Saturday, August 31, 2013

New email archiving method attempts to ease burden on agencies

New email archiving method attempts to ease burden on agencies Friday - 8/30/2013, 10:34am EDT By Shefali Kapadia The National Archives and Records Administration is trying to make it easier for agencies to manage and archive the billions of emails generated by federal employees. The agency released a bulletin Thursday explaining its newly-developed approach to email management called "Capstone." The Capstone approach seeks to help federal agencies manage all of their email records electronically by Dec. 31, 2016. Capstone will help agencies satisfy requirements outlined by the Managing Government Records Directive, released in August of 2012. The directive aims to "develop a 21st-century framework for the management of government records." NARA's Capstone will specifically address Goal 1.2 of the directive: "By 2016, Federal agencies will manage both permanent and temporary email records in an accessible electronic format. By December 31, 2016, Federal agencies must manage all email records in an electronic format. Email records must be retained in an appropriate electronic system that supports records management and litigation requirements (which may include preservation-in¬-place models), including the capability to identify, retrieve, and retain the records for as long as they are needed. Beginning one year after issuance of this directive, each agency must report annually to OMB and NARA the status of its progress toward this goal." The Capstone approach is designed to "preserve permanently valuable email and provide a pathway to dispose of temporary email." The approach accomplishes this goal through use of an automated system, rather than relying on agencies to manually sort emails. The bulletin said these changes will be especially helpful as agencies move toward cloud-based solutions. NARA outlines several advantages of using the Capstone approach: • Cuts down reliance on print-and-file, click-and-file, drag-and-drop or other user-dependent policies • Optimizes access to records to respond more quickly and effectively to FOIA requests • Reduces the risk of unauthorized destruction of email records • Eases the burden of email management on the end user To adopt the Capstone approach, agencies need to identify email accounts that are most likely to contain records that should be preserved as permanent, according to NARA. These accounts may include department heads, agency leaders and armed forces officers. NARA will hold workshop sessions in September and October to introduce planning for Capstone implementation. NARA encourages agencies to adopt the Capstone approach, but it is not a requirement.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Records Managements: Slowly, Federal Agencies are Achieving Improved Records Handling

Records Managements: Slowly, Federal Agencies are Achieving Improved Records Handling By Dick Weisinger, on August 29th, 2013 NARA, the National Archives for managing federal records, now maintains more than 12 billion pages of physical records, 42 million photographs, and 500 terabytes of electronic records. The 40 main federal government agencies will be expected to manage 20.4 billion records by 2015 based on a survey by Meritalk conducted in late 2012. That report found that individually each federal agency spends about $34.4 million annually and currently manages an average of about 209 million records. Sue Trombley, managing director of consulting for Iron Mountain, said that “Federal record volumes will only continue to grow, driving up budgets and making it harder for agencies to manage information on their own. This growth and the added pressure from the Presidential Directive are combining to make records management very complicated and unsustainable. Most agencies know they need outside help and are looking for alternatives that include the development of a strategic plan, agency-wide collaboration and training, implementing technology solutions, and policy guidance and enforcement all aimed at regaining control for today and the future.” Federal agencies are also up against a mandate that requires them to transition from the management of physical to electronic records. By 2016, email records must be fully managed, and by 2019 electronic systems need to be fully managing permanent records. A recent internal report graded agencies in their attempts to move to electronic records. The report found that: Agencies are gradually improving. But while there is improvement, still only 20 percent of agencies are classified as low risk. 44 percent are moderate risk and 36 percent are high risk. Agencies have been more active in designing and developing new electronic management systems Agencies are taking electronic documents into account in making updates and revisions to their policies and records schedules High risk agencies include the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Army Materiel Command and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Perfect scores were achieved by the U.S. Secret Service, the Government Accountability Office, the Bureau of Reclamation, and top-level operations at the State Department.