Data Custodian

Definition of Data Custodian

A Data Custodian is an individual or organization responsible for managing, maintaining, and protecting an organization’s data. Their duties include ensuring data integrity, enforcing storage and access policies, and safeguarding it against unauthorized access, data breaches, and data loss. The Data Custodian works closely with other stakeholders, such as Data Owners and IT teams, to maintain a secure and efficient data environment.


The phonetics of the keyword “Data Custodian” is: ˈdeɪtə kʌsˈtoʊdiən

Key Takeaways

  1. Data Custodians are responsible for maintaining and safeguarding organizational data, ensuring that it remains accurate, available, and secure.
  2. They play a crucial role in implementing data management policies, handling access control, and providing support to data consumers such as analysts and decision-makers.
  3. Data Custodians must stay up-to-date with regulatory requirements, best practices, and technological advancements in data management to effectively protect their organization’s data assets.

Importance of Data Custodian

The term “Data Custodian” is important in the technology field as it refers to an individual or team responsible for ensuring the secure management and maintenance of an organization’s data.

This role is crucial in today’s information-driven world, where data is regarded as a valuable asset.

Data custodians implement and enforce data protection policies, oversee data storage, monitor access, and ensure data integrity to safeguard sensitive information from unauthorized access, tampering, theft, and corruption.

By doing so, they play a vital part in upholding data privacy, compliance with regulatory requirements, and maintain the overall trust and reputation of an organization.


Data Custodians play a critical role in the management and protection of digital information, particularly within organizations that handle a vast amount of sensitive or confidential data. The primary purpose of a Data Custodian is to ensure the secure storage, access, and disposal of an organization’s data, maintaining a strong emphasis on data integrity, data availability, and compliance with data privacy regulations.

This includes having efficient backup systems, proper encryption technology, and the enforcement of access controls. Data Custodians work hand-in-hand with Data Owners, who determine the classification and sensitivity of the information, as well as the required policies and procedures to protect it.

In addition to implementing and maintaining security measures, a Data Custodian is responsible for creating and updating data storage and management policies, as well as educating and training employees on data handling best practices. Data Custodians liaise regularly with their organization’s IT department, security teams, and risk management personnel to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of security measures, and to promptly respond to any data breaches or vulnerabilities.

By developing and following comprehensive data management processes, Data Custodians are integral in safeguarding an organization’s digital assets, allowing them to focus on data-driven decision-making and growth without the concern of unauthorized access, data loss, or non-compliance penalties.

Examples of Data Custodian

A data custodian is responsible for managing, protecting, and ensuring the integrity of digital data. They are accountable for the safety, security, and reliability of data stored in an organization’s data repositories. Here are three real-world examples of the data custodian role in action:

Health Care Industry: In hospitals or healthcare facilities, data custodians are responsible for managing patient records, including medical history, treatment plans, and billing information. They must ensure that this data is kept secure and confidential, adhering to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. An example of this is the work of Health Information Management professionals, who maintain the integrity of patient records and ensure their security and availability to medical professionals when needed.

Financial Services Sector: In the banking and financial services industry, data custodians are responsible for protecting and managing sensitive financial data, such as customer account information, transaction histories, and credit card details. They must implement stringent security measures and controls to prevent unauthorized access, data breaches, and non-compliance with regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act. For example, JPMorgan Chase employs data custodians to oversee and maintain secure data environments, ensuring the safety and privacy of their customers’ financial information.

Educational Institutions: In the education sector, data custodians are responsible for managing, securing, and maintaining student records, including academic performance, attendance, and personal information. They must safeguard this data from unauthorized access or misuse while adhering to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations. For instance, a university’s Office of the Registrar may employ data custodians to securely manage and store student records, ensuring data privacy and proper disclosure, as well as the security and reliability of the information.

Data Custodian FAQ

What is a Data Custodian?

A Data Custodian is an individual or organization responsible for ensuring that data is properly stored, protected, and maintained. They are tasked with implementing the necessary measures to safeguard data from unauthorized access, loss, or corruption while also ensuring data integrity, privacy, and availability.

What are the key responsibilities of a Data Custodian?

Data Custodians have several responsibilities, including managing data storage, implementing security measures, monitoring access to data, ensuring data integrity and quality, managing backups, and complying with data protection regulations and policies.

What is the difference between a Data Custodian and a Data Owner?

A Data Owner is an individual or organization with ultimate responsibility for the data, including defining its purpose, classification, and usage policies. A Data Custodian, on the other hand, is responsible for implementing and maintaining the technical controls to ensure the secure and efficient management of the data, as defined by the Data Owner.

What skills and qualifications are required for a Data Custodian?

Data Custodians generally need a strong technical foundation, with knowledge in areas such as data storage, security, and backup systems. They also need to understand data protection regulations and industry best practices. Qualifications and certifications in IT, data management, or information security can be valuable assets for a Data Custodian.

How does a Data Custodian contribute to data privacy?

Data Custodians play a critical role in data privacy by implementing security measures to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, ensuring that data is stored and processed in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and maintaining the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the data they manage.

Related Technology Terms

  • Data Governance
  • Information Security
  • Data Privacy
  • Data Stewardship
  • Access Control

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents