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Future Cloud Formations: Digital Storage in the 21st Century

Posted on October 29, 2012 by admin There have been 0 comments

Chances are that in your business, while you still use paper records, they are becoming eclipsed by digital records and storage. You are using computers for more than just storing files and records; files, forms, records. Customer-related materials are frequently created on, used with and stored solely in the digital format. That means that the ways and methods of this type of storage are of vital importance; a fact recognized by both the private and the public sectors.  You have to use the proper equipment and proper methods to maintain your data and records. Data management is a top-tier concern for any business or group. This is where secure data storage, such as ioSafe hard drives come into play. Here is the how and the why.

This issue weighs on a lot of important minds. An example would be that in 2011, President Barack Obama signed a presidential memorandum, “Managing Government Records”, which ordered the beginning of an Executive Branch wide effort to reform records management policies and develop a future framework for the management of government records. The benefits of this reform are expected to be:

  • The promotion of openness and accountability by better documenting agency actions and decisions.
  • The further identification and transfer to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) of permanently valuable historical records so that future generations will understand and learn from the actions and decisions of the present.
  • Provide assistance to executive departments and agencies in minimizing costs and increasing operational efficiency.

This program considers records the foundation of open government (and you should consider them the foundation of good business) because they promote and support the principles of transparency, participation and collaboration. It is perfectly stated; “Well-managed records can be used to assess the impact of programs, improve business practices and share knowledge across the government. Records protect the rights and interests of the people and hold officials accountable for their actions. Permanent records document our nation’s history.”

This principle can be applied to your business or organization because without proper records documentation and storage; you and your customers will lose their history and their future.

This new directive also has the goal of eliminating, to the highest degree possible, the use of paper records and the move to electronic record keeping. In fact, that is the first central goal of the new framework. All agencies are moving forward to meet the following targets; by 2019, all permanent records will be in electronic format and by 2016 all federal agencies will manage both permanent and temporary email records in accessible electronic format.

The second central goal of the new directive is compliance with federal records management statutes and regulations. They will do this by meeting the following requirements; agencies will designate a senior agency official to oversee a review of their records management programs, that official will then ensure that permanent records are indentified for transfer and report to the NARA. Then agency records officers will obtain a NARA certificate of federal records management training; which is partner with the new rule that agencies must establish records management training programs of their own. The senior officials will also that all records and their transfer are scheduled and indentified, then submitted to the NARA.

There will be a number of actions started to assist in the completion of these two goals. Nara will revise their transfer guidance for permanent electronic records, new email guidance will be created, and applied research into automated technologies will be investigated and stimulated to reduce the burden of records management responsibilities. Records management requirements will also be embedded into cloud architectures and other federal IT systems and commercially available products. The next actions are to evaluate the feasibility for secure data-at-rest storage and management services for federal agency owned electronic records.

Creating a robust records management framework will require the Archivist of the United States to convene periodic meetings of all senior agency officials to discuss the progress of the implementation of the directive; followed by the creation of a community of interest to solve records management challenges, propose guidance, share information, create training and indentify tools that will assist in electronic records management. The framework also requires the establishment of a formal records management occupational series and continues to improve the effectiveness of federal records programs through enhanced NARA oversight and analytical tools.

The final assisting action is to improve NARA processes through; improving the current request for records disposition authority process and overhauling the general records schedules.

A full account of this presidential memorandum can be found here.

Another report examines the new directive and the problems and challenges it is tackling. For example, 95% of agencies are at moderate to high risk of compromising the integrity, authenticity and reliability of their records. The risks they face include the following; improper management and disposition of records, saving records and making sure they can be retrieved, read and interpreted. This report establishes the timelines and reports that various agencies need to make in order to get in line with the directive. An entire listing of those schedules and timelines can be found here.

We hope that this federal example makes the importance of digital recordkeeping clear; if you switch out the words, those reports apply to you and your business. You need to realize the importance of another concept as well; cloud computing. Cloud computing is the use of computing resources (both hardware and software) over a network. That means using computers and web-based applications to enter data, make computations and use software that can be spread through your own network. Now that big issue is public vs. private clouds; in a public cloud model a service provider makes resources such as applications and storage available to the general public over the internet. These services may be offered for free or in a pay-by-usage model. Private clouds are models owned and operated by a single organization, either managed internally or by a contracted third-party. The issue of which is superior can’t be decided here (we have an option though). You have to decide what the best option for your company is, but here is what can offer; one of the best pieces of equipment if you choose a private cloud.

Private Cloud Storage with ioSafe helps solve digital records management challenges.

                The ioSafe N2 is one of the world’s best multi-drive NAS/RAID storage devices. It is waterproof, fireproof and durable network-connected device for terabytes of your personal/business data. The N2 allows you to have fast access on your local network and connect from nearly any remote device connected to the internet.

If you are dealing with terabyte-levels of information, public model clouds can break down quickly. There are other disadvantages to public clouds; like cost, storing several terabytes of data on a server like Amazon S3 can cost $8000 over three years. Security is also an issue; no matter how safe, a public cloud is still public. In our opinion, being in local control of your own data is the best option.

You’ll get fast local access, redundant hard drives, security, nearly unlimited storage, and cloud convenience, access to data with virtually any device and onsite protection against natural disasters.  The N2 has an impressive list of features including:

  • Private cloud: fast local access (up to 100 MB/sec), no high public cloud fees!
  • Redundant Hard Drives (RAID):  it automatically mirrors and protects against hard drive failure. The N2 can utilize two hard drives up to 4TB each.
  • Data Recovery Service (DRS): the ultimate safety net; DRS provides no questions asked data and hardware recovery.
  • Fireproof Protection: protects data from temperatures of up to 1550 degrees for up to ½ hour per ASTM 119.
  • Waterproof Protection: can protect data in up to 10 ft salt/fresh water for up to 72 hours.
  • Active Airflow Cooling: uses FloSafe active airflow cooling technology for optimum operating temperature.

With the N2, ioSafe has teamed up with Synology to bring you world class DSM apps and operating systems. There are apps for backup, multimedia, management, productivity and surveillance.

Using ioSafe storage hardware equipment isn’t the house you build for your cloud; it’s the foundation you lay down for that house. For safe and secure digital data storage, you need both software and hardware solutions. Consider the N2 and spend some time considering which type of cloud management would work for you and your company.

This post was posted in NAS Storage, Prevent Data Loss, Orders & Regulations and was tagged with ioSafe, synology, "managing government records" NARA, digitize, "digital storage" archives, N2 "personal cloud" "private cloud storage" NAS, "network storage"