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FCW : August 30, 2016
A t this point, most agencies are well on their way toward meeting the 2016 NARA mandate to electronically manage e-mail records. Now they’re looking toward 2019—the deadline for electronically managing all records. Unless agencies have fully transitioned to a records management system, however, they’ll have trouble meeting the 2019 mandate. This is especially true for agencies that rely on tools like Office 365’s Exchange and SharePoint Archiving. While these do have some rudimentary records management features, they’re not true records management systems. An agency may get a FOIA request to find out how much President Obama spent on wine for the last White House dinner,” says Tara Combs, a records management solution specialist at Alfresco. “With the federated search capability in true records management systems, it’s a simple matter of finding the information that may exist in multiple systems.” Ensuring agencies will meet the 2019 mandate requires timing, planning, and most importantly, taking an enterprise approach focusing squarely on modernizing the records management process. With an enterprise approach to managing information, everything is managed under one system. This eliminates duplication and creates one central repository. An enterprise approach also supports the increasingly mobile government workforce. It lets people use mobile devices, work remotely, and collaborate using the same central information repository. Standardizing on a single solution within this enterprise approach can help agencies make e-records management a true mission-enabler. “What we’re talking about is embedding the records management process into your applications so it becomes seamless,” says James Bailey, president and CEO of Armedia. Armedia provides ArkCase, a secure, workflow-driven, web-based enterprise case management system. ArkCase can help agencies manage records on the Alfresco platform, among others. Agencies can build specific rules into the system so it automatically categorizes appropriate items as records. A full-featured records management solution on a standardized platform creates a truly workable approach to help meet the 2019 mandate. It also improves efficiency and reduces costs. For example, it helps both inter- and intra-agency collaboration for everything from case management to task tracking to investigations. The ability to search across multiple systems, called Federated Search, is a critical capability. The federated search capability of a true records management solution will have customized filters to let agencies refine searches by various characteristics; and extract, index and search metadata from different types of records. Federated Search is particularly useful for large agencies with offices located throughout the country or even the world. “You may work for the State Department in Washington, but travel to other countries for work, so some e-mails you are creating will be located in the servers in those other countries,” says Combs. “If you get a Congressional query about the results of your meeting in another country, the records manager of your department will have to be able to search across all of those servers to access the content you created regardless of where you were located at the time.” Security is also a critical aspect of records management. While legacy systems and workarounds generally have some level of security, a true records management system will provide security classifications or marks, as well as role- based access or permissions. The permission layer ensures only personnel cleared to see specific information will be able to see it in the system. The second, more stringent layer adds security marks. With these marks, stakeholders can mark specific data as confidential. Only personnel with the same confidential marking will be able to see the information. And unlike proprietary records management systems, newer records management systems are built on open standards and open source technology. This can further help meet NARA’s requirements that electronic records always be accessible and readable, regardless of how much time passes or technology changes. Modernize Records Management SPONSORED REPORT Taking an enterprise approach to records management is essential to meet the NARA mandate.
August 15, 2016
September 15, 2016