastructure. Cloud resources can be dynamically scaled up or down based on demand. While this offers flexibility, it also means the data-processing environment is not static, potentially affecting data-quality validation processes. High data throughput and low latency requirements in cloud environments can lead to compromises in data-quality validation, as comprehensive checks might slow down processes.

Custom data-quality validation procedures can be more challenging to establish in a cloud environment since users have less control over the underlying infrastructure. Users of the cloud rely on the tools and technology of the cloud service provider to validate the data quality, which may not suit individual requirements.

Meeting the challenges

Processes for validating data quality must be carefully planned to prevent disclosing sensitive information, which might be more difficult in shared cloud systems. It is difficult to build standardised procedures for data-quality verification because different cloud platforms have different data storage formats, application programming interfaces and integration techniques.

Before data is uploaded to the cloud, extensive validation tests to ensure its quality and completeness should be carried out. This will help to keep the quality of the data constant, eliminate duplicates, fix errors and standardise formats.

To facilitate efficient analysis and reporting, convert data into a standard format, while to protect data integrity, data ownership, access restrictions, and usage regulations should be defined.

Addressing these challenges requires a combination of proper design, use of appropriate tools, continuous monitoring, and collaboration between data engineers, data scientists, and cloud administrators. To improve the quality of cloud data, you should also consider implementing regular backups to ensure data can be restored in case of loss or corruption.

Maintain detailed metadata to provide context and understanding of the data's origin, meaning, and structure, and ensure compliance with relevant data protection regulations to safeguard sensitive information. Define processes for archiving, retention and deletion to keep the cloud environment clutter free, and implement indexing and partitioning strategies to enhance data query and retrieval speed.


Remember that data quality is an ongoing process, and regular reviews and improvements are necessary to maintain high standards. By implementing these strategies, you can enhance data quality in your cloud environment and ensure your organisation derives accurate insights and value from its assets.

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