GAO Issues Guide on Computer-Processed Data

Assess the Reliability of Computer-Processed Data The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued on Monday an applied research and methods guide entitled Assessing the Reliability of Computer-Processed Data to demystify the assessment of computer-processed data.

"This guide provides a flexible, risk-based framework for data reliability assessments that can be geared to the specific circumstances of each engagement," Nancy Kingsbury, GAO managing director of applied research and methods, writes in the preface to the 59-page guide. "The framework gives structure to planning and reporting, facilitates the right mix of skills on each engagement, and ensures timely management acceptance of assessment strategies."

The framework is built on:

Making use of existing information about the data.
Conducting only the amount of work necessary to determine whether the data are reliable enough for your purposes.
Maximizing professional judgment.
Bringing the appropriate people, including management, to the table at key decision points.

"The ultimate goal of data reliability assessment is to determine whether you can use the data for your intended purposes," Kingsbury writes. "This guide is designed to help you make an appropriate, defensible assessment in the most efficient manner."

About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Retired Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Chabrow, who retired at the end of 2017, hosted and produced the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversaw ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.

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