clouds and data (vectorfusionart/Shutterstock.com)

NARA expects multicloud strategy to ease records transfer

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) plans to adopt a multicloud strategy to more easily accommodate storing the digital records it receives from other federal agencies.

"We're moving from off-premises storage solutions and into the cloud," NARA Deputy CIO Sheena Burrell said during a Sept. 24 AFCEA Bethesda webcast.  The move will facilitate accepting cloud-based records from other agencies that may not be using the same cloud vendor as NARA.

The move is in line with NARA’s sharpening of its overall digital modernization strategy.

This summer the records-keeping agency released its Digital Preservation Framework, which identifies 16 electronic record category types and offers a set of best practices for managing risk to prevent the loss or diminution of government's digital work. It plans to stop taking in federal agencies' paper records by the end of 2022.

IT modernization by other agencies, including their migration to the cloud, makes the new multicloud strategy imperative, Burrell said, because increasing volume of digital records coming from those digital systems and cloud applications will only grow in the coming years.

NARA is currently in the acquisition planning process to for a multicloud storage contract. The agency is consulting with NASA, which currently has a multicloud strategy, for tips on how to proceed, according to Burrell.

"We're looking into multicloud contracts, so that we're able to take records from other federal agencies the way that they store them in their cloud systems and not have to transfer them to our cloud system," she said.

NARA uses a couple of cloud providers now, according to Burrell. The agency's current cloud storage provider for its electronic records archiving system is Amazon Web Services, she said, while the agency stores its own employee records in Google's cloud.

"It's vital for NARA, for the federal IT infrastructure, to modernize and accommodate that increase. As agencies adopt Cloud Smart initiatives, it's also imperative that we're able to accommodate whatever cloud strategy that they have when they're storing their records," she said. The connection between NARA's cloud and other agencies' clouds will make the records more accessible without delays

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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