The importance of data governance in the case of ATO’s data loss

On Monday, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) announced an unprecedented enterprise hardware failure that resulted in the shutdown of their website, closure of e-portals, staff being sent home because internal systems failed to operate and the loss of 1000 Terabytes of data.

Initially it looks as though this is an extraordinary world-first hardware failure – not something the provider will want to embrace – and not a data breach. However, it appears that data has not been saved and data engineers are now working around the clock to piece together the information from older backups.

During this difficult time, the ATO should be lauded for its transparency. Given the sensitivity of tax office data, their clarity in communication will build trust with consumers as an example of good data governance.

We are in the midst of a data revolution. The continual expansion of data in businesses of all levels means that high quality data governance is not an option, it is vital. Smart companies are aware that equipment failures and data breaches happen on a regular basis these days. Good data governance is about staying more than one step ahead and an investment in engendering consumer trust and differentiating your business.

This is why Data Governance Australia has been established; to develop standards and benchmarks that allow businesses to innovate, differentiate themselves and operate within a solid framework to provide tools for compliance.