Preparing for the Future: State Governments & Legacy Data

November 28, 2018

Recommendations from CoSA and NASCIO’s “State Archiving in the Digital Era” Report

As state governments face the growing demands of digital archiving, the Council of State Archivists (CoSA) and the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) have released a set of recommendations as guidance.

In their October 2018 report, “State Archiving in the Digital Era. A Playbook for the Preservation of Electronic Resources,” CoSA and NASCIO lay out key strategies for states that are “looking for the best ways to preserve archives in the digital age.”

As evidenced by the report, the data management challenges facing state governments are real – and increasing. For example, there was a 1,693% increase in state and territorial electronic records between 2006 and 2016. Most states are unprepared for the reality of long-term digital data preservation, which puts their records at risk.

The report offered recommendations in 11 key areas, including the management of legacy data.

 

Consider the Future When Securing the Past

An effective records management plan for dealing with legacy data is crucial in any industry, and the public sector is no exception. But, while a plan for how to identify and transfer public records between agencies may be simple enough to create and implement, choosing the right technology for the task may not be as easy.

State governments may be particularly vulnerable to the rapid advances in technology, as the systems they choose to store and organize their digital records may quickly become obsolete cutting off access to their legacy data. According to the report, this raises concerns regarding the maintenance of, and future access to, the state’s electronic records. This includes risks related to new file formats and the preservation of the “content, structure, context and integrity of the record over time.”

Per CoSA and NASCIO, it is critical that state governments select a system that will protect their archived digital records for years to come. Additionally, states may need to consider the needs of multiple agencies when making a selection, and choose a content services platform with robust and diverse capabilities.

 

Time for Cloud-Based Content Management

Given the rapid growth in content and the concerns raised in this report, state governments should look to cloud-based content management systems as a solution. The right cloud-based content services platform will provide ongoing access to current and archived digital records, while also helping to ensure that they are properly preserved.

In addition to key capabilities like continued access to and preservation of legacy data, a robust cloud-based content services platform can translate into significant savings for state governments. For starters, states will save on ongoing expenses such as maintenance and upgrade fees, and won’t have to worry about the system becoming obsolete in a short time. Perhaps even more important, however, is the protection from risk that the right content management system may provide. A powerful and flexible cloud-based content services platform can better position state governments to implement and execute strong records management plans, updating as necessary to ensure compliance with all government and industry regulations. This can mitigate risk and protect state governments from the financial – and legal – consequences related to non-compliance.

Read the full report from CoSA and NASCIO: “State Archiving in the Digital Era

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