In an effort to improve records management transparency and efficiency, the White House unveiled the Presidential Memorandum – Managing Government Records back in 2011. The idea was that by 2019, all government agencies would manage all permanent electronic records in an electronic format. While agencies are making progress to a true digital state of records, many are still printing and filing through a manual process that is both tedious and insecure. The move to digital records effectively addresses both of these issues and also takes defining records out of the end user’s hands.
The good news for agencies is that there are new technologies available today to help streamline, automate and secure records digitally. To gain a better understanding of how government organizations can improve their records management strategy, GovLoop sat down with Bill Duffy, Information Intelligence Subject Matter Expert, and Carleton Bowen, Cloud Practice Manager of Public Sector Strategic Programs at Veritas, a leader in data and information management solutions.
To help agencies roll out their records management solutions more effectively, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) created a simplified email program that allows agencies to classify certain employees as Capstone employees or “top tier.” According to NARA, “The Capstone Approach offers agencies the option of using a more simplified and automated approach to managing email that allows for the categorization and scheduling of email based on the work and/or position of the email account owner.”
To aide Records and Information Managers responsible for implementing Capstone, Veritas created software called Veritas ™ Enterprise Vault that automates the classification process. “We created a taxonomy that helps define if an email is junk, if an email is a record, or if an email is personal,” explained Duffy. “With the ability to create this classification, you’re then able to follow NARA’s rules of record retention.”
Several agencies already leverage Veritas’ technology and are seeing success. According to Duffy, one agency is “not only using Enterprise Vault for email, but now they’re using it for actual documents coming out of their SharePoint, file shares, and their various application systems,” said Duffy.
Those documents are classified and stored in an archive for transparency purposes. “One agency has simplified what they’re doing. Rather than saying they’re not going to be too particular about retention policies, the agency established a universal retention policy of 10 years for all the documents that were classified the same way,” said Duffy.
The tool also includes an intelligent application with the ability to automatically crawl the enterprise and identify documents that are potentially records and need to be archived. “Data Insights then cues those documents up for the archive for preservation purposes automatically,” explained Duffy.
Data Insight also helps agencies improve security and access. The software follows all public key infrastructure (PKI) guidelines, encrypting data both at rest and in motion. In addition, Data Insight provides reporting to administrators to let them know two things: who has access to records and when which individuals actually access those records. The software allows record owners to shut down the access within those records at any time.
However, what truly sets Enterprise Vault apart, is that it’s available as a FedRAMP authorized, software-as-a-service capability. “We are closely partnered with Microsoft, and we have partners that are leveraging the Microsoft cloud platform as the base infrastructure as a service capability,” said Bowen. “It’s a fully managed, turnkey service that is available today.”
The software-as-a-service structure allows the federal government to quickly and affordably access and benefit from Veritas’ Enterprise Vault and eDiscovery solutions. “If agencies are looking to meet the Presidential Managing Government Records Memorandum goal by the end of 2019, they can use their own IT departments, system integrators, or leverage the FedRAMP authorized SaaS cloud offering using existing contracts to accomplish this kind of work,” said Bowen.
This SaaS solution is set up as a model where the records management contract is scoped and scaled based on the customer’s requirements—number of users, compliance factors, accessibility and amount of data on the platform.
All of these services help the government achieve its mission of providing additional transparency to citizens. “In order to realize a true open government, as well as meeting the transparency mandate, the government must have the appropriate systems for record keeping and discovery, and Veritas’ technology solutions can help them achieve that,” said Duffy.