Google cloud deleted $125bn pension fund account unintentionally

Unintentional deletion of Australian pension fund affected more than 50,000 members failing to access their accounts
An undated image of Google Cloud on written on a laptop. — Pexels
An undated image of Google Cloud on written on a laptop. — Pexels

UniSuper, an Australian pension fund, experienced a week-long disruption when Google Cloud accidentally deleted their private cloud account. 

This affected more than 500,000 members who were unable to access their superannuation accounts. While service restoration commenced on Thursday, it may take some time for investment balances to accurately reflect current figures. 

On Wednesday, UniSuper CEO Peter Chun communicated with members via email to clarify that the recent incident was not a result of a cyberattack and did not involve any data breach. Chun identified a Google Cloud configuration error as the cause of the outage. 

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The outage lasted for an extended period of time due to the deletion of the subscription, which resulted in the loss of UniSuper's two geographies intended for outage protection. 

However, UniSuper had backups in place with another service provider. In 2023, UniSuper reportedly transferred a significant portion of its workloads to Google Cloud Platform, having previously distributed them between Azure and two internal data centers. 

In a rare incident, UniSuper and Google Cloud issued a joint apology for an inadvertent misconfiguration that led to the deletion of data related to UniSuper's Private Cloud services. 

Meanwhile, the CEOs of both companies expressed their deep regret for the disruption caused to members and assured that steps are being taken to bring the systems back online and prevent such incidents from happening again. 

The incident was identified as a unique occurrence that had not happened before with any of Google Cloud's clients globally.