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Governance shouldn’t be a four-letter word

Our commitment to deeply invest in features that make it easier than ever to govern data effectively.

Tejas Manohar.

Tejas Manohar

April 18, 2024

5 minutes

Governance shouldn't be a four-letter word

Data governance—controlling the usability, integrity, and security of your data—is getting harder. More countries (and states) are imposing restrictions on how data is stored, accessed, and used. At the same time, it’s never been more important for companies to aggregate and utilize their data– whether to power AI models, replace third-party cookies in advertising with first-party data, or hyper-personalize product offerings.

Too often, marketers view data governance as an obstacle. They either can’t use the data they want because it’s locked down, or they have to ask their data team for each access point. An effective governance system shouldn’t just restrict data access but empower business teams to easily find and use the data they need.

At Hightouch, we’re changing governance from a pain point to a benefit. We’re giving data teams the tooling they need to ensure the utmost data security and compliance– while also ensuring that marketers can still seamlessly access and use all of the data they can.

Why governance is especially important for enterprises

While every company needs to properly manage data security and access, this challenge is particularly pronounced at large enterprises.

By their nature, enterprises and conglomerates often scale across multiple business verticals and locations. This means that they must segment their data on each vertical so only the right employees can access it and by geography to comply with local restrictions.

Enterprises are also adopting cloud data warehouses to centralize massive quantities of data. Consolidating data in warehouses has huge benefits for these companies—it enables data teams to streamline their efforts and build more complete customer profiles and is practically a requirement for data-hungry AI models. The explosion of centralized and accessible data, however, makes governance even more important: it’s now easier to access data at varying levels of privacy sensitivity that cuts across geographies and business units.

For example, picture a large fashion conglomerate that operates five different store brands across the US and Europe. This company centralizes data in connected data warehouses to cross-target customers: for example, to promote athletic shorts from Brand B to a customer who buys athletic shoes from Brand A. At the same time, this company must respect regional data privacy regulations and must limit certain campaigns to only serve customers of each sub-brand.

In short, enterprises must centralize their data to be as efficient and effective as possible, but they must still partition that data to govern it appropriately.

How we put governance first

Many companies choose Hightouch because we make data more accessible. Data teams use features like our schema builder to define exactly what data marketers can use– ensuring they work with production-ready data from their data warehouse. Then, marketing teams use self-serve features like audience and journey builders to enhance targeting, personalize campaigns, and move faster with their data.

Schema Builder

Data teams define which data marketers should have access to. Hightouch creates the marketing layer on top of the data warehouse.

Our governance features are the unsung hero of data accessibility. Data teams can restrict sensitive data– which allows us to make permitted data usage easier than ever for end users. We’ve elaborated on these features in more depth in this blog, but key governance features include:

  • Role-Based Access Controls (RBAC): manage data and integration access for different groups of users
  • Subsets: manage data access based on attributes such as geography and customer opt-in
  • Audit Logs: Search all Hightouch app usage to troubleshoot issues and inspect changes.
  • Change Management: Prevent issues in production with a variety of features to ensure only approved changes get deployed– including Git Sync, approval flows, sync templates, and environments.
  • Single Sign On (SSO): Manage access to Hightouch across all of your users

Some of these features, like single sign-on, have become table stakes. The devil is in the details, however, and we take them seriously. For example, we’ve continuously evolved our RBAC system based on our customers' feedback to make it easier for admins to exert granular control over which users can access each integration.


Admins can create custom roles for their users, and granularly manage the access each role has to different data integrations.

We’ve also built entirely novel security features, which we needed because our Composable CDP gives marketers deeper access to data than they ever had before. For example, Subsets allow organizations to grant access to data based on the attributes of that data. Most commonly, companies filter marketers' access to include (or exclude) data from certain geographies or business units. Another simple but powerful use case is to build a Governance Filter that automatically prevents marketers from accessing data from any customer who has opted out of consent-based marketing.

Governance Filters

Subsets allow an organization to control access to data based on the properties of that data. For example, a company can segment data geographically so that employees based in each region can only access data relevant to their location.

Our security-first architecture also supports all of our governance features. Unlike traditional CDPs, Hightouch doesn’t store your data: we operate directly from your data warehouse. We are similarly multi-region, so we can operate in the appropriate region for regulated local data. Our approach has earned all of the top certifications for security and compliance, such as SOC 2 Type.

Don’t take it from me, though: seeing is believing. If data governance has been a pain point for your team, or if it’s getting in the way of data-driven marketing– we’d love to talk to you!

More on the blog

  • Enterprise-Ready on Day 1 .

    Enterprise-Ready on Day 1

    Hightouch makes it easy for any company to govern its data and manage how employees put it to work.

  • The Customer Data Platform Storage Conundrum.

    The Customer Data Platform Storage Conundrum

    What is the most secure (and affordable) way to activate customer data at scale?

  • Friends Don’t Let Friends Buy a CDP.

    Friends Don’t Let Friends Buy a CDP

    How spending the first half of his professional career at Segment drove Tejas Manohar to disrupt the 3.5 billion dollar CDP category.

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