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How Salesforce Metadata Affects Compliance

Regulatory compliance is not an option. There are many rules in place to protect the interests of the public relating to the use of their information by certain industries. And if you operate within one of those industries, you need to be very intentional with how you handle data.

Your company’s data needs to be accurately labeled and arranged in order to adhere to the various regulatory standards—whether you are in the financial industry, medical industry, or anything else that is subject to regulations.

Metadata helps to characterize your data so that you can have a better understanding of it. As has been said many times, metadata is essentially data about data. It’s a means of labeling your various data sets, which makes it easier to arrange into categories.

Proper definitions of your data are essential. These categories are necessary to understand which sections of your data are subject to certain regulations.

For example, you’re not going to know you are under the umbrella of HIPAA if you don’t know you have medical data or where it is. This can create legal liabilities.

You won’t be able to apply regulatory practices if you aren’t aware of the specifics in your data pool.

Data and customer information might be the focus of many of these requirements, but your Salesforce metadata will play a large role in creating systems to properly adhere to regulations.

Metadata + Data Governance

Data governance is essential to a well-organized company. It is a combination of principles and practices that are aimed at maintaining a quality pool of data.

Proper data governance serves a business in a variety of ways. For one, it helps align your available data with the priorities of your business. And the first step toward accomplishing this is to define it.

Metadata provides the foundation on which your data is first identified, then defined, and finally classified.

The context as well as the content of this data can then be more easily managed by your team. And one of the most important aspects of this data management will be adhering to applicable regulations.

As we said earlier, you can’t adhere to regulations if you don’t know the specifics of your data.

Data governance should be a thorough endeavor, especially when it comes to adhering to regulatory requirements.

Analyzing and assigning Salesforce metadata will help you to put systems in place to properly organize your available data.

Data governance can provide a wide range of benefits such as providing marketing insights and improving oversight. Factors such as these will help your company make informed decisions, but adhering to regulatory requirements will keep you from disciplinary action even when you aren’t aware of a problem.

Metadata + Data Quality

Metadata can tell you a lot about an instance of data—where it’s located, how it functions, how it can be used, what it means, and so on. This is an essential first step to ensuring your data remains of high quality.

What do we mean by data quality?

Basically, it means that your data is not only accurately defined, but is accurate in of itself.

Properly labeling, storing, and locating a piece of inaccurate information doesn’t actually serve a purpose for regulatory requirements.

Your data needs to be accurate, and metadata can help.

The terms described in the metadata can be used to verify that the piece of data is what it says it is. For example, the data was created on the specified date, at the specified time, and fulfills a specific purpose.

Data profiling is a means of analyzing your current data for accuracy while also collecting statistics about it. This is a good way to recognize the quality of your data and potential problems.

From there, metadata can be used to assign accurate attributes to your data sets. Organization and adherence to stipulated regulatory concerns will become much easier tasks.

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Metadata + Audits

Performing internal audits on your Salesforce data security systems should be part of your standard regimen.

Regulatory agencies will conduct audits of their own, and it’s essential for you to pass them.

The exact protocol of these audits will be determined by the regulatory requirements. Research the process that applies to you and tailor your audits toward this.

The goal of any regulatory audit is to determine if your company has systems in place to provide the required levels of security for the stipulated data. This involves the processes in place, how they are managed, and to ensure proper monitoring of these systems.

Proper use of metadata—in tags, naming standards, and attributes—can greatly improve a company’s ability to fulfill the regulatory requirements.

Classifying existing data through the use of metadata helps reduce the complexity of your data pool. This makes it easier to document the methods used to address the necessary concerns of regulation.

Your information and the way it is arranged will dictate your ability to meet required standards. Metadata that is strategically arranged and implemented will help to quickly gather any required information to demonstrate compliance.

However, this metadata will only be useful if it is correct.

The accuracy of your data relies on the accuracy of your metadata.

We’ve discussed the need for quality data. A continued focus on this will make the auditing process much smoother.

Metadata + Compliance

Regulatory agencies put rules in place to describe proper handling of data. It is up to each company to adhere to these requirements. And while all the focus might be on the data and information itself, metadata works behind the scenes to ensure these standards are met.

Regulatory compliance might hinge on your handling of data, but this handling of data relies on the proper use of metadata.

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