National Archives building in the cloud

2013 GCN AWARDS

NARA makes a smooth move to cloud email

Few agencies are more steeped in tradition than the National Archives and Records Administration. That’s why a project it undertook last year to move to a cloud-based email and collaboration system has been more disruptive – and transformative – than most. Responding to a 2011 Presidential memo on government records management, NARA had a broad set of requirements to meet that included cloud email functionality (email, calendar contacts, etc.), mobile device management and support, as well as robust archiving and records management capabilities. One of the unique technology aspects of the project was the integration of multiple clouds into a single system presenting a unified solution to the end user.
 
Ultimately, the agency gained a state-of-the-art suite of email, collaboration, archiving and records management with full search capabilities and seamless integration with NARA’s authentication system. The solution is 100 percent cloud-based, built on open standards, with 99.9 percent up-time. For email, the NARA cloud showed its high-performance capacity from the outset.

The scalable system, which serves 4,500 users, is built using Google Apps for Government, which meets NARA’s requirements for FISMA Moderate Authorization and Accreditation while supporting IPv6 and Trusted Internet Connection requirements. It requires two-factor authentication, but then provides a direct connection to Google, with 25 GB of storage per user, automatic archiving, accommodation for BlackBerrys and DOD 5015.2-compliant electronic records management.

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