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We work in an age of collaboration and integration, connecting seamlessly with customers, partners, and colleagues. Through cloud services and mobile devices, we transmit infinite amounts of data, and we do so ceaselessly. While such connectivity makes possible information sharing—and, ultimately, innovation—on a scale the world has never seen before, it also demands that companies pay more attention to managing and securing the flow of data.

Information management may sound like a challenge that would normally be assigned to IT. However, because of the disastrous impact a data breach can have on profitability, governing the flow of data has to be a key concern for all C-level executives. According to the Ponemon Institute’s “2014 Cost of Data Breach Study,” the total average cost of a data breach rose 15 percent, to US$3.5 million, in 2013.

Organizations simply can’t ignore a risk of this magnitude, and it is not wise to burden the IT function with the full responsibility for mitigating this risk. IT does not have the same knowledge of business operations as do the people generating the company’s financial performance data, namely, the CFO, corporate controllers, and treasurer.

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