Data Inventory

Data inventory tells you what type of data you have and where it’s located

Data inventory provides detailed information on a company’s data assets. This information includes the metadata that defines the individual data records and what they contain, who and how the data is accessed, who owns and manages the data, where the data is stored, and how it is accessed. Data inventory should include all the metadata defining the data assets, and can also include a record of all data elements via deep data discovery and classification.

Most organizations do not embark on discovering all their assets simultaneously. Data inventories are typically segmented and driven by corporate initiatives such as privacy, governance, data management, or analytics. Most organizations prioritize creating personal data inventories for their organization to help them understand, remediate, and manage privacy risks and readiness.

How do you create a data inventory?

  • Data resources are identified, which can include databases, file servers, cloud instances, big data servers, SaaS applications, and more.
  • A data inventory tool is deployed to do discovery and classification to identify critical data assets. Some organizations use surveys, custom scripts, and domain-specific discovery tools. Enterprise-grade discovery tools are emerging to automate the process (Integris Software is one example of such a tool).
  • Metadata and data elements are analyzed to create intelligence for views and reports that defines the organization’s data location, use, owners, and risk.   

Why do companies need to create a data inventory?

  • To understand key data assets used for business processes and operations.
  • To discover and map personal data to ensure the appropriate use, access, and transfer of regulated personal information.
  • To expose data assets for data management activities such as master data management, data quality, and data migration.

Here are additional resources: