Skip to content

The Big Five Data Questions

If you are not sure why you even need to do data governance there are a number of articles and vidoes here. But if you are wondering how to get a handle on how big of a problem you have then here are the big five questions to ask about your data.

I got these questions from Mike Burgess, who was then CISO for Telstra (and who is now grand poo-bah at ASIO), and I thought at the time that they were the right questions to ask.

These five simple questions underpinned the start of our data governance journey at the University of New South Wales back in 2014.

  1. Do you know the value of your data?
  2. Do you know who has access to your data?
  3. Do you know where your data is?
  4. Do you know who is protecting your data?
  5. Do you know how well your data is protected?

In pre-covid times I used to have a laminated sheet with these questions on it, and I used to carry it around with me and I wandered around the University talking to people about data governance. Often, as I would chat with folks, they would say things like “I don’t need data governance”, and I would simply say “that’s ok, just tell me that you know the answers to these questions and I will leave you to it”. Typically it would end up with them sobbing on my shoulder while we had a chat about which questions troubled them the most.

Seriously, this is one of the simplest tools, but it is one of the best ones to start a sensible conversation with folks about their data and how well it is being looked after.

The Five knows of data