Microsoft recently announced its new Trustworthy Computing: Data Governance web site at Tech•Ed.

According to Microsoft, it is promoting data governance because:

“Growing public concerns about abuses of consumers’ personal information threatens to curtail the growth of online commerce and services. Data Governance directly addresses these concerns.

Data Governance can reduce an organization’s IT costs and improve its control over its information, which increases data security and privacy and improves responses to changing compliance requirements.

Conversely, poor Data Governance raises the risks of data breaches, including identity theft and fraud, which can erode trust in an organization, trigger financial or legal penalties, or reduce confidence among employees, customers, and investors.”

Although the purpose of the Data Governance web site is to serve as a reference for software and application developers, it is also a good reference to any person involved in developing and maintaining data integrity, security, storage and sharing that contains personal information.

Among other things, the Data Governance web site is a resource for developing data policies, complying with regulatory and best practices requirements, and establishing length of storage issues.

As required by more and more state statutes, Microsoft is promoting the development and implementation of data policies and action plans.

Although the materials are helpful and directed as more of a what-to-do, not a how-to-do it, Microsoft does publish its own standard privacy guidelines, as well as an IT Compliance Management Guide. Although these materials are prepared for Microsoft, and are not applicable to very many businesses, they are good resources for anyone wanting to get a flavor for these types of documents.