Tips, Tools and Checklists

Helpful tips to protect your privacy online.


Publishing Open Data

Tip Author: 
WIll Saunders, OPDP

Open data is the concept that some data should be freely available for everyone to use and republish. For companies who publish open data it is important to ensure the security and accuracy of the data before publication. Taking the necessary steps and investing in the proper security protections before the data is ever published will help to reduce current and future data security risks and costly remediation.


Identify a potential data offering

  • Convene or engage stakeholders such as: Data Steward, Requestor (if applicable), Open Data champion.
    • Make a record of the proposal, and a discussion of the business purpose
    • Assemble Technical data documentation to precisely identify and describe the content
    • Determine the business purpose to be met, and how publishing data will serve that purpose
    • Identify the data content needed to meet the purpose and the duration the data will be needed.


Assess the risk of publishing

  • It is important to involve one or more of the following individuals in this process. Transparency is crucial and keeping these individuals involved will help make the process faster and easier.
    • Data Steward- Not all companies will have a Data Steward. A data steward is a person in an organization that is responsible for utilizing an organization's data governance processes to ensure the fitness of the data elements-content and metadata.
    • Data Requestor- the requestor is a person who submit requests the IT organization. These could be incident request, service request, request for change, request for information etc.
    • Open Data Champion- an individual appointed who shall be accountable for maintaining their department's data catalog and ensuring that published data is refreshed on a regular basis.
    • Risk Management & Legal Services
    • IT
    • Communications
    • Performance Management
    • Note: while your organization may not have all of these individuals, you should still involve those that are present at the organization.
  • Assess whether you have the necessary resources and knowledge. Do you have:
    • Expertise/experts on data security laws
    • Expertise/experts on public records
    • Means of acquiring comprehensive subject matter advice
    • A data classification policy
    • A decision-making process
  • Once you have assessed all of the necessary factors make a record of the final recommendation


Assess the technical feasibility of publishing

  • Discuss these issues with the relevant parties: Data Steward, IT, or Communications department. Transparency and intra-organization communication is vital.
  • Identify resources / knowledge needed
    • Feasibility criteria (size, complexity, impact of the data)
    • Technical data documentation
    • Expertise on data management
    • A decision-making process
  • Determine how the proposed data publication would be executed and analyze the technical feasibility of doing so.
  • Make a record of the final recommendation


Establish a technical support plan for the data

  • Discuss these issues with the relevant parties: Data Steward, IT, or Communications department. Transparency and intra-organization communication is vital.
  • Assemble a record and resources including:
    • A record of the proposal, including a discussion of the business purpose
    • Technical data documentation
    • Persons with expertise on data management
    • Agreements to roles and responsibilities
    • Agreements to commit to roles and responsibilities
    • Documented support plan for each data set
    • Definition of the data content’s refresh schedule and archive schedules
  • Determine what support is needed to keep the data correct and relevant,
  • Design a support plan


Generate the data set for original systems

  • The Data Steward provides:
    • prototype or beta version
    • dataset format specifications
  • IT staff will:
    • apply documented technical procedures
    • deploy dataset with agency infrastructure resources, e.g. open data portal, agency website, community API's

When generating metadata:

  • The IT staff shall provide technical procedures to follow and a simple log of actions to deploy
  • The Data Steward will apply its expertise on metadata, and make sure to follow state metadata standards
  • The Data Steward then produces metadata file


Publishing the data offering and metadata

  • The Data Steward must review the dataset and approve the publication
  • Either the IT or Data Steward may expose the dataset to the public
  • Notify the relevant stakeholders, maintaining open communication and transparency throughout this process will ensure it runs smoother and faster: Data Steward, Data Requestor (if applicable), IT, Communications, and/or State Open Data Champion.
  • Once the data set is published the company shall set date and schedule for refresh and review the data publication.


Reviewing and refreshing data publications.

  • Maintain transparency and communications with those relevant personnel within the organization: Data Steward, Data Requestor (if applicable), Open Data Coordinator and/or Communications
  • Review the record or project file which should include:
    • A record of the proposal, including a discussion of the business purpose
    • Documented support plan for each data set
    • Current technical data documentation
    • Prior technical feasibility decision
    • Prior risk assessment decision
    • Documented technical procedures
    • Communication plan
    • A decision-making process
    • A record of the final recommendation
  • Assess the relevance and accuracy of the data set,
  • Depending on the relevance or accuracy decide to leave as is, refresh, or remove the data as necessary


Measure the performance and report on status.

  • Continue to engage the relevant personnel: Data Steward, Data Requestor, Open Data Coordinator, and/or Communications.
  • Quantify and assess the benefits of the data publication, using:
    • Metrics for measuring usage
    • Feedback mechanism for users
    • Request mechanism for users
    • Advise State Open Data champion
Tip Theme: 
Laws, Rules, and How They're Made
Tip Confidence: 

© Copyright 2018 Washington State Office of Privacy & Data Protection   |   Request Records  |   Accessibility