Data Custodian

What Does Data Custodian Mean?

A data custodian is a certain type of job role related to the aggregation, storage and use of data sets.


Essentially, the data custodian deals with the actual nuts and bolts of transporting and storing data, rather than issues around what data is going into the system and why.

Techopedia Explains Data Custodian

Data custodians, as a member of a data governance team, may be joined by another role called the data steward.

Here, the data steward is more responsible for things like identifying specific data sets that the company wants to store, or figuring out the scope of a data set. In other cases, the data steward and the data custodian may be the same person.

Many data custodians are essentially database administrators. They focus on the "how" rather than the "why" of data storage. They may do things like structure or restructure a relational database system, work with middleware to serve a central data warehouse, or provide schemes or workflows that show how databases are structured. They are the IT people of the data government governance team, the people that are asked questions about the implementation of a business plan to store data.

Delineation of these kinds of roles, such as data custodian and data steward, is becoming very important as businesses use more types of data to develop business intelligence and analytics solutions.

In the digital age, many types of business decisions are more based on large aggregated data sets than on knowledgeable guesses based on observation. Humans still make the decisions, but they make them more and more based on what computers tell them about commercial processes. That makes individuals such as data custodians in demand across many different industries and fields.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.