Is the answer to records management in the cloud?
A recent MeriTalk survey revealed the problem federal agencies have managing the growing onslaught of records and recommended steps agencies could take to get on top of the situation.
One thing the study does not address is whether the move to cloud computing could help agencies better manage the growth of records and promote more collaboration across agencies. The administration initially was wary of cloud as a storage option, but that appears to be changing.
The National Archives and Records Administration in 2010 released guidance to make federal records officers more aware of the implications of moving records management to cloud infrastructures. At the time, NARA officials said that cloud applications could lack the capability to maintain records in a way that maintains their functionality and integrity throughout the records’ full lifecycle.
However, in August 2012, an Office of Management and Budget directive put NARA in charge of overseeing the development of a robust records management framework based on cloud architecture, secure storage and analytical tools.
The directive outlined a number of action items that should be completed by December 2013. One in particular relates to cloud computing. The directive states that NARA, working in conjunction with OMB, would “incorporate into existing reporting requirements an annual agency update on new cloud initiatives, including a description of how each new initiative meets Federal Records Act obligations and the goals outlined in the directive. For the initial report the agency will identify any existing use of cloud services or storage and the date of implementation.”
State governments are also turning to the cloud as a way to efficiently manage records and save money.
For instance, a cloud-based records management system in the office of Oregon’s Secretary of State produced such improvements in access and processing time that officials are now expanding it statewide. The Oregon Records Management Solution will let state, city and county agencies manage and provide access to records in an efficient, uniform manner and will save money on storage, risk and litigation costs, officials said.